The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), an intricate astronomical instrument the size of a small car can see planets a million times fainter than their parent stars. The technology is a step closer to finding a habitable planet beyond our solar system.
The Perseid meteor shower and its ilk provide the sodium atoms in the middle atmosphere that light up when astronomers tickle them with a laser – a key step in adaptive optics, which are used by ground-based observatories.
Trojan asteroid 2008 LC18 is orbiting in a fixed spot in Neptune's orbit where the gravitational pull of Neptune and the sun balance out. Its discovery may help shed light on questions about planetary formation.