Editor's note: This story has been updated April 18 with new launch plans for TESS.
The launch of NASA’s next exoplanet hunter, TESS, has been rescheduled for 6:51 p.m. EDT April 18. You can watch launch coverage on NASA TV starting at 6:30 p.m.
SpaceX, whose Falcon 9 rocket is set to carry TESS into space, had scrubbed the satellite’s planned April 16 just hours before liftoff,...
NASA is stepping up its search for planets outside our solar system. Its next exoplanet hunting telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is due to launch from Cape Canaveral on the evening of April 16.
Following the Kepler space telescope’s discovery of more than 5,000 possible exoplanets since 2009, TESS will continue the galactic census — flagging more planetary...
News in Brief
The calculation of Mercury’s orbit is being tweaked — for a second time. And it’s all thanks to Albert Einstein.
Before the famous physicist came up with his theory of gravity, known as the general theory of relativity, scientists’ predictions for Mercury’s motions were slightly off: The planet’s orbit disagreed with expectations. When Einstein realized that general relativity accounted...
News in Brief
Dark matter is still the shyest particle in physics. New observations show that dark matter in galaxy cluster Abell 3827 stubbornly ignores all other kinds of matter — including itself, astronomers reported April 6 at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in Liverpool, England.
The research, also posted online at arXiv.org, negates an earlier finding that stars were separated...
The center of the Milky Way may be abuzz with black holes. For the first time, a dozen small black holes have been spotted within the inner region of the galaxy in an area spanning just a few light-years — and there could be thousands more.
Astrophysicist Charles Hailey of Columbia University and his colleagues spotted the black holes thanks to the holes’ interactions with stars slowly...
Reviews & Previews
Losing the Nobel PrizeBrian KeatingW.W. Norton & Co., $27.95
Dust may seem insignificant, but in science, it can cost you a Nobel Prize.
That’s what happened to Brian Keating, a major contributor to the BICEP2 team that claimed in 2014 to have found the first definitive evidence of cosmic inflation (SN: 4/5/14, p. 6), a period of extremely rapid expansion just after the...
China’s first space station, Tiangong-1, is expected to fall to Earth sometime between March 31 and April 1. No fooling.
Most of the 10.4-meter-long station will burn up as it zooms through Earth’s atmosphere. But some parts will survive and reach the ground, according to the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office. No one can be sure where or when those pieces will hit. Even within...
MISSING: Dark matter.
Mass: About 60 billion suns’ worth.
Location: The galaxy NGC1052–DF2, about 65 million light-years from Earth.
An unusual galaxy is surprisingly lacking in dark matter, scientists report March 28 in Nature.
In typical galaxies, normal matter is swamped by dark matter, an unidentified invisible substance that makes up most of the matter in the...
THE WOODLANDS, Texas — It’s been six months since NASA’s Cassini spacecraft plunged to its doom in the atmosphere of Saturn, but scientists didn’t spend much time mourning. They got busy, analyzing the spacecraft’s final data.
The Cassini mission ended September 15, 2017, after more than 13 years orbiting Saturn (SN Online: 9/15/17). The spacecraft’s final 22 orbits, dubbed the Grand...
View the trailer
“The strangest place in the whole universe might just be right here.” So says actor Will Smith, narrating the opening moments of a new documentary series about the wonderful unlikeliness of our own planet, Earth.
One Strange Rock, premiering March 26 on the National Geographic Channel, is itself a peculiar and unlikely creation. Executive produced by Academy Award–...