Take A Virtual Trip Around Rosetta's Oddly Shaped Comet

Rosetta has beamed back a bunch of great images of Comet 67P, but it's hard to get a handle on what this thing actually looks like. To help, the ESO has stitched together 24 montages based on NAVCAM images taken over the past two months to create this cool visualization. » 12/19/14 3:00pm 12/19/14 3:00pm

Watch Philae Make Its Historic Landing On A Comet, Live On io9!

After 10 years of anticipation, the ESA's Philae lander has finally detached from the Rosetta satellite and is currently making its descent to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko where it will land later today. Watch the events as they unfold live right here. » 11/12/14 6:20am 11/12/14 6:20am

New Photos Highlight One Of Our Galaxy's Grandest Star Factories

This spectacular image was captured by the Wide Field Imager at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, and released today by the European Southern Observatory. To the right of the photograph is nebula NGC 3576. On the left is star cluster NGC3603, home to the Milky Way's highest known concentration of massive stars. » 8/20/14 1:39pm 8/20/14 1:39pm

Sneak Peek! Observatory Documentary Full of Beautiful Starscapes

The European Southern Observatory sent a documentary team around to their telescopes in Chile. While the footage is still being processed, they've released some amazing photographs and timelapse footage for us to drool over. Oooooh, pretty! » 5/13/14 8:00am 5/13/14 8:00am

The Strangest Visualization Of The Milky Way We've Ever Seen

This image may look like a cloudy sunset reflected over the ocean — it's actually a shot of the Milky Way, as seen by the ESA's Planck Satellite. The unique perspective reveals previously unseen characteristics of our galaxy. And it may provide crucial insights into how the universe was born. » 5/06/14 11:00am 5/06/14 11:00am

Monster Machines For Delicate Equipment

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array consists of 66 individual radio telescopes that can be moved to zoom in on a patch of sky. But how do they move those 100-ton beasts around the desert? » 4/21/14 4:00pm 4/21/14 4:00pm

These official exoplanet artworks are the next best thing to visiting

Chances are, none of us will live long enough to travel to a planet in another star system. But at least, we can gaze upon dozens of exoplanets right now — thanks to official artworks created by NASA and some of the world's greatest high-tech observatories. Check out our favorite official exoplanet art below. » 2/11/14 3:00pm 2/11/14 3:00pm

This is the First-Ever Weather Map of a Brown Dwarf

The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope has been used to create history's first-ever map of weather on the surface of a brown dwarf. These images provide us with an unprecedented look at the atmospheric features of these poorly understood "failed stars." » 1/30/14 9:20am 1/30/14 9:20am

The birth and death of stars in one spectacular photo

Our nearest galactic neighbor is the Large Magellanic Cloud. But despite its close proximity — about 160,000 light-years — astronomers are still finding new features to explore, including this stunning supernova remnant that appears to be sitting right beside a stellar nursery. » 11/27/13 6:20am 11/27/13 6:20am

The beautiful Prawn Nebula has been hiding in the wrong wavelengths

This nebula measures a whopping 250 light-years across, and it's close enough to Earth that its relative size in the sky is equivalent to that of four full Moons. But it's so faint in the wavelengths our eyes can actually see that it's generally been ignored until now. As this gorgeous new image from the European… » 9/22/13 5:00pm 9/22/13 5:00pm

This "comet factory" reveals first secrets of planetary formation

Planets have to start out somewhere, and the leading theory is that they begin as dust particles clumping together to form larger and larger building blocks, before finally emerging eons later as full-blown planets. But the exact physics that would allow such clumps to form has long been frustratingly unclear. » 6/09/13 5:00pm 6/09/13 5:00pm

This nebula crams tons of newborn stars into just a few light-years

Located roughly 5,000 light-years from our solar system, NGC 6559 isn't one of the galaxy's bigger stellar nurseries, only measuring a few light-years across. But it packs a whole lot of cosmic chaos into that relatively small patch of space, as stars keep popping up inside the cloud. » 5/05/13 5:00pm 5/05/13 5:00pm

Rare binary stars help astronomers measure our place in the universe

We know that the Milky Way is surrounded by an array of satellite galaxies, the largest of which is the rather aptly named Large Magellanic Cloud. But figuring out exactly how far away our cosmic neighbor is has proved fiendishly difficult. » 3/10/13 9:00am 3/10/13 9:00am

Astronomers may have just discovered the first known free-floating…

You'll notice there's no parent star in this concept art of recently discovered (and unsexily named) CFBDSIRJ2149. That's not a mistake. In fact, it was a very conscious decision on the part of the artist. Because CFBDSIRJ2149 has gone rogue. It's homeless. A wandering planet, it orbits no star — which could well make… » 11/14/12 3:30pm 11/14/12 3:30pm

It's Full of Stars: 84 Million Stars of the Milky Way in 9 Billion…

It's impossible to capture the scale of our galaxy on your computer screen, but darned if the European Southern Observatory isn't going to try. The observatory has released a 108500×81500 pixel mosaic of the central parts of the Milky Way. You weren't planning on doing anything else with your weekend, right? » 10/27/12 1:00pm 10/27/12 1:00pm

New cosmic survey might mean serious trouble for dark matter

Dark matter makes up approximately 83% of the matter in the universe. We need it to explain why galaxy clusters hold together. All available evidence suggests it's very real. So why is there almost none of it around the Sun? » 4/18/12 2:55pm 4/18/12 2:55pm

The most detailed picture yet of a star nursery birthing new suns

On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was lifted into low Earth orbit and promptly turned its attention to the depths of space. Today, over 10,000 publications and almost 22 years later, Hubble continues to change the way we see and understand our Universe with images that are truly awesome in every sense of… » 4/17/12 12:28pm 4/17/12 12:28pm

Two Earth-sized planets hold together the massive ring around this star

If Saturn was a star, it might well be Fomalhaut. Much like our neighboring gas giant, this star is surrounded by a gigantic ring of dust. The disc gets its sharp, ring-like structure from two planets, one on either side. » 4/12/12 10:41am 4/12/12 10:41am

Another solar system has more planets than ours...and here's what we're…

We keep making amazing exoplanet discoveries, but our solar system has still had two big trump cards: we're the only one known to have life (obviously), and we've got the most planets of any known solar system. Well, about that... » 4/08/12 1:00pm 4/08/12 1:00pm