The first exoplanets discovered were orbiting a rapidly rotating neutron star formed in a supernova explosion. The first planet orbiting a sunlike planet was just as much a surprise. What was a giant planet doing so close to its star? It was a "hot Jupiter" and there have been many more since.
The days between the first day of spring and the start of summer are marked by astronomical events, discoveries, and birthdays. Here's a little quiz for you that picks out some of the highlights of this period.
The Solar System's large moons tend towards the weird and wonderful, and Triton is no exception. It has ice volcanoes, a strange “cantaloupe terrain”, and crazy seasons. It's the only large moon to orbit in the wrong direction, so it didn't form near Neptune. But where did it come from?
Many animals other than humans have been in space. They include fruit flies, spiders, rats, mice, monkeys, chimps, dogs, frogs and jellyfish. It's hard to imagine jellyfish swimming around in the space shuttle, but they were part of the first Spacelab Life Sciences Mission.
The 50th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing was on July 20, 2019, and there were books galore to celebrate it. Apollo 11: The Inside Story tells the fascinating story of how the space race was a battlefront in the Cold War as two competing ideologies vied for supremacy.
The biggest impact crater on Earth is the Vredefort crater in South Africa, and the highest mountain is Everest. But what about the rest of the Solar System? Which features are the biggest ones in the whole Solar System?
Massive stars are born in the same way as smaller stars like the Sun. But a massive star then burns brighter and hotter, and ends its life in one of the Universe's most stupendous explosions, a supernova. For a time, it shines as bright as entire galaxy of a billion stars.
What links the USA's Independence Day holiday, the Crab Nebula and NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft? What links the American War of Independence with the planet Uranus? And what is the Fireworks Galaxy? Here's the story.
NASA sent the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to the Moon to spy out sites for future manned missions. It doesn't look like they'll be sending anybody to the Moon, but LRO has documented the Apollo landing sites. Astronomy writer and space expert Ian Ridpath takes us to the Moon for a look.
You wouldn't want to know the distance from Boston to San Francisco in inches. And for the same reason, miles aren't very useful in space. After all, it's 26 trillion miles to the next nearest star. So how do astronomers deal with these enormous distances?