Satellite swarms may outshine the night sky’s natural constellations

Fleets of private satellites orbiting Earth will be visible to the naked eye in the next few years, sometimes all night long.

Companies like SpaceX and Amazon have launched hundreds of satellites into low orbits since 2019, with plans to launch thousands more in the works — a trend that’s alarming astronomers. The goal of these satellite “mega-constellations” is to bring high-speed internet around the globe, but these bright objects threaten to disrupt astronomers’ ability to observe the cosmos (SN: 3/12/20). “For astronomers, this is kind of a pants-on-fire situation,” says radio astronomer Harvey Liszt of the National Radio Astronomical Observatory in Charlottesville, Va.

Now, a new simulation of the potential positions and brightness of these satellites shows that, contrary to earlier predictions, casual sky watchers will have their view disrupted, too. And parts of the world will be affected more than others, astronomer Samantha Lawler of the University of Regina in Canada and her colleagues report in a paper posted September 9 at

“How will this affect the way the sky looks to your eyeballs?” Lawler asks. “We humans have been looking up at the night sky and analyzing patterns there for as long as we’ve been human. It’s part of what makes us human.” These mega-constellations could mean “we’ll see a human-made pattern more than we can see the stars, for the first time in human history.”
Flat, smooth surfaces on satellites can reflect sunlight depending on their position in the sky. Earlier research had suggested that most of the new satellites would not be visible with the naked eye.

Lawler, along with Aaron Boley of the University of British Columbia and Hanno Rein of the University of Toronto at Scarborough in Canada, started building their simulation with public data about the launch plans of four companies — SpaceX’s Starlink, Amazon’s Kuiper, OneWeb and StarNet/GW — that had been filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the International Telecommunications Union. The filings detailed the expected orbital heights and angles of 65,000 satellites that could be launched over the next few years.

“It’s impossible to predict the future, but this is realistic,” says astronomer Meredith Rawls of the University of Washington in Seattle, who was not involved in the new study. “A lot of times when people make these simulations, they pick a number out of a hat. This really justifies the numbers that they pick.”

There are currently about 7,890 objects in Earth orbit, about half of which are operational satellites, according to the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs. But that number is increasing fast as companies launch more and more satellites (SN: 12/28/20). In August 2020, there were only about 2,890 operational satellites.

Next, the researchers computed how many satellites will be in the sky at different times of year, at different hours of the night and from different positions on Earth’s surface. They also estimated how bright the satellites were likely to be at different hours of the day and times of the year.

That calculation required a lot of assumptions because companies aren’t required to publish details about their satellites like the materials they’re made of or their precise shapes, both of which can affect reflectivity. But there are enough satellites in orbit that Lawler and colleagues could compare their simulated satellites to the light reflected down to Earth by the real ones.

The simulations showed that “the way the night sky is going to change will not affect all places equally,” Lawler says. The places where naked-eye stargazing will be most affected are at latitudes 50° N and 50° S, regions that cross lower Canada, much of Europe, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and the southern tips of Chile and Argentina, the researchers found.
“The geometry of sunlight in the summer means there will be hundreds of visible satellites all night long,” Lawler says. “It’s bad everywhere, but it’s worse there.” For her, this is personal: She lives at 50° N.

Closer to the equator, where many research observatories are located, there is a period of about three hours in the winter and near the time of the spring and fall equinoxes with few or no sunlit satellites visible. But there are still hundreds of sunlit satellites all night at these locations in the summer.

A few visible satellites can be a fun spectacle, Lawler concedes. “I think we really are at a transition point here where right now, seeing a satellite, or even a Starlink train, is cool and different and wow, that’s amazing,” she says. “I used to look up when the [International Space Station] was overhead.” But she compares the coming change to watching one car go down the road 100 years ago, versus living next to a busy freeway now.

“Every sixteenth star will actually be moving,” she says. “I hope I’m wrong. I’ve never wanted to be wrong about a simulation more than this. But without mitigation, this is what the sky will look like in a few years.”

Astronomers have been meeting with representatives from private companies, as well as space lawyers and government officials, to work out compromises and mitigation strategies. Companies have been testing ways to reduce reflectivity, like shading the satellites with a “visor.” Other proposed strategies include limiting the satellites to lower orbits, where they move faster across the sky and leave a fainter streak in telescope images. Counterintuitively, lower satellites may be better for some astronomy research, Rawls says. “They move out of the way quick.”

But that lower altitude strategy will mean more visible satellites for other parts of the world, and more that are visible to the naked eye. “There’s not some magical orbital altitude that solves all our problems,” Rawls says. “There are some latitudes on Earth where no matter what altitude you put your satellites at, they’re going to be all over the darn place. The only way out of this is fewer satellites.”

There are currently no regulations concerning how bright a satellite can be or how many satellites a private company can launch. Scientists are grateful that companies are willing to work with them, but nervous that their cooperation is voluntary.

“A lot of the people who work on satellites care about space. They’re in this industry because they think space is awesome,” Rawls says. “We share that, which helps. But it doesn’t fix it. I think we need to get some kind of regulation as soon as possible.” (Representatives from Starlink, Kuiper and OneWeb did not respond to requests for comment.)

Efforts are under way to bring the issue to the attention of the United Nations and to try to use existing environmental regulations to place limits on satellite launches, says study coauthor Boley (who also lives near 50° N).

Analogies to other global pollution problems, like space junk, can provide inspiration and precedents, he says. “There are a number of ways forward. We shouldn’t just lose hope. We can do things about this.”

A supernova’s delayed reappearance could pin down how fast the universe expands

A meandering trek taken by light from a remote supernova in the constellation Cetus may help researchers pin down how fast the universe expands — in another couple of decades.

