The Milky Way is a giant, magnificent, truly transcendently beautiful spiral arm galaxy. It’s too bad we can’t get a decent picture of it. The problem is that we live inside it, and so astronomers have to work extra-hard to construct an accurate map.
Our universe is home to up to two trillion galaxies, with each galaxy hosting hundreds of billions of stars. That’s…a lot of stars. Each one a ball of fearsome energies, powered by the nuclear fusion of fundamental elements in their hearts. Each one pouring out light into the empty cosmos, illuminating our universe for our wonder and delight.
A few billionare-backed companies have ambitious goals: launching tens of thousands of communication satellites to provide global high-speed internet access. Elon Musk’s StarLink, Jeff Bezos’ Project Kuiper, One Web, GuoWang, and more are all competing for this lucrative market. In less than a decade, we can expect over 50,000 new satellites to encircle the Earth. That’s about ten times more than are currently active.
Jupiter is the OG best friend in the solar system. It finds all the tiny little comets and asteroids heading for the vulnerable inner planets and takes one for the team, chewing up the dangerous rocks in its thick atmosphere. It happened again just recently, and this time an amateur astronomer caught it in the act.
We all wish we could find an Earth 2.0 – a planet about the size of our own, made of roughly the same chemical mixture, orbiting a sun-like star at just the right distance so that all its water doesn’t evaporate or freeze.
Small stars can pack a surprisingly powerful punch. For an example look no further than the nearest neighbor to our solar system, Proxima Centauri. This little red dwarf just sent off a blast a hundred times more powerful than anything that our own sun ever has.
Our Milky Way galaxy is on a collision course. With destiny. With destruction. With fate. With our nearest neighbor, Andromeda. You can stream HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS on discovery+.
Want to see what’s behind a black hole? Easy. You just…stare at it. The whole thing is pretty weird to contemplate, but an excellent example of the space-bending (and mind-bending) powers of black holes.
Sure, the sun looks all calm up there in the sky. Kids even put little smiley faces on the sun when they draw it. But look closer and you’ll find that our sun has a nasty, violent temper.
What’s shiny and lives under the Martian ice? No, it’s not a joke. It’s clay. Just…clay.
The Milky Way is a giant, sprawling, beautiful spiral galaxy. It's also your home. Let's take a little tour.
NASA’s Juno probe, the supremely awesome Jupiter orbiter, recently captured some stunning images of Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter, during the orbiter’s 34th trip around the giant.
Meet the humble Ophiuchus galaxy cluster. It’s just another dense clump of galaxies, one of approximately a bajillion, dotting the universe. It sits about 240 million lightyears away from Earth.And its heart is missing.
In a bowl, combine a tablespoon of hydrogen and a teaspoon of helium to a cup of dark matter. Add a pinch of neutrinos and sprinkling of radiation. Mix well to combine. Heat to several million Kelvin. When mixture has risen, leave to cool for 13 billion years.
Recently NASA announced two brand-spanking new missions to our sister planet, Venus. This is the first time in over 40 years that Americans have led a mission to that enigmatic planet. What do they hope to find? Clues to our past…and answers to our future.