Earth is a lot closer to the center of the universe, and a massive black hole, than originally thought.

Astronomers just completed a new model of the Milky Way Galaxy that is the most accurate depiction of our galaxy to date. The new model revealed a couple of unexpected twists. Because Earth is inside the Milky Way Galaxy, we have no way to "step out" of the galaxy to see what it looks like from the outside. Instead, astronomers study the motion and measurements of objects around us to get a picture of what our galaxy looks like. To begin, scientists used a technique known as interferometry to combine data from dozens of radio telescopes across Japan. This combination of data achieves the same result as a telescope 1,429 miles wide! Then scientists use this data to create a 3D map of our galaxy. The results of

China sent a spaceship to the moon to scoop up some rocks and return them to earth.

China is aiming to be the third country to reach the Moon and return lunar rock and soil to Earth for analysis. The United States and Russia returned Moon samples to earth about 40 years ago. This week. China's Chang'e-5 robotic spacecraft took off aboard a Long March 5 rocket and began its voyage to the Moon. The mission is run by the China National Space Administration, China's equivalent of NASA. When Chang'e-5 reaches the moon, it will go into orbit. A robotic lander (there are no humans on this mission) will be deployed to the Moon's surface. It will use near-infrared spectrometers and ground-penetrating radar to peer under the Moon's surface. After finding a prime spot to dig, the robot will drill into the soil

Check out this stunning video flyby over the clouds of Jupiter!

The geniuses at NASA have given us another great video - this time a flyby over the planet Jupiter! Check it out below: The video was created using images from NASA's Juno mission during its 27th close flyby of the planet on June 2, 2020. The Juno spacecraft flies about 2,1000 miles from the tops of Jupiter's clouds. Jupiter has such tremendous gravity, that it accelerates Juno's speed to about 130,000 mph! Juno was launched from Earth about 9 years ago. It took 5 more years before it settled into a polar orbit of Jupiter and began sending NASA scientists photos and data of the planet. When Juno's mission is complete, it will crash into Jupiter, snapping photos all the way.

The Leonid meteor shower begins tonight – here’s how to watch the sky’s brilliant show!

It's that time of year again - the Earth is about to drive through the stream of debris that trails the Tempel-Tuttle comet - and that means METEOR SHOWER! The spectacular Leonid meteor shower will steak meteors from a point just below the head of the constellation Leo, the lion (hence the shower's name - Leonid). From that point, meteors will fly in all directions - even upward! The Leonid meteor shower is one of the best annual showers for meteor watching. In some years, it can produce as many as 50,000 meteors per hour. 1966 was the last great "meteor storm". Thousands of meteors per minute fell through Earth's atmosphere during a 15-minute period. There were so many meteors seen that they appeared to fall

Crew Dragon launches today! For the first time in nearly a decade, the US will launch 2 passengers into space from US soil.

It's really happening! Today NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will board a SpaceX capsule named Crew Dragon. The capsule will be carried from Florida into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket. They will travel to the International Space Stations (ISS) as a major test of SpaceX's new Dragon 2 spacecraft. The event is historic for various reasons. It's the first time since 2011 that the US launched astronauts from its own soil. Also, this historic flight is a new type of partnership between a public entity (NASA) and a private aerospace firm (SpaceX). If all goes well, we can expect much more from these guys in the future. The flight is currently targeted for 4:33PM ET on Wednesday, May 27th. That may change if the

The American flags on the moon – are they still standing?

We’ve all seen the pictures of astronauts triumphantly placing an American flag on the surface of the moon, evidence of mankind’s excursion to a heavenly body far from home. But flag planting wasn’t as easy as the astronauts made it seem. American flags on the moon Apollo 11, the first mission to land on the moon, learned an important lesson about the moon’s surface when they tried to plant the American flag. It has been supposed that the dirt on the moon would be similar to earth’s. It was not and its unusual composition made the flag impossible to plant deeply into the soil. Unlike dirt granules on earth which are roundish, moon dirt is flattened with sharp edges. The granules tend to lock into place making for

Here’s what a flame looks like in space, where there is no gravity.

How a flame burns in space When a flame burns on earth, heated gases rise from the fire, drawing oxygen in and pushing combustion molecules out. As the flame burns, it heats the air around it and causes it to expand and rise upward. Denser air sinks downward to fill the void. The process continues in a sort of loop. This upward rising of air is what causes the classic teardrop shape we see in a candle flame. In microgravity however, hot gases do not rise. Air pretty much remains unmoved in all areas around the flame. So an entirely different process, called molecular diffusion, drives flame behavior and gives it an unusual round appearance. Since no flow of air replaces the oxygen that is burnt, only

NASA announces its next mission “Dragonfly” – will explore Saturn’s moon Titan with a drone-like lander.

As part of NASA’s New Frontiers program, they have selected their next mission – a drone-like lander that will explore the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. The Dragonfly mission will send a dual-quadcopter to the surface of Titan. About every 16 days it will fly tens of miles above the surface for about an hour before stopping to rest and recharge. During these “hops”, Dragonfly will sample the moon’s surface material and observe its weather patterns. The Huygens probe (carried by Cassini) was the first to give us a good view of the moon’s surface. It was found that Titan had a thick atmosphere and liquid methane coverings its surface. This interested NASA scientists who have been longing to send a lander to the moon to better

For the first time, scientists have captured a picture of a black hole in space and it’s amazing!

Astronomers have done what was thought to be impossible – they captured the unseeable, a picture of a black hole, an object so dense, nothing, not even light, can escape it. The photo was taken by scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The picture of the black hole shows a lopsided ring of light surrounding a dark circle – the black hole itself. The black hole is in a galaxy known as Messier 87 in the constellation Virgo. The black hole is 55 million light years away from earth. That is so far, if you hopped a ride on the Space Shuttle, it would take you 20,450,000 years to reach it. Here's what messier 87 looks like through a telescope. To capture the image was no