Black holes are massive things. Supermassive black holes, found at the center of most spiral galaxies, are packed with hundreds of millions (if not billions) of times the mass of a star, yet they fit in relatively small spaces. The point is, they've all got lots of mass, but astronomers just found one that makes every other black hole ever seen look small.
Jupiter is a big planet. We live on a big planet, but Jupiter has 121.9 times the surface area of Earth. Jupiter is so big, in fact, that it's actually 2.5 times more massive than the rest of the planets in our solar system combined. Imagine that, now multiply it 13 times, and you've got a new planet that makes Jupiter look small.
It's an enduring puzzle that's had astronomers and astrophysicists scratching their heads for years: Why does the Earth tilt? Our planet orbits with at slight (7-degree) angle relative to the Sun, and we've never been able to figure out why, but now one scientist thinks he's got our planet's crooked spin solved.
Though they vary widely in other characteristics, we usually think of planets as having one unifying quality: they're all orbiting a star, right? Well ... apparently not. It seems there could be quite a few "orphan" worlds just floating out in space, and scientists think they just found one really close to Earth.
Like us, stars lose some energy and fade a bit as they age (at least until they explode), but one star, at the ripe old age of 40 million, has baffled scientists for two decades with its amazingly youthful appearance. Now, scientists think they've figured out the secret to the star's vitality.
Earth is pretty lucky when it comes to being missed by potentially deadly bits of space rock, but that's not the case with Jupiter. It's a much bigger target, and things that might go right by us tend to slam into it, most recently on Monday. And this time, someone got it on video.
Astronomy can be pretty tricky business. For one thing, all the stuff you're looking at is actually spread very far apart, and apparently sometimes a star will just flat out disappear on you. That's what happened to a team operating NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope, who discovered a 5,000-year-old pulsar in 2009 only to then lose track of it for the next three years.