Latest Astronomy News

In this Feb. 7, 1984 photo made available by NASA, astronaut Bruce McCandless II, performs a spacewalk a few meters away from the cabin of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Challenger, using a nitrogen-propelled Manned Maneuvering Unit. On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, NASA said that more than 12,000 Americans from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories applied to be part of the space agency's next astronaut class. The month-long application period ended Tuesday. (NASA via AP)

NASA call for astronauts draws 12,000 spaceflight hopefuls

Apr. 1, 2020 1:16 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Who wants to be an astronaut? More than 12,000 people do, resulting in NASA's second-largest group of astronaut hopefuls. NASA said Wednesday that Americans from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories applied to be part of the space agency's next...

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2015, file photo, from bottom left, the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the Submillimeter Array, far right, are shown on Hawaii's Mauna Kea near Hilo, Hawaii. Observatories on Hawaii's tallest mountain have shut down operations in response to the governor's stay-at-home order aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the shutdown of telescope operations on Mauna Kea is expected to affect more than 500 technicians, astronomers, instrument scientists, engineers, and support staff who work at the Big Island summit and at observatory bases below. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

Hawaii mountain telescopes close in response to virus order

Mar. 30, 2020 10:52 AM EDT

HONOLULU (AP) — Observatories on Hawaii's tallest mountain have shut down operations in response to the governor's stay-at-home order aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The shutdown of telescope operations on Mauna Kea is expected to affect more than 500 technicians, astronomers, instrument...

8 European spacecraft put in hibernation amid virus lockdown

Mar. 24, 2020 4:07 PM EDT

BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency said Tuesday that it is putting eight of its spacecraft into hibernation as it scales down operations during the coronavirus outbreak. The agency said it is further reducing the already limited number of staff working on site at its mission control in Darmstadt,...

In this image from video made available by NASA, astronaut Chris Cassidy speaks during an interview from cosmonaut headquarters in Star City, Russia, on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Cassidy, who's about to leave the planet for six months, is stressed about coronavirus like everyone else, even though he's already in heavy quarantine. Cassidy said Thursday that when you're an astronaut three weeks away from launch, lots of people are “very concerned” about your health. He's grateful for that. (NASA via AP)

No family, fanfare for NASA astronaut launching next month

Mar. 19, 2020 6:30 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA astronaut who's about to leave the planet for six months will blast off without any family or fanfare because of the coronavirus. Chris Cassidy said Thursday that he won't have any guests at his April 9 launch from Kazakhstan. He expects to say goodbye in Russia to his...

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden wipes his hands after creating a cast of his hand prints that will be part of a permanent display at Apollo High School in St. Cloud, Minn. Worden, who circled the moon alone in 1971 while his two crewmates tried out the first lunar rover, has died at age 88, his family said Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (Jason Wachter/St. Cloud Times via AP)

Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, who circled moon, dies at 88

Mar. 18, 2020 6:14 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, who circled the moon alone in 1971 while his two crewmates test-drove the first lunar rover, died Wednesday at age 88. Worden died in his sleep at a rehab center in Houston following treatment for an infection, said friend and colleague Tom...

FILE - In this March 10, 2020, file photo, vehicles are dwarfed as the nearly full moon rises in the distance in Shawnee, Kan. The planets and our moon are providing some early morning entertainment. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and a crescent moon will be clustered together in the southeastern sky just before daybreak. Mercury will peek above the horizon. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Stuck home? Planets, moon providing predawn entertainment

Mar. 18, 2020 11:14 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Stuck at home this week? The planets and our moon are providing some early morning entertainment. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and a crescent moon will be clustered together in the southeastern sky just before daybreak. Mercury will peek above the horizon. All this is happening amid...

FILE - In this July 19, 2019, file photo, protesters continue their opposition vigil against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea in Hawaii The cost to build a giant telescope that's unpopular among many Native Hawaiians is now estimated to have ballooned by a billion dollars.

Giant Hawaii telescope cost estimate increases to $2.4B

Mar. 17, 2020 9:17 PM EDT

HONOLULU (AP) — The cost to build a giant telescope that's unpopular among many Native Hawaiians is now estimated to have ballooned by a billion dollars. “While an exact updated project cost will depend on when and where on-site construction begins for the Thirty Meter Telescope, the latest...

Europe, Russia postpone joint rover mission to Mars

Mar. 12, 2020 1:55 PM EDT

BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency and Russia's Roscosmos said Thursday they are postponing a planned joint mission to Mars until 2022, in part due to travel restrictions resulting from the new coronavirus outbreak The ExoMars mission was due to launch this year but concerns about possible technical...

This illustration made available by the European Southern Observatory in March 2020 depicts iron rain that may have been detected in the atmosphere of the ultra-hot exoplanet WASP-76b. Discovered just a few years ago, this planet is nearly twice the size of Jupiter yet takes less than two days to orbit its star. Because the planet's rotation matches the time it takes to complete an orbit, the same side always faces the star. (M. Kornmesser/ESO via AP)

It's cloudy with a chance of iron rain at hot, faraway world

Mar. 11, 2020 1:16 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — At one hot, faraway world, it's always cloudy with a chance of iron rain. That's the otherworldly forecast from Swiss and other European astronomers who have detected clouds full of iron droplets at a hot Jupiterlike planet 390 light-years away. This mega planet is so hot on...

This image made available by NASA on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 shows the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster viewed in a composite of X-ray, radio and infrared data. The inset image at bottom right shows data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory which confirmed a cavity formed by a record-breaking explosion from a super-massive black hole. The explosion was so large it carved out a crater in the hot gas that could hold 15 Milky Ways, said lead author Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. (Chandra: NASA/CXC/NRL/S. Giacintucci, et al., XMM: ESA/XMM; Radio: NCRA/TIFR/GMRT; Infrared: 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF via AP)

Biggest explosion seen in universe came from black hole

Feb. 27, 2020 3:24 PM EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronomers have discovered the biggest explosion seen in the universe, originating from a super-massive black hole. Scientists reported Thursday that the blast came from a black hole in a cluster of galaxies 390 million light-years away. The explosion was so large it carved...