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ursid meteor shower 2018: when, where & how to see it

the 2018 ursid meteor shower will peak the night of dec. 21, but the glowing moon will drown out an increased number of meteors.

geminid meteor shower 2018: when, where & how to see it

the geminid meteor shower peaks the night of dec. 13-14. this guide tells you the best times and places to see these shooting stars (no equipment necessary).

orionid meteor shower 2018: when, where & how to see it

some of the brightest and swiftest shooting stars will bedazzle the night sky this year during the orionid meteor shower, which will peak between oct. 20 and 22 and continue through early november.

leonid meteor shower 2018: when, where & how to see it

in mid-november, the fickle leonid meteor shower hits earth once again. the annual shower will peak nov. 17.

the best places to see the super blue blood moon eclipse of jan. 31

skywatchers in alaska, the hawaiian islands and the western part of north america will have the best view of the rare "super blue blood moon" in the early morning of jan. 31.

next stop, mars? life-detection gear passes test on earth

a small, lightweight life-detection package has passed a key trial here on earth, suggesting that it could someday hunt for microbes on mars or the ocean moons of the outer solar system, researchers say.

nasa astronauts take spacewalk outside space station: watch it live

two nasa astronauts will head outside the international space station tuesday (jan. 23) to conduct the first spacewalk of the year.

twilight haze shines over saturn's big moon titan in gorgeous cassini photo

a stunning new view of saturn's largest moon titan captures beautiful layers of blue-yellow haze dancing through the moon's atmosphere.

dark energy survey finds new stellar streams infiltrating the milky way

sky watchers discovered 11 new streams of stars that are the remnants of nearby galaxies and star clusters absorbed by the milky way.

lyrid meteor shower 2018: when, where & how to see it

in late april, skywatchers in the northern hemisphere will get a view of the lyrid meteor shower, the dusty trail of a comet with a centuries-long orbit around the sun.

eta aquarid meteor shower 2018: when, where and how to see it

the eta aquarid meteor shower from late april to mid-may offers a long stretch of spectacular 'shooting stars' that even a casual observer can spot in the night sky.

draconid meteor shower 2018: when, where and how to watch the unpredictable 'shooting star' display

the draconid meteor shower peaks this weekend, but don't get your hopes up for a spectacular sky show.

perseid meteor shower 2018: when, where & how to see it

the perseid meteor shower will burst into light this august as earth passes through the long trail left by comet swift-tuttle. this year, though, the moon may interfere with the show. here's how and when to see the perseids.

image of the day

cosmonaut sergey ryazansky captured this photo of the himalayas as seen from the international space station.

weird winds blow the 'wrong way' on scorching hot exoplanet

if you're looking to beat the heat on exoplanet corot-2b, astronomers found the hottest spot in a surprising location.

air force maintains trust in spacex after secret zuma mission: report

the u.s. air force has given spacex a qualified vote of confidence in the wake of the presumed loss of the mysterious zuma satellite, according to bloomberg news.

ex-prize: google's $30 million moon race ends with no winner

it's official: the google lunar x prize is no more.

spacewalking astronauts shrug off glitch during repair job on space station

two nasa astronauts embarked on a spacewalk today (jan. 23) and successfully replaced a degraded piece of equipment outside of the international space station, despite a software glitch that left the team running behind schedule.

flat earth rocketeer says he will launch in two weeks

"mad" mike hughes, a flat-earth conspiracy theorist, appears to have a new rocket and a new launch date for his mission to prove our oblate spheroid world is actually a disc. (it isn't, and you can prove it yourself.) back in november 2017, hughes announced plans to launch himself 1,800 feet (550 meters) above california's mojave desert in a homemade steam rocket. from that height, he said then, he would take photos that would prove the flatness of planet earth. however, 61-year-old hughes initial launch plans — to fire himself skyward from a launch ramp in the ghost town of amboy, accelerate to a speed of 500 mph, and parachute back to the ground as the rocket crash-landed 1 mile away — would have involved his $20,000 contraption smashing into bureau of land management (blm)-owned property. after the associate press first reported hughes' plans to a wide audience, the blm shut them down. now, according to several posts on his facebook page (some of them buried in comments on other posts), hughes has built a new rocket which he plans to launch from private land in amboy feb. 3. this rocket, it seems, will launch vertically, so it doesn't cross into blm property. in order to actually get high enough in the air to photograph the curvature of the earth, hughes would have to reach about 35,000 feet (10,700 meters) on a clear day — far higher than he has said he will rise in a homemade rocket.editor's note: this article was updated to indicate on...

valentina tereshkova: first woman in space

valentina tereshkova was the first woman to go into space. in 1963, she spent almost three days in space and orbited earth 48 times in her space capsule, vostok 6. that was her only trip into space. tereshkova later toured the world to promote soviet science and became involved in soviet politics. early life valentina vladimirovna "valya" tereshkova was born on march 6, 1937, in maslennikovo, a village near the volga river about 170 miles (277 kilometers) northeast of moscow. her parents worked on a collective farm, and her father was killed during world war ii. valentina left school when she was 16 and worked at a textile factory, but continued her education through correspondence courses, according to the smithsonian air and space museum. tereshkova joined the factory's young communist league (komsomol) and soon advanced to the communist party. she became interested in parachute jumping after joining the yaroslavl air sports club. inspired by gagarin after yuri gagarin became the first man in space in 1961, tereshkova volunteered for the soviet space program. although she did not have any experience as a pilot, she was accepted into the program because of her 126 parachute jumps. at the time, cosmonauts had to parachute from their capsules seconds before they hit the ground on returning to earth. along with four other women, tereshkova received 18 months of training, which included tests to determine how she would react to long periods of tim...