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Essay: Stars in Exquisite Accuracy

There’s only one star that astronomers have a firm grasp on: the Sun. Fundamental facts about other stars remain elusive. Find out how a powerful interferometer atop Mount Wilson in Southern California hopes to change that.

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Article, 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).

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Article

The Enigma of High Energy Cosmic Rays

In 1912, Viktor Hess took to the sky in a hot-air balloon and discovered a radioactive energy now called “cosmic rays.” Travel to Argentina to see how scientists now hope to discover at long last where the highest-energy cosmic rays are coming from.

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Article

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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Article

Essay: Will Dark Energy Please Come to Light?

Two teams working independently in 1998 came to the same conclusion: An invisible force, one that seems to act opposite gravity, is separating the matter in space at an increasing pace. Find out more about their “jaw-dropping” discovery.

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Article

Essay: Waiting for Gravity at LIGO

If LIGO regularly registers gravitational waves, it will more than vindicate Einstein. The observatory may help answer pressing questions about the cosmos’s biggest mysteries, among them black holes, dark matter, and the Big Bang.

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Article

Essay: A Rogue's Gallery of Gravity-Makers

Anything with an accelerating mass has a gravitational effect — an atomic bomb, a spinning aircraft carrier, even you. Learn more about these ripples in space and how LIGO is designed to capture the biggest gravitational waves.

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Article

Essay: LIGO's Extended Family

LIGO, or the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, is just one of five large-scale gravitational-wave detectors in the world. Find out how they rely on each other to achieve their goals.

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Article

Essay: Capturing Phantoms: Gamma-Ray Bursts

Our eyes can only detect a fraction of light in the electromagnetic spectrum — otherwise we’d see gamma-ray bursts, flashes that outshine the sun by a million trillion times, about once a day. Learn more.

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Article

A Tale of Two Rovers

In early 2004, two unlikely explorers traveled to the red planet and found strong evidence to confirm water once existed on the surface of Mars, and in sufficient quantity to possibly have harbored life.

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