Center for Astrophysics, Harvard and Smithsonian

It is expected that about 18 meteors per hour will light up the sky at the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower this year.

How to Watch the Spectacular Lyrid Meteor Shower

One of the oldest recorded annual showers, the Lyrids will peak on April 22

One-third of the world’s population can’t see the starry band of light in the night sky that makes up the Milky Way (above). The new show “Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky” at the National Museum of Natural History looks at the devastating impacts of artificial light.

Planet Positive

Why It’s Time for a Worldwide Lights-Out Program

A new Smithsonian exhibition delves into the issue of light pollution, with easy solutions offering an immediate change

A revolutionary new tool, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and NASA, will monitor the chemistry and changing dynamics of major pollutants (above: an Arizona power generating station).

This Eye in the Sky Promises Major Insights Into the Air We Breathe

The satellite mission TEMPO will detect pollutants at a neighborhood scale across the nation

This computer-generated image shows objects in Earth's orbit. The majority—around 95 percent—are bits of space junk.

Burning Space Junk Creates Mysterious Lights in California Sky

Bright streaks observed Friday were jettisoned equipment from the International Space Station re-entering Earth’s atmosphere

Astronomers and musicians have developed “sonifications” to bring the symphony of the cosmos to a wider audience.

What Does the Universe Sound Like?

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and other researchers have melded astronomy and music to offer a new oeuvre

How much advance warning would we have if a large comet were headed on a collision course with Earth?

How Much Warning Would We Have of an Earth-Shattering Comet? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

An enhanced-contrast image of Jupiter and its moon Ganymede taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in 2000.

Jupiter Reclaims Title of Planet With the Most Moons

After the discovery of 12 new moons, the gas giant now has 92 known natural satellites—and scientists expect to find more

Kepler-1658b was the first exoplanet discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope in 2009.

This Exoplanet Is Doomed to Be Obliterated by a Star

Kepler-1658b is slowly spiraling toward a fiery demise

An artist's impression of the nearby black hole and the star that hinted to its existence. 

Astronomers Discover Closest Known Black Hole to Earth

Researchers believe there may be even nearer ones that have yet to be detected

One reader wonders: Why do we see the Moon during the day and not the Sun at night?

Why Can We See the Moon During the Day? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

James Webb Space Telescope composite image of Jupiter 

See the James Webb Space Telescope’s Stunning New Images of Jupiter

Its Near-Infrared Camera captured auroras, moons and the Great Red Spot

The James Webb Space Telescope's first Deep Field image

NASA Releases First Breathtaking Images Taken by James Webb Space Telescope

The five pictures from the most powerful space observatory ever launched offer a deep look back in time and the promise of stellar things to come

China first sent giant pandas as a gift to the U.S. 50 years ago. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, who arrived in 2000, are on loan until the end of 2023. 

The Wide World of Smithsonian Scientific Research

With astonishing new discoveries in the cosmos and pivotal research much closer to home, Smithsonian science proves indispensable

The first-ever image of a black hole in the Milky Way

New Research

Here’s What the Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way Looks Like

A team of scientists from around the world collaborated to get a visual peek of the supermassive object

One reader wonders what graffiti was like before spray paint.

Ask Smithsonian

What Did Graffiti Look Like Before Spray Paint and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Webb’s 18 mirror segments can lock into the largest telescopic mirror humankind has ever built.

Future of Space Exploration

The Five Big Ways the James Webb Telescope Will Help Astronomers Understand the Universe

The highly awaited observatory is set to break new ground in many areas of astronomical research

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The Wonder of Avi Loeb

The physicist thinks we might have glimpsed evidence of an alien civilization. Despite controversy, he’s determined to find more

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

Ask Smithsonian

'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

Construction of multiple telescopes has begun on Saishiteng Mountain—near the town of Lenghu in the Qinghai province of China. The site could be China’s first major observatory, on par with those in Hawaii, Chile, and the Canary Islands.

Future of Space Exploration

Why the Tibetan Plateau Might Be the Ideal Spot for the Telescope of the Future

A team in China has identified a location that could give the Eastern Hemisphere its first major observatory

A new image of a powerful jet firing out of the black hole at the center of the radio galaxy Centaurus A, taken with the Event Horizon Telescope.

New Research

New Black Hole Image Shows Plasma Jets Blasting Into Space

Researchers say the new, detailed image of the black hole at the center of the Centaurus A galaxy could reveal how its jets formed

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