This Stellar Fusion Game is Shockingly Addictive

Stars are colossal fusion reactors, burning hydrogen into helium. As the nuclei fuse lighter elements into heavier elements, massive amounts of energy are released. A new game sets you the task of nucleosynthesis, building hydrogen into iron, and it's surprisingly fun. » 4/17/14 2:51pm Thursday 2:51pm

A Very Strange Supernova

When supernova explode, they fling gas out into space, creating beautiful, gauzy remnant for us to drool over. Supernova remnant G352 is pretty, but weird. It's collecting extra material, misplaced its neutron star, and looks dramatically different depending on the wavelength. » 4/15/14 10:05am Tuesday 10:05am

The closest supernova observed in 25 years is getting brighter

Three days ago, a white dwarf went supernova in nearby Galaxy M82. A starburst galaxy, M82 is a popular target for telescopes on account of its brightness. But its newly formed supernova, which astronomers have named SN 2014J, just became the brightest object in all the galaxy – and it's only going to get brighter. » 1/24/14 6:50am 1/24/14 6:50am

Our first glimpse of the dusty remnants of an exploding star

See that reddish cloud inside this supernova's shockwave? It's a massive plume of dust that formed shortly after the star ripped itself to shreds. The observation was made using the the brand new ALMA telescope — and it's one that will help explain how galaxies got their dusty and dim complexion. » 1/07/14 8:00am 1/07/14 8:00am

Here's the supernova Johannes Kepler studied 400 years ago

These are the remnants of the last supernova known to explode in our galaxy whose light has reached Earth. It lit up the night sky in 1604 and attracted the attention of Johannes Kepler himself. But it's only in the last couple of decades that we've developed the technology to understand exactly what kind of supernova… » 5/19/13 11:30am 5/19/13 11:30am

This misshapen blotch was once the brightest supernova ever recorded

In the spring of the year 1006, Earth's sky was drastically altered by the appearance of a supernova that was brighter than the entire combined night sky. Mentioned in historical records throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America, this supernova was likely bright enough to be visible during daylight hours, with … » 4/28/13 2:00pm 4/28/13 2:00pm

Behold, the most distant supernova explosion ever photographed

You're looking at one of the most far-flung star explosions ever recorded. Dubbed Supernova UDS10Wil (aka "SN Wilson," after Woodrow Wilson), it detonated more than 10 billion years ago, but only recently has its light found its way to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. » 4/04/13 1:46pm 4/04/13 1:46pm

NASA has found a free particle accelerator floating in space

In early 2007, NASA's Cassini spacecraft observed something extraordinary around Saturn. An unusually strong blast of solar wind sent subatomic particles crashing into the ringed planet's magnetic field, giving rise to perhaps the most tremendous shock wave ever observed emanating from the planet. But newly announced… » 2/27/13 9:00am 2/27/13 9:00am

One physical phenomenon that orders our entire universe

If you've spent any time perusing the periodic table of elements, you've probably noticed that there aren't too many gaps. As the chart progresses, the number of protons, which define an element, march neatly from 1 to 2 to 3 and so on. This orderly transformation can't be made by fusion in stars alone. If you've ever … » 1/24/13 9:00am 1/24/13 9:00am

Can humans journey into deep space without cosmic radiation frying our …

Beyond a few brief trips to the Moon over four decades ago, humanity has never ventured outside of Earth's protective magnetic field. And while it's natural to dream of exploring the stars, such voyages may carry impossibly high medical risks. » 1/01/13 9:00am 1/01/13 9:00am