The end of the galaxy as we know it?
NASA illustration of the night sky prior to the Andromeda galaxy's predicted merger with the Milky Way which will begin in about 4 billion years.
May 31st, 2012
01:00 PM ET

The end of the galaxy as we know it?

Our Milky Way galaxy is an anomaly in more ways than one. And now, NASA scientists say they know exactly when it will come to an end.

In a universe that is forever spreading apart, the Milky Way has been moving closer to celestial neighbor the Andromeda galaxy. But whether we are in for intergalactic Armageddon or an extraterrestrial fender bender has been a mystery until now.

“Very interestingly, we find that Andromeda galaxy does appear to be coming straight at us,” said Roeland van der Marel, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. He was scheduled to speak at a NASA press conference Thursday.

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Filed under: Discoveries • News
'Manhattanhenge' attracts New York spectators
May 31st, 2012
11:42 AM ET

'Manhattanhenge' attracts New York spectators

Waiting to see a full sun floating on the horizon, New York spectators instead found the urban phenomenon of “Manhattanhenge” a bit underwhelming Wednesday night.

This unique event happens when the sun aligns perfectly with the Manhattan street grid. The sun creates a “radiant glow of light across Manhattan's brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid,” Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson, who named the semi-annual event, said on the planetarium's website.

Georgina Castanon tried to see “Manhattanhenge” on Tuesday, but clouds foiled the photo shoot. But Wednesday night, she and hundreds of other New Yorkers had a little more success.

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Filed under: News
May 31st, 2012
08:55 AM ET

First private capsule to dock at space station begins return flight to Earth

The first private capsule to dock at the International Space Station will return to Earth Thursday, nine days after it took off on its historic mission.

The capsule, known as Dragon, was released by the space station's robotic arm at 5:35 a.m. ET. A thruster burn a minute later pushed the spacecraft away from its host, according to SpaceX, the private company that built and operates the Dragon.

On Sunday, Dragon delivered to the space station more than 1,000 pounds of cargo, including food, clothing, computer equipment and supplies for science experiments and has been reloaded with everything from trash to scientific research and experimental samples.

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space

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