About 10 billion years ago, a star exploded in a far-off galaxy named MRG-M0138. Some of the light from that explosion later encountered a gravitational lens, a cluster of galaxies whose gravity bent the light so that we see multiple images. In 2016, the supernova appeared in Earth’s sky as three distinct points of light, each marking three different paths the light took to get here.

Now, researchers predict that the supernova will appear again in the late 2030s. The time delay — the longest ever seen from a gravitationally lensed supernova — could provide a more precise estimate for the distance to the supernova’s host galaxy, the team reports September 13 in Nature Astronomy. And that, in turn, may let astronomers refine estimates of the Hubble constant, the parameter that describes how fast the universe expands.

The original three points of light appeared in images from the Hubble Space Telescope. “It was purely an accident,” says astronomer Steve Rodney of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Three years later, when Hubble reobserved the galaxy, astronomer Gabriel Brammer at the University of Copenhagen discovered that all three points of light had vanished, indicating a supernova.
By calculating how the intervening cluster’s gravity alters the path the supernova’s light rays take, Rodney and his colleagues predict that the supernova will appear again in 2037, give or take a couple of years. Around that time, Hubble may burn up in the atmosphere, so Rodney’s team dubs the supernova “SN Requiem.”

“It’s a requiem for a dying star and a sort of elegy to the Hubble Space Telescope itself,” Rodney says. A fifth point of light, too faint to be seen, may also arrive around 2042, the team calculates.、
The predicted 21-year time delay — from 2016 to 2037 — is a record for a supernova. In contrast, the first gravitational lens ever found — twin images of a quasar spotted in 1979 — has a time delay of only 1.1 years (SN: 11/10/1979).

Not everyone agrees with Rodney’s forecast. “It is very difficult to predict what the time delay will be,” says Rudolph Schild, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., who was the first to measure the double quasar’s time delay. The distribution of dark matter in the galaxy hosting the supernova and the cluster splitting the supernova’s light is so uncertain, Schild says, that the next image of SN Requiem could come outside the years Rodney’s team has specified.

In any case, when the supernova image does appear, “that would be a phenomenally precise measurement” of the time delay, says Patrick Kelly, an astronomer at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who was not involved with the new work. That’s because the uncertainty in the time delay will be tiny compared with the tremendous length of the time delay itself.

That delay, coupled with an accurate description of how light rays weave through the galaxy cluster, could affect the debate over the Hubble constant. Numerically, the Hubble constant is the speed a distant galaxy recedes from us divided by the distance to that galaxy. For a given galaxy with a known speed, a larger estimated distance therefore leads to a lower number for the Hubble constant.

This number was once in dispute by a factor of two. Today the range is much tighter, from 67 to 73 kilometers per second per megaparsec. But that spread still leaves the universe’s age uncertain. The frequently quoted age of 13.8 billion years corresponds to a Hubble constant of 67.4. But if the Hubble constant is higher, then the universe could be about a billion years younger.

The longer it takes for SN Requiem to reappear, the farther from Earth the host galaxy is — which means a lower Hubble constant and an older universe. So if the debate over the Hubble constant persists into the 2030s, the exact date the supernova springs back to life could help resolve the dispute and nail down a fundamental cosmological parameter.

NASA’s Perseverance rover snagged its first Martian rock samples

The Perseverance rover has captured its first two slices of Mars.

NASA’s latest Mars rover drilled into a flat rock nicknamed Rochette on September 1 and filled a roughly finger-sized tube with stone. The sample is the first ever destined to be sent back to Earth for further study. On September 7, the rover snagged a second sample from the same rock. Both are now stored in airtight tubes inside the rover’s body.

Getting pairs of samples from every rock it drills is “a little bit of an insurance policy,” says deputy project scientist Katie Stack Morgan of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif. It means the rover can drop identical stores of samples in two different places, boosting chances that a future mission will be able to pick up at least one set.

The successful drilling is a comeback story for Perseverance. The rover’s first attempt to take a bit of Mars ended with the sample crumbling to dust, leaving an empty tube (SN: 8/19/21). Scientists think that rock was too soft to hold up to the drill.
Nevertheless, the rover persevered.

“Even though some of its rocks are not, Mars is hard,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, in a September 10 news briefing.

Rochette is a hard rock that appears to have been less severely eroded by millennia of Martian weather (SN: 7/14/20). (Fun fact: All the rocks Perseverance drills into will get names related to national parks; the region on Mars the rover is now exploring is called Mercantour, so the name Rochette — or “Little Rock” — comes from a village in France near Mercantour National Park.)

Rover measurements of the rock’s texture and chemistry suggests that it’s made of basalt and may have been part of an ancient lava flow. That’s useful because volcanic rocks preserve their ages well, Stack Morgan says. When scientists on Earth get their hands on the sample, they’ll be able to use the concentrations of certain elements and isotopes to figure out exactly how old the rock is — something that’s never been done for a pristine Martian rock.

Rochette also contains salt minerals that probably formed when the rock interacted with water over long time periods. That could suggest groundwater moving through the Martian subsurface, maybe creating habitable environments within the rocks, Stack Morgan says.

“It really feels like this rich treasure trove of information for when we get this sample back,” Stack Morgan says.

Once a future mission brings the rocks back to Earth, scientists can search inside those salts for tiny fluid bubbles that might be trapped there. “That would give us a glimpse of Jezero crater at the time when it was wet and was able to sustain ancient Martian life,” said planetary scientist Yulia Goreva of JPL at the news briefing.

