A Tiny Moon Putters Away From Asteroid During Near-Earth Encounter

Asteroid 2004 BL86 charmed us with its tiny, dive-bombing moon during its close approach at the start of this week. Now JPL has released more radar data of the minuscule moon's trajectory guaranteed to charm us with its unwavering obedience to the laws governing orbital dynamics. » 2/02/15 12:05am 2/02/15 12:05am

Tiny Moon Dive-Bombs Asteroid During Near-Earth Flyby

Early this morning, a big (but not too big) asteroid made a close (but not too close!) pass by our planet. While totally unthreatening as a doomsday scenario, this particular asteroid makes for beautiful viewing: it has a tiny, orbiting moon. Update: More radar footage! » 1/26/15 7:10pm 1/26/15 7:10pm

We now know the origin of Russia's meteor

The Chelyabinsk meteor may have snuck up on us by surprise, but it didn't take long for a crack team of astronomers from Colombia to figure out where the damned thing came from and the path it took to get here. By sifting through the copious amounts of video footage available, and after performing some clever… » 2/26/13 11:00am 2/26/13 11:00am

The Long, Strange Search for Earth's Second Moon(s)

For some people, one moon just isn't good enough. The quest to find a second Moon has roped in Jules Verne, the man who discovered Pluto, and a pair of deluded astronomers. But here's the thing: there really is a second moon... sort of. » 12/28/11 9:13am 12/28/11 9:13am

How to Spot Tomorrow Night's Asteroid Flyby

Tomorrow night, near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass between our planet and the orbit of the moon, coming within 0.85 lunar distances of the Earth's surface as it courses along its orbit. Astronomers say the object, which measures about 400 meters in diameter, is the largest asteroid to fly this close to home in 35… » 11/07/11 1:07pm 11/07/11 1:07pm

Should Earth get demoted from planet status just like Pluto?

There were many reasons why Pluto got demoted to dwarf planet status, one of which was that it couldn't clear its orbit of asteroids and other debris. But Earth's orbit is also crowded...too crowded for Earth to be a planet? » 3/03/11 10:30am 3/03/11 10:30am

NASA Mission to a NEO: Bad Idea

Ever since the Columbia disaster, NASA's been hurting for some good press in the crewed spaceflight program. Agency scientists think they have the answer — sending a crewed mission to a Near Earth Object (NEO) once the new Orion spacecraft begins missions in 2015. What are they thinking?! It's hard to imagine a worse… » 4/22/08 1:50pm 4/22/08 1:50pm