The UK government has announced plans to fund a new 24/7 space-weather forecasting service. As Elizabeth Gibney of Nature News reports, the Met Office warnings will protect satellites and help prevent blackouts on Earth. At a cost of £4.6-million ($7.5-million), the service could also warn of an incoming Carrington… » 12/26/13 12:40pm 12/26/13 12:40pm

Today is Comet ISON's make-or-break day — here's how to watch

The so-called "Comet of the Century" is about to have its much anticipated brush with the Sun — the results of which could be visible to the naked eye. Thankfully, NASA is tracking ISON's journey in realtime, and here's how you can watch the drama unfold. » 11/28/13 6:40am 11/28/13 6:40am

How to Spot Comet ISON in the Early Morning Sky

OK, you’ve waited patiently for "Comet of the Century" ISON to brighten and reappear in the dawn sky. Now it has. Now you’re chomping at the bit for a look at it in your telescope. Before you set the alarm and venture into the night, let’s prepare for what to expect. The better you know your target, the easier it will be … » 9/04/13 11:09am 9/04/13 11:09am

Venus tried to eclipse the sun. It's not its fault it didn't work.

Last year saw the most recent transit of Venus, as our planetary sibling passed directly between the Sun and our planet. It's an exceedingly rare event—the next one isn't due until 2117, and that's actually a bit ahead of the normal schedule. But what exactly is the Transit of Venus? In a sense, it's just a really » 8/25/13 2:00pm 8/25/13 2:00pm

Scientists say it's possible to blow up the Sun. On purpose.

As if we didn't already have enough to worry about, a pair of scientists are warning that it's theoretically possible to deliberately detonate the Sun. Called an "artificial supernova," this event could represent a new existential risk to the human species. Or maybe, these guys don't know what the hell they're talking… » 8/09/13 2:36pm 8/09/13 2:36pm

Hubble Snaps Breathtaking New Picture of ISON, “Comet of the Century"

When Comet ISON's trajectory brings it scorchingly close to the Sun later this year, astronomers believe it could emerge from its close encounter as one of the brightest comets ever seen from Earth. Now, Hubble has captured a stunning image of the approaching ice-ball in flight, against a backdrop bursting with nearby… » 7/17/13 8:20am 7/17/13 8:20am

2013's solar maximum could be weakest since the dawn of the space age

So this is unexpected. The Sun is currently at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle. It should be awash with sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections and the like. And yet, observations indicate our parent star has actually been pretty quiet this year – so quiet, in fact, this year's solar max could go down as the … » 7/12/13 1:20pm 7/12/13 1:20pm

Gaze upon all of Mercury for the first time ever

» 6/16/13 11:00am 6/16/13 11:00am

The existence of our solar system's innermost planet has been common knowledge since ancient times, but that doesn't actually mean we've always know much about it. Mercury's proximity to the Sun has allowed it to jealously guard its secrets, and so this NASA video offers an unprecedentedly detailed view of the… » 6/16/13 11:00am 6/16/13 11:00am

Is the Earth getting heavier?

Except for the occasional earthquake or volcano eruption, the Earth seems like a fairly stable place. But if you believe that YOU COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG. We are under constant bombardment. From space! And how does all of this cosmic debris affect the earth? In this week's "Ask a Physicist" we'll find out. » 6/13/13 11:00am 6/13/13 11:00am

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