Scientists will have to be patient, though — the earliest any samples will make it back to Earth is 2031. But it’s still a historic milestone, says planetary scientist Meenakshi Wadhwa of Arizona State University in Tempe.

“These represent the beginning of Mars sample return,” said Wadhwa said at the news briefing. “I’ve dreamed of having samples back from Mars to analyze in my lab since I was a graduate student. We’ve talked about Mars sample return for decades. Now it’s starting to actually feel real.”

Astronomers may have seen a star gulp down a black hole and explode

For the first time, astronomers have captured solid evidence of a rare double cosmic cannibalism — a star swallowing a compact object such as a black hole or neutron star. In turn, that object gobbled the star’s core, causing it to explode and leave behind only a black hole.

The first hints of the gruesome event, described in the Sept. 3 Science, came from the Very Large Array (VLA), a radio telescope consisting of 27 enormous dishes in the New Mexican desert near Socorro. During the observatory’s scans of the night sky in 2017, a burst of radio energy as bright as the brightest exploding star — or supernova — as seen from Earth appeared in a dwarf star–forming galaxy approximately 500 million light-years away.

“We thought, ‘Whoa, this is interesting,’” says Dillon Dong, an astronomer at Caltech.

He and his colleagues made follow-up observations of the galaxy using the VLA and one of the telescopes at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, which sees in the same optical light as our eyes. The Keck telescope caught a luminous outflow of material spewing in all directions at 3.2 million kilometers per hour from a central location, suggesting that an energetic explosion had occurred there in the past.
The team then found an extremely bright X-ray source in archival data from the Monitor of All Sky X-ray Image (MAXI) telescope, a Japanese instrument that sits on the International Space Station. This X-ray burst was in the same place as the radio one but had been observed back in 2014.

Piecing the data together, Dong and his colleagues think this is what happened: Long ago, a binary pair of stars were born orbiting each other; one died in a spectacular supernova and became either a neutron star or a black hole. As gravity brought the two objects closer together, the dead star actually entered the outer layers of its larger stellar sibling.

The compact object spiraled inside the still-living star for hundreds of years, eventually making its way down to and then eating its partner’s core. During this time, the larger star shed huge amounts of gas and dust, forming a shell of material around the duo.

In the living star’s center, gravitational forces and complex magnetic interactions from the dead star’s munching launched enormous jets of energy — picked up as an X-ray flash in 2014 — as well as causing the larger star to explode. Debris from the detonation smashed with colossal speed into the surrounding shell of material, generating the optical and radio light.

While theorists have previously envisioned such a scenario, dubbed a merger-triggered core collapse supernova, this appears to represent the first direct observation of this phenomenon, Dong says.

“They’ve done some pretty good detective work using these observations,” says Adam Burrows, an astrophysicist at Princeton University who was not involved in the new study. He says the findings should help constrain the timing of a process called common envelope evolution, in which one star becomes immersed inside another. Such stages in stars’ lives are relatively short-lived in cosmic time and difficult to both observe and simulate. Most of the time, the engulfing partner dies before its core is consumed, leading to two compact objects like white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes orbiting one another.

The final stages of these systems are exactly what observatories like the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, detect when capturing spacetime’s ripples, Dong says (SN: 8/4/21). Now that astronomers know to look for these multiple lines of evidence, he expects them to find more examples of this strange phenomenon.

'Fire Nagy' chants take over Chicago after Bears' latest loss, including at Matt Nagy's son's football game

The "Fire Nagy" chants can be heard all over Chicago, from Soldier Field all the way to Matt Nagy's son's football games.

The Bears have now lost five straight games, and fans are frustrated, to say the least. They have aimed their anger at the 43-year-old head coach, who has found himself in the middle of the majority of Bears-related drama this season.
After Sunday's 16-13 loss to the Ravens, the Soldier Field crowd broke out into "Fire Nagy" chants. Then, on Monday night at the Bulls vs. Pacers game at the United Center, "Fire Nagy" chants could be heard. Then, on Tuesday, video surfaced showing that "Fire Nagy" chants took over his own son's football game on Saturday night.
Nagy's son plays football for Lake Forest High School in a Chicago suburb. Lake Forest played Cary-Grove High School on Saturday, and Cary-Grove captured a blowout victory, which prompted the Cary-Grove student section to start yelling "Fire Nagy."
Cary-Grove principal Neil Lesinski posted an apology on Twitter on Tuesday morning. His full statement:
It doesn't seem like the "Fire Nagy" chants will be going anywhere if the Bears continue to lose. They have a chance to get their fourth win of the season on Thanksgiving when they play the 0-9-1 Lions.

On Tuesday, there was a rumor circulating that Nagy's last game as coach would be against the Lions on Thursday. Nagy addressed these rumors with the media on Tuesday, claiming that they are "not accurate."

James Franklin contract details: Penn State ends LSU, USC rumors with new 10-year extension

One of the hottest names in college football coaching searches is officially off the market.

Penn State's James Franklin agreed to a deal Tuesday that will keep him at the school for the next 10 years, until 2031. Franklin is in his eighth season leading the Nittany Lions.
Franklin had been linked to numerous open coaching gigs, most notably USC and LSU, despite Penn State's relative struggles this season.

However, the 49-year-old who has described Penn State as a "dream job," has also reaffirmed his commitment and loyalty to the program in recent weeks, as well.

"Penn State's future is bright, and I'm honored to continue to serve as your head football coach," Franklin said in a statement. "Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program. This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State."

The Nittany Lions are 7-4 this year and 67-32 in Franklin's tenure in Happy Valley, with a game against Michigan State in East Lansing set for Saturday.

