Iapetus is one of the weirdest moons in the solar system, and one of its weirdest features is its prominent, equatorial mountain range. Now, Popular Science reports on a new theory as to the origins of this peculiar ridge: The mountains, researchers posit in a study recently published in arXiv, fell from spaaaaaaaace. » 4/17/14 5:55pm Thursday 5:55pm

Astronomers Release Gorgeous Image of a “Celestial Diamond Ring”

The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile has captured this stunning image of planetary nebula that, by chance, is aligned with a foreground star, and thus bears an uncanny resemblance to a diamond ring. This cosmic gem is unusually symmetrical, appearing to be almost perfectly circular. » 4/09/14 2:40pm 4/09/14 2:40pm

A Star Wars-Themed Astronomy Tea Party at UC Berkeley

For the first Astronomy Tea after Spring Break at the University of California at Berkeley, astronomers went full Star Wars with a Jabba-the-Hutt bread sculpture, a honeydew melon Death Star, a plate of Han Solos frozen in chocolate, Yoda-cookies, and assorted scones. » 4/07/14 7:45pm 4/07/14 7:45pm

What would it look like from Earth if the Moon were a giant disco ball?

So, technically, this is what it would look like if the Moon were a disco ball AND orbited Earth at the same distance as the International Space Station, i.e. roughly 420 kilometers (260 miles) above the surface of the Earth. But that doesn't make it any less incredible looking. » 4/05/14 9:30am 4/05/14 9:30am

Your Guide to Witnessing the Biggest, Brightest Mars in Over Six Years

On April 8th, Earth will soar between the Sun and Mars. When it does, the Red Planet will reach what astronomers call "opposition" in the night sky. Just a few days later, Earth will be closer to Mars than it's been in more than six years – and during a total lunar eclipse! Here's how to watch. » 4/04/14 11:48am 4/04/14 11:48am

Giant Galaxy Cluster "El Gordo" Is Even Bigger Than We Thought

We already knew that this ancient galaxy cluster (nicknamed "El Gordo") was the largest of the distant galaxies that we had spotted, but it turns out we've been massively underestimating its size. How did astronomers figure it out? Simple. They weighed it. » 4/03/14 6:00pm 4/03/14 6:00pm

An Astronaut And His Robot Companion Are Photobombed By A Watery Planet

Commander Koichi Wakata poses before a Cupola window aboard the International Space Station. The Canadarm2's Latching End Effector looks on from the other side of the glass. Meanwhile, in the background, Earth hangs almost modestly, all but obscured by the photo's fore- and middleground subjects. » 4/02/14 5:15pm 4/02/14 5:15pm

NASA Has Recovered 7 "Precious" Particles From The Solar System's Birth

It's been years since researchers overseeing NASA's sample-return Stardust mission first reported that the spacecraft had retrieved traces of cosmic dust – the tiny, interstellar particles that make up stars and planets. This week, they announced the net haul of their cosmic catch: Seven particles. SEVEN. » 3/22/14 9:00am 3/22/14 9:00am