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astronomy

NASA: Your Zodiac Sign Is Wrong According to Science, but It Was Never Based on Science Anyway

The more you know.

People who care what their zodiac sign is got a little wigged out last week when news made the rounds that NASA pointed out that astrology is based on nonsense—not for the normal reason that it doesn't actually mean anything, but because there are really 13 constellations in the zodiac, and the Sun aligns with them at different times than people previously believed. That means some people's zodiac signs aren't what they thought. Or it doesn't, because they're meaningless anyway.

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Largest-Ever Radio Telescope Fully Installed and Ready* to Search for Aliens

*After some debugging.

SETI has long been the face of the search for extraterrestrial life, but as that search continues to come up empty, others are getting in on the game with continually larger radio telescopes to search for E.T. phoning home. Now, China has finished the installation of the world's largest radio telescope—almost twice the size of the next-largest and ready to fund us some aliens just in time for Independence Day.

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Hubble Space Telescope Gets Life Extension of Another Five Years

Five more years! Five more years!

Unlike "four more years," which typically winds up annoying about half the country—give or take—five more years is pretty universally exciting, because it means half a decade more of science using a piece of equipment that was only meant to last until 2005: the Hubble Space Telescope.

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80% of North Americans Can’t See the Milky Way Because of Light Pollution

That's sad, because it's beautiful.

We can see a few distant galaxies in the night sky with our own eyes, but one that's increasingly difficult to see is, sadly, our own. The Milky Way is an awe-inspiring sight on a dark night, but due to humans and our artificial light, almost no one in North America gets to experience a dark enough night to see it anymore.

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Astronomers Capture Video of an Object Slamming Into Jupiter

Jupiter Defending?

Astronomers believe that Jupiter and its enormous gravitational influence may have a hand in protecting our home planet from rogue asteroids and comets—though it may just as often fling dangerous space debris our way. Either way, it definitely took one for the team recently, as astronomers caught video footage of a bright flash on the edge of Jupiter's atmosphere caused by an impact from an interplanetary object.

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Japanese Space Agency Lost Contact With New Orbital X-Ray Observatory

Sadly, this is probably not the beginning of a sci-fi movie. Probably.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has lost communication with the Hitomi X-ray observatory recently put into orbit around the Earth. They're still optimistic that things will turn out alright, but observations from the ground have been unable to pinpoint just what went so wrong with this groundbreaking X-ray observatory.

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Hundreds of Galaxies Discovered Hiding on the Other Side of the Milky Way

I guess they're "it" now?

There sure are a lot of stars, planets, and whatnot out there in the Universe, and today, we know about a whole bunch more. Sitting just (relatively) on the other side of our own Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have discovered a bunch of galaxies we didn't know about them before because we just plain couldn't see them.

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Wake Up Before Dawn This Month to Check Out the Naked-Eye Planets With Your Morning Coffee

Do you love stargazing? Do you also love sleep? Well, one of those loves is gonna have to go - at least for one morning this month. For the next thirty days, you'll have a chance to see all five planets visible to the naked eye all lined up in a row for the first time in ten years.

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Congresswoman Proposes Bill to Fight Astronomy’s Sexual Harassment Problem

What is up with male faculty members in university astronomy departments sexually harassing students all the time and getting away with it? One California congresswoman is making putting a stop to such things a priority.

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Astronomers Believe They’ve Found a New Object in Our Solar System Beyond Neptune and Pluto

Move over, Pluto.

It seems that we hear about a new "super Earth" or other exoplanet discovered just about every day, but those are all well outside of our solar system in the distant reaches of space. Finding an object within our own stellar neighborhood would be a much rarer occurrence, and some astronomers now believe they've done just that.

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Professor Geoff Marcy and Abuse of Power: How Sexual Harassment in Science Departments Goes Unchecked

The Geoff Marcy case has received a fair amount of coverage in the press, however, as often as not, the coverage has been apologetic to Marcy. My mind reels at how this could be, but I’m going to make the compassionate assumption that the world at large hasn’t seen a physics or astronomy department in action, (having not participated in one), and their take on Marcy’s alleged behavior stems from their ignorance.

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Former Astronomy Professor Geoff Marcy’s Long, Skeezy Serial Harasser Past Revealed

Former Berkeley professor and famous astronomer Geoff Marcy has a long record of sexual harassment cases lodged against him, dating all the way back to 1995.

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Things We Saw Today: John Boyega’s FULL Reaction to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

The Force is strong with him.

Boyega already gave us a glimpse of his reaction to the Force Awakens trailer via his Instagram, but now you can watch him watch the trailer in its entirety on his Facebook page. As explosive as his reaction is, it's the build-up as he watches that really makes it worth it. Also, I don't know whom he's with, but I love that he and that other dude were totally bro-ing out afterwards!

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Ahmed Mohamed Chilled With Astronauts, Met Obama at Yesterday’s White House Astronomy Night

The White House has an Astronomy Night?

Obama invited Ahmed Mohamed back in September to bring his homemade clock to the White House, and last night Ahmed finally got a chance to meet the Prez in person (alongside astronauts and NASA scientists!) at the White House's second-ever Astronomy Night.

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Berkeley Department Head Sends Misguided Letter to Staff About Serial Harasser Geoff Marcy

I'm sorry, this is hardest for who right now?

As of last week, there were no punishments being handed down from the administration, and we hoped that was because they were taking their time deciding on a fitting one. As of today, there are still no sanctions or penalties being doled out to Marcy for his actions.

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UC Berkeley Astronomy Professor Violated Sexual Harassment Policies

Over the course of nine years (2001-2010), Dr. Geoff Marcy is said to have harassed four women with inappropriate groping, kissing, and massaging. Shudder.

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There are Plumes Coming Out of Mars; This is Literally How War of the Worlds Begins

Of all the times to come down with a cold...

So scientists and astronomers have noticed the sudden appearance of hundreds of mile long plumes of... stuff on Mars, and two years later they still have no idea what may have caused them or what the plumes were made up of.

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Things We Saw Today: A New Book By Kate Beaton!!!!!

This is real life!!

Drawn & Quarterly is publishing the follow-up to Kate Beaton's wildly-successful Hark! A Vagrant! Step Aside, Pops even features our favorite sassy velocipedestrienne on the cover. (via LA Times)

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Things We Saw Today: Monkey Island LEGOs!

That's the second biggest monkey head I've ever seen!

Tumblr'r Chris Healy ran into these two on-point gals cosplaying as the female assassins from the upcoming Assassin's Creed Unity. Take that, "too hard to animate." (via Tumblr)

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Things We Saw Today: The Best Doggie Star Wars Costume Yet

And you can own it!

If you want your dog to join you in your Star Wars group cosplay, why not grab this officially-licensed doggie bantha costume? Tusken Raider totally included. (via Geeks Are Sexy)

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