Here's everything to know about Franklin's contract extension, plus how it came together.

James Franklin contract details, salary
For much of his time at Penn State, Franklin has been one of the highest paid coaches in both the Big Ten and NCAA, with his $7 million annual salary ranking in the top 10.

Franklin will once again be guaranteed $7 million annually according to the terms released by Penn State, plus up to an additional $1 million per year based on certain incentives and bonuses.

Among the incentives and bonuses Franklin will be eligible for are an additional $350,000 to win the Big Ten title, $300,000 for a New Years' Six bowl and $100,000 if he's named Big Ten Coach of the Year. The full terms of the contract can be found here.

Notably, Franklin's buyout if he chooses to leave Penn State for another college or an NFL gig is $12 million if he leaves before April 1, 2022. It then drops to $8 million if he stays until Dec. 31, 2022 before dropping to $6 million after 2023, $2 million after 2024-25 and ultimately dropping to just $1 million per year from 2026-2031.

Why did James Franklin sign an extension with Penn State?
A native of Langhorne, Pa. and a former Division II quarterback at East Stroudsburg, Franklin has long made his love of Penn State known, calling it his "dream job," when he was hired in 2014.

Penn State has routinely been a 9-11 win team during Franklin's tenure in State College and even won a Big Ten title in 2016. But the Nittany Lions have struggled to keep pace with the likes of Ohio State, Alabama and Clemson during that time as well in recruiting, facilities, NIL deals, on-the-field results and more.

But that seems primed to change, and that's the biggest reason why Franklin says he opted to stay at Penn State.

"We've been able to create a roadmap of the resources needed to address academic support, community outreach, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), facility improvements, student-athlete housing, technology upgrades, recruiting, training table and more," Franklin said.

"This renewed commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans reinforces all the reasons I've been proud to serve as your head football coach for the last eight years and why my commitment to Penn State remains steadfast

James Franklin's record at Penn State
Franklin's seemed to win everywhere he's gone. Granted, he only had one stop as a head coach prior to arriving at Penn State, but even as an assistant, Franklin was on successful teams.

His first head coaching gig came at Vanderbilt in 2011, a school which had won just two games the year before and had only been to three bowl games in the 100-plus years of history prior to Franklin's arrival.

He immediately turned around the Commodores program, going 6-7 and reaching a bowl game in his first year before rattling off two 9-4 seasons in a row, culminating in Vanderbilt ending the season ranked in both seasons, something which hadn't happened since 1948. He finished his tenure in Nashville with a record of 24-15.

Franklin then came to Penn State in 2014 where he's gone 67-32 as he gets ready to coach his 100th game with the Nittany Lions. The high point of his tenure thus far was in 2016 when the Nittany Lions won the Big Ten title and finished the season ranked No. 7 and led Penn State to 11 wins in three out of four years from 2016-19.

One of just 13 Black coaches currently at the FBS level, Franklin is among the winningest in that category. His 91 career FBS wins place him third all-time behind former Houston and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin (95 career wins) and Stanford's David Shaw (93 career wins) for most wins by a Black FBS coach.

College Football Playoff rankings: Who are the top four teams in fourth CFP poll of 2021?

Two more top-10 teams in contention for the College Football Playoff lost on Saturday, creating yet more work for the selection committee. Well, sort of.

While the committee was forced to reshuffle the rankings after the losses of No. 3 Oregon (38-7 to No. 23 Utah) and No. 7 Michigan State (56-7 to No. 4 Ohio State), those outcomes actually created a more streamlined top 25 in the final weeks of the season.
The selection committee no longer has to explain why No. 6 Michigan ranked ahead of Michigan State, despite the Spartans' head-to-head victory over the Wolverines. Nor do they need to worry about where to rank Oregon, which beat Ohio State in Week 2, well before the Buckeyes' resurgence. The only actual problem created from Saturday's slate of games wasn't even a problem at all: Where to rank Alabama in relation to Ohio State.

The committee chose to push the Buckeyes ahead of the Crimson Tide in the latest rankings. That decision ultimately won't matter, considering Alabama must face No. 1 Georgia in the SEC championship game. A win there would give Nick Saban and Co. the top overall seed. A loss would eliminate the Tide from championship contention.

The committee will pay close attention to "The Game" and Bedlam in Week 13, two rivalry games that feature 10-1 opponents in Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. That will further clear up the playoff picture, the final rankings for which are quickly approaching.

With that, here are the top 25 teams in the latest CFP rankings:
College Football Playoff rankings 2021
Who are the top four CFP teams of fourth CFP poll of 2021?
Ranking Team Record
1 Georgia 11-0
2 Ohio State 10-1
3 Alabama 10-1
4 Cincinnati 11-0
Who are the first two teams out of fourth CFP poll of 2021?
Ranking Team Record
5 Michigan 10-1
6 Notre Dame 10-1
CFP top 25 rankings from fourth CFP poll of 2021
Rank Team Record
1 Georgia 11-0
2 Ohio State 10-1
3 Alabama 10-1
4 Cincinnati 11-0
5 Michigan 10-1
6 Notre Dame 10-1
7 Oklahoma State 10-1
8 Baylor 9-2
9 Ole Miss 9-2
10 Oklahoma 10-1
11 Oregon 9-2
12 Michigan State 9-2
13 BYU 9-2
14 Wisconsin 8-3
15 Texas A&M 8-3
16 Iowa 9-2
17 Pittsburgh 9-2
18 Wake Forest 9-2
19 Utah 8-3
20 NC State 8-3
21 San Diego State 10-1
22 UTSA 11-0
23 Clemson 8-3
24 Houston 10-1
25 Arkansas 7-4

UEFA Champions League draw: Date, teams qualified, seeds, rules for Round of 16

The complete field of 16 teams that will advance to the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League knockout rounds has not yet been finalized, but we already have several clubs that have booked their spots.

