The Brightest Galaxy Ever Discovered Shines Like 300 Trillion Suns

Using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), astronomers have catalogued 20 previously undetected galaxies that are so bright they belong to an entirely new class of objects, including one that releases 10,000 times more energy than the Milky Way — even though it’s smaller. » 5/22/15 3:00pm Yesterday 3:00pm

The Beautiful Art That Helped Inspire Space Travel

Chesley Bonestell was born long before the flight of the first airplane, and yet he’s well-known as the most influential people in aerospace art. The painter, designer and illustrator died the year of the Challenger disaster—1986—but not before witnessing humankind embrace space in much the way he’d dreamed. » 5/22/15 9:00am Yesterday 9:00am

A Weird New Supercooled Material Crystallizes and Glows When Touched

Perhaps you’re familiar with the strangeness of supercooled water: It stays liquid well below water’s freezing point until you give it a whack, and bam, it suddenly turns into solid ice. You’re probably less familiar diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) derivatives, which has similar but also odder properties. » 5/21/15 9:00pm Thursday 9:00pm

This Watery Graveyard Is the Resting Place for 161 Sunken Spaceships

In a remote stretch of the Pacific Ocean southeast of New Zealand, the broken remains of space stations and robotic freighters litter the ocean floor, four kilometers below the waves. The world’s space agencies call this region the South Pacific Ocean Uninhabited Area. But it’s also called the Spacecraft Cemetery. » 5/21/15 9:00am Thursday 9:00am

A Tiny Satellite With Enormous Solar Sails Is Orbiting Our Planet

It’s a good day for innovative space technology. The Planetary Society’s technology demonstration of solar sails to propel microsatellites hitched a ride into orbit with the launch of the secretive X-37B space plane. The LightSail project is testing solar sail technology for a mission in 2016.
» 5/21/15 1:00am Thursday 1:00am

The US Is Testing a Storm Surge Warning System for Hurricanes

The wall of wind-driven ocean that accompanies a hurricane is called a “surge” for a reason: This isn’t a gentle rising of the water level, it’s violent and destructive—sometimes more so than the hurricane’s winds. This hurricane season, for the first time, the National Hurricane Center will be testing a prototype… » 5/21/15 12:30am Thursday 12:30am

The Drought Will Put Major Strain On The Western U.S. Power Grid

Drought and extreme heat may significantly increase the risk of power shortages in the Western U.S. unless its utilities adopt “climate-proofing” measures, according to new research.
» 5/20/15 12:00pm Wednesday 12:00pm

There's a Meaning to the Horrible Noise the Emergency Alert System Makes

Anyone who’s listened to television or radio over the past five decades is intimately familiar with that horrible, chill-inducing noise of the Emergency Alert System. Aside from catching your attention, that nails-on-a-chalkboard screeching serves a useful purpose that calls back to the days of dial-up internet. » 5/20/15 12:00pm Wednesday 12:00pm

This Is How You Test A Tool Before Firing It Off Into Space

Spending more time in space requires the right tools for the job — and since these tools need to stand up outside the bounds of our own atmosphere, we have to make new tools.And of course, before they go up into space, they need to be tested. Here’s how — and where — they do it. » 5/20/15 12:00am Wednesday 12:00am

What the Hell Is the "Oh-My-God" Particle?

The Fly’s Eye was a crude cosmic ray detector perched on top a Utah mountain in the early 80s and 90s. It’s long obsolete now, but it’ll always have a place in astronomy history: On October, 15 1991, it detected something called the Oh-My-God particle, a cosmic ray going faster than astronomers thought possible. » 5/19/15 9:00pm Tuesday 9:00pm

Texas' Decade-Long Megadrought Put on Hold While Texas Floods

Remember a couple of years ago when Texas was in such a deep, seemingly-irreversible drought that experts trumpeted it as the next great megadrought, the likes of which would cause Texas to poof into a pile of dust by the end of the decade? The people currently wading through their living rooms remember. » 5/19/15 6:00pm Tuesday 6:00pm