Thousands of astronomers flocked to Washington, D.C., for the 215th American Astronomical Society meeting, a conference touted to be the largest gathering of space scientists in the universe on Jan. 3-7, 2010.
Welcome to SPACE.com?s coverage of the conference to discuss the latest discoveries of alien planets, black hole, dark matter and other oddities and cosmic wonders of the universe. SPACE.com Senior Writer Andrea Thompson and Staff Writer Clara Moskowitz covered the meeting live at the MarriottWardman Park.
Friday, Jan. 8
- Thank Your Dusty Stars For Our Existence We owe our existence to a star that exploded long, long ago. That's the conclusion of a study that aimed to solve the mystery of why our solar system is enriched in a rare form of oxygen.
Thursday, Jan. 7
- How Earth Survived Its Birth Just how Earth survived the process of its birth without suffering an early demise by falling into the sun has been something of a mystery to astronomers, but a new model has figured out what protected our planet when it was still a vulnerable, baby world.
- Distant Planet is Second Smallest Super-Earth A newly discovered planet light-years from Earth is just four times the mass of our home planet, making the second smallest extrasolar planet to be found to date.
- NASA Chief Calls for More International Cooperation in Space The United States must reach out to other countries to increase international cooperation in space, NASA chief Charles Bolden told an audience of astronomers this week.
Wednesday, Jan. 6
- Alien World a Volcanic Nightmare A rocky extrasolar planet known to have wild temperature extremes may also covered in volcanoes.
- Black Hole's Mysterious Eating Disorder Solved New X-ray images of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way have helped astronomers determine why that black hole is starving.
- Dark Halo Around Our Galaxy Looks Like Squished Beach Ball The Milky Way may look like a giant spiral in space, but in the world of invisible dark matter our galaxy is shaped like a giant, flattened beach ball, a new study has found.
Tuesday, Jan. 5
- Plenty of Solar Systems Like Ours Expected There's good news and bad news. The bad news is that solar systems like ours are in the minority in the Milky Way. The good news is that's still an awful lot of potential twins out there.
- Hubble Spies Most Distant, Early Galaxies Yet The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the deepest look into the universe yet, revealing some of the most distant, earliest galaxies to form after the Big Bang.
- Strange Spinning Stars Could Help Prove Einstein Prediction A newly discovered trove of strange spinning stars in our galaxy could help find evidence for Einstein's prediction of gravitational waves.
- Whole Life Cycle of Stars Revealed in New Image Recycled piles of stardust ? and the stars that suck them up and spit them out ? have been revealed in a new image of a dwarf galaxy near our own Milky Way.
Monday, Jan. 4
- Explosive Nearby Star Could Threaten Earth A massive, eruptive white dwarf star in the Milky Way ? long overdue for its next periodic eruption ? is closer to our solar system than previously thought and could threaten the Earth if it fully explodes millions of years from now.
- Kepler Planet-Hunting Mission Finds 5 New Lightweight Worlds The list of known exoplanets in the galaxy just got bigger, thanks to the first observations of NASA's Kepler space telescope, which found five new lightweight worlds orbiting distant stars.
- Black Holes Pair Up For Double Whammy What's worse than one giant black hole waiting to swallow up everything nearby? Try two supermassive black holes packing a galactic double whammy.
Sunday, Jan. 3
- Astronomers Flock to 'Largest Astronomy Meeting in the Universe' Astronomers are gathering in Washington, D.C. today for what is being billed as the largest astronomy meeting in the history of the universe.