European giants Liverpool, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Juventus were the first four teams to clinch on Matchday 4 of the group stage, while Manchester United and Chelsea joined them on Matchday 5.
Only the top two teams in each group advance, and there's incentive to win the group when it comes to the Round of 16 draw on Monday, Dec. 13. The first-place team from each group will be seeded, and their Round of 16 opponent will be drawn from a pot of the second-place finishers.

Champions League Round of 16 qualifiers
Group 1st Place 2nd Place
Grp A — —
Grp B Liverpool —
Grp C Ajax —
Grp D — —
Grp E Bayern Munich —
Grp F Manchester United —
Grp G — —
Grp H Chelsea / Juventus Chelsea / Juventus
When is the Champions League Round of 16 draw?
The Round of 16 draw will be held on Dec. 13 at 6 a.m. ET from the UEFA headquarters in Switzerland. It will be streamed by

The eight group winners will be seeded for purposes of the draw. They will make up one pot, while the other pot will contain the runners-up from each group.

The two key details to remember for this Round of 16 draw:

Teams from the same country cannot be drawn against one another (see table below);
The group winners (i.e. seeded teams) will host the second leg of each Round of 16 series. This is perceived to be an advantage because, if an extra-time session or penalty-kick shootout is needed, it would happen on home soil.
Knockout round qualifiers by country
Nation Total Clubs Clubs
England 3 Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United
Germany 1 Bayern Munich
Italy 1 Juventus
Netherlands 1 Ajax Amsterdam
The two legs of the Round of 16 will be spread over eight days between February and March. The second leg of each series will take place three weeks after the first leg.

The eight teams left standing will participate in a quarterfinal draw on March 18, 2022, which will determine the rest of the Champions League bracket through the final in Saint Petersburg on May 28. There are no seedings involved in this draw, and unlike the Round of 16, teams from the same country can be drawn against one another.

Champions League Round of 16 schedule
Round of 16, 1st Legs
Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Feb. 15 Round of 16 #1 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Feb. 15 Round of 16 #2 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Feb. 16 Round of 16 #3 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Feb. 16 Round of 16 #4 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Feb. 22 Round of 16 #5 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Feb. 22 Round of 16 #6 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Feb. 23 Round of 16 #7 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Feb. 23 Round of 16 #8 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Round of 16, 2nd Legs
Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
March 8 Round of 16 #1 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
March 8 Round of 16 #2 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
March 9 Round of 16 #3 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
March 9 Round of 16 #4 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
March 15 Round of 16 #5 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
March 15 Round of 16 #6 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
March 16 Round of 16 #7 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
March 16 Round of 16 #8 3 p.m. TBD fuboTV, Paramount+
Who will win the UEFA Champions League 2021-22?
As the tournament progresses, the oddsmakers are constantly adjusting the future prices for each team when it comes to winning the Champions League. Here are the latests odds courtesy of U.S.-based DraftKings (asterisk denotes teams that have already qualified for the Round of 16):

Champions League outright winner odds
Team Nov. 23
Manchester City +300
Bayern Munich* +350
PSG +500
Liverpool* +550
Chelsea* +600
Manchester United* +1200
Ajax* +2000
Real Madrid +2200
Atletico Madrid +3500
Juventus* +3500
Inter Milan +5000
B. Dortmund +5000
Barcelona +5000
Atalanta +10000
Porto +15000
Benfica +15000
Villarreal +15000
RB Salzburg +15000
Sevilla +20000
Wolfsburg +30000
Lille +50000
Club Brugge +80000
Sporting CP +100000
UEFA Champions League 2021-2022: Tournament format
The 2021-2022 edition of the UEFA Champions League features a familiar format — and one massive new twist.

As usual, the tournament started out with a group stage (eight groups of four teams each), and only the top two finishers in each group advance to the Round of 16 that kicks off in February 2022. Two-leg, aggregate-goal knockout rounds are played the rest of the way through to the single game final that will be held in Russia on May 28, 2022.

Group Stage: Sept. 14-15, Sept. 28-29, Oct. 19-20, Nov. 2-3, Nov. 23-24, Dec. 7-8
Round of 16: Feb. 15-16, March 8-9 / Feb. 22-23, March 15-16
Quarterfinals: April 5-6, April 12-13
Semifinals: April 26-27, May 3-4
Final: May 28, 2022 (St. Petersburg, Russia)
No away goals tiebreaker in Champions League
Here's that twist: For the first time since 1965, there will be no away goals tiebreaker used in the knockout rounds of UEFA competitions, including the Champions League, after it was abolished in June 2021.

Series that are tied on aggregate goals after the conclusion of the second leg will go straight to extra time and, if necessary, a penalty-kick shootout.

How to watch the UEFA Champions League
The 2021-22 UEFA Champions League will be carried in the United States by CBS (English) and Univision (Spanish) across a number of TV and streaming platforms.

CBS Sports will have live pregame, halftime and postgame studio shows, which will air on CBS Sports Network and stream on Paramount+. Also back this year is the RedZone-like whip-around show called "The Golazo Show," also on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+, with all the goals and best chances from the concurrent matches.

Univision will mirror that coverage with its own pregame and postgame shows. Its whip-around show is called "Zona Fútbol."

Nearly every Champions League match is available to be streamed on fuboTV, which offers a free seven-day trial to new subscribers. The streaming platform carries all the Univision family of channels: Univision, TUDN, UniMas, Galavision and TUDNxtra.

