First-Ever Photo of a Solar System Like Ours

Images of exoplanets are extremely uncommon, but even more rare is an image of such a planet as part of a greater solar system like ours. Astronomers, however, have just shared one such photo captured by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. The picture of TYC 8998-760-1, located approximately 300 light years from Earth, reveals “a Sun-like star, orbited by multiple exoplanets.” This set-up is remarkably …

Explaining Black Holes in Five Ways

Research astronomer Varoujan Gorjian (whose team at NASA is called Structure of the Universe Group) explains Black Holes to five different individuals whose understanding exists at five different levels: a five-year old, a teenager, a grad student studying astronomy, and an expert. In the fascinating video for WIRED, super-personable Gorjian begins by explaining how gravity works and ends up discussing low-luminosity active galactic nuclei. While …

Communicating From the Far Side of the Moon

The far side of the moon (often mistakenly referred to as the “dark side” of the moon) never faces Earth due to the sphere’s elliptical orbit and synchronous rotation. For the first time, information—including a photograph—has been transmitted from the hemisphere by way of China’s National Space Administration’s Yutu-2 rover. While this might not seem like that big of a deal, it marks significant achievements and technological …