August 12th, 2011
12:21 PM ET

Cosmic Exclamation Point

"VV 340, also known as Arp 302, provides a textbook example of colliding galaxies seen in the early stages of their interaction. The edge-on galaxy near the top of the image is VV 340 North and the face-on galaxy at the bottom of the image is VV 340 South. Millions of years later these two spirals will merge - much like the Milky Way and Andromeda will likely do billions of years from now. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) are shown here along with optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue). VV 340 is located about 450 million light years from Earth."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
The darkest world known to man
An artist's conception of how TrES-2b, the darkest planet ever found, might look up close.
August 12th, 2011
10:10 AM ET

The darkest world known to man

Astronomers say they've uncovered the darkest world ever, a planet blacker than coal that absorbs 99% of the light its star sends its way.

TrES-2b is a Jupiter-sized gas giant orbiting a star 750 light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Draco.

Astronomers found out the dark truth about TrES-2b using data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft, a satellite telescope to survey our Milky Way galaxy in search of Earth-like planets.

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Filed under: Discoveries • News
August 12th, 2011
10:08 AM ET


Every Friday, @CNNLightYears will suggest interesting and exciting space and science Twitter accounts to follow.

Today, @CNNLightYears is giving a #FollowFriday to a few of our favorite go-to accounts for science news and discoveries.


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Filed under: FollowFriday • Voices
August 12th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Watch meteor show with NASA

The Perseid meteor shower will peak for the year overnight and NASA wants the viewing to be a shared online experience.

The space agency is hosting a live web chat beginning at 11 p.m. ET and lasting until 5 a.m. ET Saturday. Astronomers Bill Cooke, Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from the Marshall Space Flight Center will lead the chat.

While you're chatting, a camera on the Marshall Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will stream pictures of the night sky in search of meteors. NASA says because of a full moon, about 20 to 30 meteors an hour will be visible. Best viewing will be in the northern hemisphere.

The Perseids come from dust and debris left behind the Swift-Tuttle comet. Every August, Earth passes through the comet's debris cloud and the meteors visible are bits of that debris burning up in the atmosphere.

Watch with NASA
Watching the meteor shower? Share your story with iReport.

Filed under: In Space


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