Univision will stream select matches on its ad-supported platform PrendeTV, which is available free of charge across mobile and connected TV devices, Amazon Fire TV, Apple (iOS and tvOS), Google (Android phones and TV devices), Roku, and via the web on

Fantasy QB Rankings Week 12: Who to start, sit at quarterback in fantasy football

Those who spent up on Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray will be without their studs as the Chiefs and Cardinals take the week off. Of course, Murray owners are used to that, but hopefully that will change after his bye. This week also features three Thursday games, so your start 'em, sit 'emi decisions will feel a little more rushed. Winning the week starts with deciding who to start at quarterback, and our Week 12 fantasy QB rankings can help you makes those tough start 'em, sit 'em decisions.

We mentioned Murray and Mahomes are out, but season-long stud Matthew Stafford (@ Packers) and popular streaming option Teddy Bridgewater (vs. Chargers) are back in action after their byes. For those Mahomes and Murray owners, we'll admit it's not a very deep week for streamers, but there are just enough options to get by. Again, Murray owners are used to this routine, so they should have a decent backup. 

Stafford, along with Aaron Rodgers (vs. Rams), Justin Herbert (@ Broncos), and Joe Burrow (vs. Steelers), headline the "studs with tough matchups" category, but again, it's not the greatest week for streamers, so they all remain QB1s in our rankings.
The best streamers include Mac Jones (vs. Titans), Cam Newton (@ Dolphins), Trevor Lawrence (vs. Falcons), and Justin Fields (@ Lions). Matt Ryan (@ Jaguars) is over 50-percent owned, but if you consider him a streamer, he's in play, too. Those QBs either play teams that are downright awful against the pass statistically or bottom-dwellers that haven't forced many pass-happy game scripts. So, yes, we're counting on three rookies, a guy who was just signed off the street a few weeks ago, and a boom-or-bust veteran. What else did you expect at this point in the season? Also, he's not a streamer at this point either, but start Carson Wentz (vs. Buccaneers). The matchup and game script should set him up for a nice fantasy day.

On the other side of the start-or-sit bubble, we're out on Ryan Tannehill (@ Patriots), Daniel Jones (vs. Eagles), Tua Tagovailoa (@ Panthers), and Teddy Bridgewater (vs. Chargers). These guys have been mentioned several times by us on the "start" side of the conversation, but the matchups just aren't favorable enough to tout them as viable considerations this week. They're looking at some top defenses against fantasy QBs, so we'd opt to play the guys listed above. If you're forced to start one of the three, Jones has the highest upside because of his rushing ability.

This week isn't quite as disastrous of a week as we thought it could be in the preseason, so you can survive. This is the last week with two elite fantasy QBs out of commission, so there should be less competition for streamers going forward. Still, you have to stay on top of everything. We saw last Sunday with Lamar Jackson's surprise scratch that injuries and illnesses can strike with little warning, so always have a plan going into a week.

Note: We'll be updating these QB rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest player movement and analysis.

Fantasy QB Rankings Week 12: Who to start at quarterback
Rankings are based on standard, four-point passing TD formats.

Rank Player
1 Russell Wilson, SEA @ WAS
2 Josh Allen, BUF @ NO
3 Tom Brady, TB @ IND
4 Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. CLE
5 Dak Prescott, DAL vs. LV
6 Jalen Hurts, PHI @ NYG
7 Matthew Stafford, LAR @ GB
8 Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. LAR
9 Carson Wentz, IND vs. TB
10 Joe Burrow, CIN vs. PIT
11 Justin Herbert, LAC @ DEN
12 Mac Jones, NE vs. TEN
13 Derek Carr, LV @ DAL
14 Cam Newton, CAR @ MIA
15 Kirk Cousins, MIN @ SF
16 Matt Ryan, ATL @ JAX
17 Tyrod Taylor, HOU vs. NYJ
18 Trevor Lawrence, JAX vs. ATL
19 Justin Fields, CHI @ DET
20 Daniel Jones, NYG vs. PHI
21 Jimmy Garoppolo, SF vs. MIN
22 Ryan Tannehill, TEN @ NE
23 Tua Tagovailoa, MIA vs. CAR
24 Teddy Bridgewater, DEN vs. LAC
25 Taylor Heinicke, WAS vs. SEA
26 Baker Mayfield, CLE @ BAL
27 Joe Flacco, NYJ @ HOU
28 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @ CIN
29 Trevor Siemian, NO vs. BUF
30 Tim Boyle, DET vs. CHI

Steelers vs. Chargers final score, results: Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams power Chargers to late win over Steelers

The Chargers got outscored 27-14 in the fourth quarter on Sunday as Pittsburgh mounted a late comeback, but ultimately it wasn't enough for the Steelers, as Los Angeles won 41-37 after Justin Herbert hit Mike Williams for a 53-yard touchdown with 2:09 left to ice the game.

Herbert, along with running back Austin Ekeler out of the backfield, both did a bit of everything on offense. Herbert threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns while running for another 90. Ekeler, meanwhile, tallied four touchdowns — two rushing and two receiving — as he totaled 115 total yards.
The Chargers were 7-of-12 on third down, averaged 7.7 yards per play and amassed 533 yards of total offense. But it was two key plays late in the fourth quarter — a blocked punt and an interception by Justin Herbert — that allowed the Steelers to make a late comeback and even take the late lead for a short time.

Pittsburgh's offense flowed through Ben Roethlisberger, who turned in a three touchdown game as the ground game was sporadic at best, with Pittsburgh averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. Star rookie running back Najee Harris also missed much of the fourth quarter after being evaluated for a concussion. He was ultimately cleared to return on what wound up being Pittsburgh's final drive.

