Stellar Nursery Blooms into View

Stellar Nursery Blooms into View

The OmegaCAM camera on ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope has captured this glittering view of the stellar nursery called Sharpless 29. Many astronomical phenomena can be seen in this giant image, including cosmic dust and gas clouds that reflect, absorb, and re-emit the light of hot young stars within the nebula.

How crashing neutron stars killed off some of our best ideas about what ‘dark energy’ is

How crashing neutron stars killed off some of our best ideas about what ‘dark energy’ is

There was much excitement when scientists witnessed the violent collision of two ultra-dense, massive stars more than 100m light years from the Earth earlier this year. Not only did they catch the resulting gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime – they also saw a practically instantaneous flash of light. This is exciting in itself and was the first direct evidence for a merger of neutron stars.

Rare glimpse of a black hole’s magnetic field could help us to understand how it feeds

Rare glimpse of a black hole’s magnetic field could help us to understand how it feeds

Encountering a black hole would be a frightening prospect for our planet. We know that these cosmic monsters ferociously devour any object that strays too close to their “event horizon” – the last chance of escape. But even though black holes drive some of the most energetic phenomena in the universe, the physics of their behaviour, including how they feed, remains hotly debated.

The Next Earth May Be Even Closer Than We Imagined

The Next Earth May Be Even Closer Than We Imagined

The planet Proxima b, which is in our closest neighboring star system, has given the space exploration project "Breakthrough Starshot" a reachable target. We don't know if Starshot will reveal a habitable planet for humans, but it will definitely require us to master our own solar system.

Will artificial intelligence become conscious?

Will artificial intelligence become conscious?

Forget about today’s modest incremental advances in artificial intelligence, such as the increasing abilities of cars to drive themselves. Waiting in the wings might be a groundbreaking development: a machine that is aware of itself and its surroundings, and that could take in and process massive amounts of data in real time. It could be sent on dangerous missions, into space or combat. In addition to driving people around, it might be able to cook, clean, do laundry – and even keep humans company when other people aren’t nearby

Astronomers Are Gearing Up to Listen for Evidence of Aliens from a Mysterious Interstellar Object

Astronomers Are Gearing Up to Listen for Evidence of Aliens from a Mysterious Interstellar Object

The strange celestial object called 'Oumuamua will be the subject of a Breakthrough Listen initiative to see if it's giving off a radio signal. While the object is likely natural, astronomers do concede a slight possibility of it being ET in origin.

A New Experiment May Finally Reveal the True Nature of Gravity

A New Experiment May Finally Reveal the True Nature of Gravity

Quantum physicists have toiled to no avail for decades in their attempts to subsume gravity (the first cosmological force ever discovered) into quantum physics. A group of researchers recently proposed a new experiment that could redefine nature of gravity, and transform our understanding of the fundamental forces of the universe.

Social media can be bad for youth mental health, but there are ways it can help

Social media can be bad for youth mental health, but there are ways it can help

Young people spend a lot of time on social media. They’re also more susceptible to peer pressure, low self-esteem and mental ill-health. A number of studies have found associations between increased social media use and depression, anxiety, sleep problems, eating concerns, and suicide risk.

Jellyfish have superpowers – and other reasons they don’t deserve their bad reputation

Jellyfish have superpowers – and other reasons they don’t deserve their bad reputation

People rarely enjoy meeting a jellyfish. On the beach they appear limp, amorphous, and blistered in the sun. In the water it’s often a brush of a tentacle on exposed skin followed by a sting. They hardly evoke the serene elegance of a turtle or the majesty of a breaching humpback whale. But despite making a poor first impression, jellyfish are among the most unusual animals on Earth and deserve a second chance to introduce themselves.