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astronomy

  1. Space

    Today We Learned Our Friend Bill Nye Took Astronomy Classes From Carl Sagan [VIDEO]

    Our friend Bill Nye is being profiled by the new PBS/NOVA series The Secret Lives of Scientists. Previously, he's shared his origin story and spoken about his penchant for bowties. In this clip, Bill chats about how deeply he's been influenced by Carl Sagan (you know, the host of the original Cosmos), and how Bill hopes to continue Sagan's legacy.

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  2. Space

    Fly Through the Universe in a New 3D Charted Rendering of Known Galaxies [Video]

    If driving really fast through the snow at night with your headlights on just doesn't do it for you anymore (or has resulted in too many accidents), here's a video of what it would look like if you could fly through the universe at warp speed. As an added bonus, the galaxies are enlarged so you can pretend you're a giant space monster.

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  3. Weird

    Competitive Eaters Request Help Studying Black Holes

    The International Federation of Competitive Eating is looking to space to help advance their sport. The organization responsible for Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest recently wrote a letter to the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii as part of their campaign to observe a black hole and learn from its insatiable appetite.

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  4. Space

    Here’s How to Catch Tomorrow’s Rare Solar Eclipse, Backyard Astronomers!

    Tomorrow morning there's going to be a super-rare type of solar eclipse, and - if you're lucky enough to live in the right places - you can check it out for yourself. Here's how and where you can catch the solar eclipse on Sunday, November 3rd!

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  5. Space

    The Moon and Venus Snuggle Up Close Tonight, Here’s How and When to See It in GIF form!

    Tonight you'll be able to see a beautiful view of the Moon and Venus next to each other in the sky. Sure, they'll still actually be millions and millions of miles away from each other, but it's all about perspective, and tonight's perspective will be lovely. Here's how to see it in seven easy steps and eight silly GIFs.

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  6. Space

    New Data on Extraterrestrial Cloud Cover Could Double the Number of Habitable Exoplanets

    There may be something like 60 billion potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Just let that sink in for a minute: 60 billion. If it seems like an unusually high number, it's because it's been doubled from what we thought was possible before. The new higher estimate comes from astronomers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University who realized that earlier calculations done to determine which alien planets might support life may have underestimated a major climactic influence: clouds.

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  7. Space

    Disappointed By the “Super Moon?” Here’s Why: It Isn’t “Super”

    It's Super Moon Weekend 2013! The Moon is at it's closest point to the Earth all year, plus it's a full! The Moon's gigantic! Huge! Enormous! Except -- it isn't. For as much hype as "Super Moons" get they never fail to disappoint, and there's good reason. They're not actually that super. Don't get me wrong. The Moon is amazing. It's a giant rock in the sky that affects tides, turns people into wolves (allegedly), and we sent people to go walk on it (definitely). The Moon is great every day, but "Super Moons" are overhyped.

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  8. Space

    Look To The Skies! Watch Saturn Make A Beautifully Close Approach To Earth Tonight

    1.3 billion kilometers is a great distance, but tonight consider it relatively close. That's how far away close Saturn will be to the Earth tonight. What does that mean for you? It means that with a telescope -- even a cheap one -- you can get a beautiful view of another planet that's more than 800 million miles away. Oh, you don't have a telescope? Go buy a telescope. There's still time.

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  9. Space

    Watch a Black Hole Feed on Its Planet-Sized Prey [Video]

    We were too far away to try to stop it. All we could do is watch, helpless, horrified, and secretly delighted, as the event unfolded beyond our reach. The crime: A black hole 47 million light years away, after stirred from its dormancy, fed on a planet-like object that could have had up to 30 times the mass of Jupiter. That's one hungry light-sucking hole!

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  10. Space

    New Type of Itty-Bitty Stellar Explosion Discovered

    We love explosions, don't we? Especially when they're a) on TV or b) very far away from us. In this case, crazy far away, because I'm talking about supernovas -- those spectacular events wherein a star dies and then has a cosmic funeral in the form of a massive explosion visible to the edge of the universe itself. Now astronomers have discovered a new variety of stellar explosion that's...much smaller. It's potentially even adorable. A kind of supernova that is so weak that the star itself survives it.

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  11. Space

    This Day In Geek History: Pluto Was Discovered Today in 1930

    We little humans on our floating rock discover celestial bodies long after the they were born -- we kind of can't help it -- but when we do, the date is a big deal to us. On this day in 1930, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh examined some photographs he'd taken and discovered our very own Pluto.

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  12. Space

    Neighboring Star is the Oldest Known and the Silver Fox of the Universe

    Some of the oldest celestial bodies in our known universe are stars. And we don't mean that name-forgetting and license-revoking kind of old, we're talking about way before the first single-cell organism decided to start splitting in that puddle of primordial ooze. But for all our technological advancements in the field of astronomy, it can be difficult at times to accurately pinpoint the exact age of a particular star, since such efforts can take exhaustive years of constant analysis. Over an eight year period between 2003 to 2011 utilizing the Hubble Space Telescope’s Fine Guidance Sensors, astronomers have concluded that the star designated HD 140283 is the oldest star out in space -- and even more surprising is the fact that neighbors our very solar system.

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  13. Space

    Space Telescopes Work Together to Find Largest Known Spiral Galaxy

    NASA and the European Southern Observatory have put their heads -- and their space telescope data -- together to produce this image of NGC 6872, the largest known spiral galaxy in the universe. The gargantuan galaxy measures more than half-a-million light years from end to end -- more than five times larger than our own Milky Way.

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  14. Science

    Tycho Brahe Was Not Poisoned, Had A Brass Nose, Say Researchers Who Dug Up His Corpse

    Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have put to bed once and for all the rumors of Tycho Brahe's murder by mercury poisoning that have swirled for more than four hundred years, and all it took was exhuming the long interred corpse of the Danish astronomer from it's rightful resting place. Researchers have also found that Brahe's prosthetic nose, rumored to be cast from gold or silver, was actually made of brass, presumably solving this last mystery because, hey, if you've already got the guy dug up and all, why not, right?

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  15. Space

    Hubble Spots New Red Galaxy, Perfect Example of Cosmic Middle Age

    This is NGC 5010, a dusty, lenticular galaxy in the constellation Virgo and the latest to be discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope. While the red and yellow colors of NGC 5010 make it look vibrant and active, those looks are deceiving -- the galaxy is mostly done forming stars, and with its best years behind it, is a great example of a galaxy transitioning from mid-life to old age.

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