The win for Los Angeles improves its record to 6-4 and snaps a two-game home losing streak. They're now tied with Kansas City atop the AFC West with a game at Denver looming. Pittsburgh's loss drops it to 5-4-1, the Steelers' first loss since Oct. 3. They travel to Cincinnati next week to take on their fellow AFC North foes the Bengals.
Sporting News is tracked the live score, updates and highlights from 'Sunday Night Football.' Below is complete coverage.
Steelers vs. Chargers score
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 F
Steelers 3 7 0 27 37
Chargers 7 10 10 14 41
Steelers vs. Chargers updates, highlights
Final: Chargers 41, Steelers 37
11:35 p.m.: It's now fourth-and-32 from the 3 and the Steelers turn it over on downs and the Chargers take over with 1:15 left and will kneel it out here to end the game.

11:33 p.m.: Roethlisberger is dropped for 11 yards on second down after Joey Bosa gets the sack. Third-and-29 for the Steelers from their own 6.

11:31 p.m.: Roethlisberger is sacked on first down to bring up second-and-18 and the two-minute warning.

11:31 p.m.: Najee Harris clears concussion protocols and is back on the field for the Steelers for this drive. They start at their 25 with 2:09 left.

11:28 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN CHARGERS. Herbert hits Mike Williams for 53 yards and a score, Williams' first in a month. Chargers 41, Steelers 37 with 2:09 left as Pittsburgh needs a touchdown to win it with just one timeout left.
11:25 p.m.: FIELD GOAL STEELERS. The Steelers retake the lead as Boswell nails the 45-yarder with 3:24 left as Pittsburgh has come back from down 17 to tie it up. Pittsburgh 37, Los Angeles 34 with 3:24 remaining.

11:24 p.m.: Roethlisberger's pass falls incomplete and it brings up fourth-and-3 with Boswell slated to come on and kick the 45-yard field goal.

11:23 p.m.: The Steelers call their second timeout with 3:34 left. Third-and-3 from the 27 for the Steelers.

11:21 p.m.: Staley's gamble doesn't pay off as Ekeler is stuffed at the line. The Chargers turn it over on downs and Pittsburgh takes over at the LA 34.
11:20 p.m.: On third-and-14, Herbert to Jared Cook for 13 yards and Brandon Staley keeps the offense on the field on fourth-and-inches.

11:19 p.m.: Following the touchdown, it's almost immediately third-and-14 after Herbert is sacked. Pittsburgh calls its first timeout.

11:16 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN STEELERS. Roethlisberger hits Pat Freiermuth from 5 yards out on second-and-goal to tie it up with 4:23 left. Steelers 34, Chargers 34 with just over four minutes remaining.
11:15 p.m.: LA's Joey Bosa gets hit for a roughing the passer call and it sets up first-and-goal for the Steelers from the 5.

11:13 p.m.: INTERCEPTION STEELERS. Justin Herbert's pass is tipped but picked off and returned to the 11 yard line. First-and-10 for the Steelers who are looking to tie it up.
11:09 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN STEELERS. The Steelers make it a one-score game with 4:49 left after Roethlisberger finds Ebron again. Chargers 34, Steelers 27.
11:07 p.m.: Roethlisberger hits Ebron again for 9 yards and the Steelers are inside the red zone and showing signs of late life.

11:06 p.m.: Diontae Johnson hauls it in for 32 yards on the catch-and-run to put the Steelers at the LA 27 following the third-and-5.

11:05 p.m.: Harris heads to medical tent as It's now third-and-5 following the incompletion. 6:40 remaining in the game with Pittsburgh down two scores.

11:02 p.m.: On the first down play, Roethlisberger completes it to Harris for 5 yards, but Harris is down injured on the play. It'll be second-and-5 from Pittsburgh's own 41.
10:55 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN CHARGERS. Austin Ekeler notches his fourth touchdown of the game and has two rushing and two receiving touchdowns apiece. Now a two-score game with 8:38 left. Chargers 34, Steelers 20.
10:53 p.m.: Herbert's impressive ground game continues. He's up to 93 yards rushing after a 36 yard run on third-and-5. Tack on an unneccessary roughness penalty and it's first-and-goal from the 4.

10:47 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN STEELERS. This time the Steelers have no problem punching it in from short yardage as Najee Harris leaps over the pile for the score. Chargers 27, Steelers 20 with 11:35 left in the game.
10:44 p.m.: The Steelers are quickly looking at fourth-and-goal from the 5 and it's batted down but there's a penalty in the endzone for defensive pass interference. Now first-and-goal from the 1 for Pittsburgh.

10:40 p.m.: The Chargers punt It away from their 32 and it's blocked as the ball rolls out of bounds at the 3 yard line. First-and-goal for the Steelers upcoming.
10:34 p.m.: FIELD GOAL STEELERS. Boswell splits the uprights again, this time from 36 yards out. Chargers 27, Steelers 13 with 14:10 left in the game.

10:33 p.m.: It's third down again for the Steelers, this time from the Chargers' 20 but the pass gets batted away. The field goal unit comes out for Mike Tomlin.

End third quarter: Chargers 27, Steelers 10
10:28 p.m.: The Steelers are looking to convert on third down following the field goal and they do as Roethlisberger finds Najee Harris out of the backfield. Now first-and-10 from the Chargers 25 as Roethlisberger. hits Eric Ebron for 1 yard to end the third quarter.

