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Article: First Planet Finishes Last

Mercury is the most unusual of the four planets closest to the Sun. It’s also the most neglected. Until MESSENGER, it was the only one of the four that hadn’t been comprehensively imaged.

Roy Tucker[2]


Probability and 2004 MN4: A New Drama

In 2004, news of Asteroid MN4 hit the blogosphere: "So, in summary, there's a 1-in-233 chance of the worst disaster in recorded history happening on April 13, 2029, and a 232-in-233 chance of nothing happening." Take a closer, scientific look.



In Hot Pursuit of Asteroids

Given the potential for asteroids to literally and figuratively impact life on Earth in a profound way, asteroids have been quite sought after since the first and largest one, Ceres, was discovered in 1801. Learn more.



Article: The 142-Megapixel Digital Camera

The Sloan Telescope has a digital camera the size of a dishwasher that’s sophisticated enough to capture every luminous object in the northern celestial hemisphere. Take a closer look.



Article: One in a Million

Have you ever stumbled upon a discovery while looking for something completely different? See what surprises astronomers found as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.


Interactive: How Far is Far?

This interactive explains how astronomers measure the properties of light from faraway space objects to calculate their distance from Earth. Users click through a series of pages that explain the concepts step-by-step with illustrations and animations.



Article: The Big Questions

What is the Universe’s arrangement today? What did it look like at its birth? And how did we get from then to now? These are just some of the “Big Questions” astronomers are making headway answering.


Science Bulletins

The Shining Star of South African Astronomy

On cloudless, moonless nights, the stars are so bright over the remote village of Sutherland, South Africa, that a person can walk by starlight alone. Learn more about the village’s Southern African Large Telescope (SALT).



Essay: The Success of Failed Stars

Scientists have been studying brown dwarfs, or failed stars, for nearly a century. What have they learned? And what answers are they still seeking about these objects stuck somewhere between stars and planets?


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