10:22 p.m.: FIELD GOAL CHARGERS. Hopkins nails the 41-yarder and Los Angeles increases its lead with 3:40 left in the quarter. Chargers 27, Steelers 10,

10:21 p.m.: It's now fourth-and-8 and the Chargers move up 5 yards after the Steelers jump offsides as Hopkins lines up for a 41-yarder.

10:20 p.m.: It's now third-and-13 from the Steelers 28 but the Chargers can't convert. Brandon Staley brings out the field goal unit.

10:17 p.m.: Herbert takes off and runs again, this time on third down and he converts. The Chargers are 5-for-6 on third down so far and Herbert has five carries for 57 yards and is the team's leading rusher.

10:15 p.m.: The Chargers are quickly near midfield to the their own 42 where they'll be faced with first-and-20 following a holding penalty.

10:09 p.m.: The Steelers go three-and-out on their first drive to open the quarter. They punt it away and the Chargers take over at their 26.

10:04 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN CHARGERS. Austin Ekeler's monster day continues. He peels off a 12-yard run and then hauls in a 17-yard touchdown pass. It's his third touchdown of the game. Chargers 24, Steelers 10 with just under 12 minutes left in the third.
10:03 p.m.: Herbert goes to Allen again for 14 yards and the Chargers are in the red zone.

10:01 p.m.: This time Herbert has no problem hitting Allen. The two connect for 30 yards for an easy third-down conversion. Chargers now on the Steelers 43.

9:59 p.m.: It's quickly third-and-13 to open the second half as Herbert's pass to Keenan Allen falls short.

9:57 p.m.: The Chargers will receive the second half kick and take over at their 26 but there's a flag on the play. The penalty goes against the Steelers and the Chargers move up 5 yards to their own 31.

Halftime: Chargers 17, Steelers 10
9:41 p.m.: FIELD GOAL CHARGERS. Dustin Hopkins nails a 30-yarder with two seconds left on the clock to give the Chargers a touchdown lead heading into halftime. Chargers 17, Steelers 10.

9:35 p.m.: The Chargers have been marching to close out the first half following the touchdown. Looking at first-and-10 from their own 41 with 27 seconds left.

9:25 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN STEELERS. Roethlisberger throws up a floater that hangs in the air and he finds Johnson again in the back of the end zone. Chargers 14, Steelers 10 with 1:09 left in the first half.
9:24 p.m.: Roethlisberger hits Diontae Johnson for 9 yards to the LA 10. Steelers in a position to score before the half.

9:23 p.m.: Following the touchdown, Roethlisberger executes a nice throw and helps the Steelers march down the field.
9:14 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN CHARGERS. It's Austin Ekeler again, and the Chargers extend their lead. Chargers 14, Steelers 3 with 3:42 left in the first half.
9:12 p.m.: Another 18-yard run for Herbert followed by an 18-yard pass and it's now second-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 10 for LA.
9:09 p.m.: The Chargers are looking at third-and-6 from their own 28 and Herbert scrambles and keeps it for 18 yards to the LA 46. Nearing midfield.

9:06 p.m.: Ekeler takes it for 10 yards and a first down as the Chargers now have a more manageable field.

9:03 p.m.: The Steelers go 73 yards on 12 plays but turn it over on downs at the Chargers' 2 yard line. That's where LA takes over to begin its next drive.

9:00 p.m.: Roethlisberger hits Chase Claypool for 37 yards to the LA 5. Steelers in prime position to retake the lead here early in the second.
8:59 p.m.: The second quarter starts with a 3 yard run and a 5 yard run. Now third-and-2 from the LA 44 for the Steelers.

End first quarter: Chargers 7, Steelers 3
8:53 p.m.: The Steelers' drive following the touchdown is three plays, all of them to Najee Harris. Now third-and-6 from the Steelers' 40 for Pittsburgh.

8:47 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN CHARGERS. No doubt about that one as Austin Ekeler runs straight ahead and barrels his way through for the score. Caps off a 12 play, 73-yard drive that chewed nearly six minutes of clock. Chargers 7, Steelers 3 with 2:09 left in the first.
8:46 p.m.: The Chargers punch it in but get hit for illegal formation. Drives them back 5 yards to the Pittsburgh 6 and a replay of first down.

8:44 p.m.: On third-and-3 from the Pittsburgh 21, Justin Herbert hits Williams again, this time for 17 yards. Brings up first-and-goal from the 4.

8:40 p.m.: Los Angeles converts on third-and-14 after hitting Mike Williams for 22 yards. That's followed up by 5-yard catch by Jared Cook and an 11-yard grab by Keenan Allen. Chargers across midfield to the Steelers' 39.

8:38 p.m.: The Chargers open their game at their own 27.

8:36 p.m.: FIELD GOAL STEELERS. Boswell nails the the 36 yarder and the game's first points are on the board. Steelers 3, Chargers 0 with 8:33 left in the game.

8:34 p.m.: The Steelers go three-and-out in the red zone and will send Chris Boswell on to kick.

8:32 p.m.: After a gain of 16 yards and two defensive penalties on the Chargers, the Steelers are officially in the red zone for the first time tonight. Second-and-5 from the 18 upcoming.

8:28 p.m.: Roethlisberger hits tight end Pat Freiermuth to convert on third down once again. This time it goes for 4 yards and the Steelers are nearing midfield at their own 49.

8:27 p.m.: The game's first penalty is against Los Angeles' Joey Bosa, who gets hit for a neutral zone infraction Second-and-5 upcoming for the Steelers.

8:24 p.m.: Ben Roethlisberger's first pass of the game is complete to Chase Claypool on third down and the Steelers convert. Gain of 8 on the play.

8:23 pm.: The Steelers start the game with the ball at their own 25.