universe

SOFIA Uncovers Clues to the Evolution of Universe and Search for Life

SOFIA Uncovers Clues to the Evolution of Universe and Search for Life

A compilation of scientific results from The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, reveal new clues to how stars form and galaxies evolve, and closer to understanding the environment of Europa and its subsurface ocean. The airborne observatory carries a suite of instruments, each sensitive to different properties of infrared light, that gives astronomers insights into the flow of matter in galaxies.

Citizen Scientist Finds Ancient White Dwarf Star Encircled by Puzzling Rings

Citizen Scientist Finds Ancient White Dwarf Star Encircled by Puzzling Rings

A volunteer working with the NASA-led Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project has found the oldest and coldest known white dwarf — an Earth-sized remnant of a Sun-like star that has died — ringed by dust and debris. Astronomers suspect this could be the first known white dwarf with multiple dust rings.

Measuring growth of the universe reveals a mystery

Measuring growth of the universe reveals a mystery

Astronomers have made the most precise measurement to date of the rate at which the universe is expanding.But there’s also some unsettling news: The new number remains at odds with independent measurements of the early universe’s expansion, which could mean that there is something unknown about the makeup of the universe.

Astronomers start mapping the structure of the far side of the milky way

Astronomers start mapping the structure of the far side of the milky way

Since the 18th century, astronomers have been aware that our Solar System is embedded in a vast disk of stars and gas known as the Milky Way Galaxy. Since that time, the greatest scientific minds have been attempting to obtain accurate distance measurements in order to determine just how large the Milky Way is. This has been no easy task, since the fact that we are embedded in our galaxy’s disk means that we cannot view it head-on.

Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi

Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi

As an astrophysicist, I am always struck by the fact that even the wildest science-fiction stories tend to be distinctly human in character. No matter how exotic the locale or how unusual the scientific concepts, most science fiction ends up being about quintessentially human (or human-like) interactions, problems, foibles and challenges.

Researchers tackle question of how the universe became filled with light

Researchers tackle question of how the universe became filled with light

In accordance with the Big Bang model of cosmology, shortly after the Universe came into being there was a period known as the “Dark Ages”. This occurred between 380,000 and 150 million years after the Big Bang, where most of the photons in the Universe were interacting with electrons and protons. As a result, the radiation of this period is undetectable by our current instruments – hence the name.

Could cold spot in the sky be a bruise from a collision with a parallel universe?

Could cold spot in the sky be a bruise from a collision with a parallel universe?

Scientists have long tried to explain the origin of a mysterious, large and anomalously cold region of the sky. In 2015, they came close to figuring it out as a study showed it to be a “supervoid” in which the density of galaxies is much lower than it is in the rest of the universe. However, other studies haven’t managed to replicate the result.

First Light for Band 5 at ALMA - New receivers improve ALMA’s ability to search for water in the Universe

First Light for Band 5 at ALMA - New receivers improve ALMA’s ability to search for water in the Universe

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has begun observing in a new range of the electromagnetic spectrum. This has been made possible thanks to new receivers installed at the telescope’s antennas, which can detect radio waves with wavelengths from 1.4 to 1.8 millimetres — a range previously untapped by ALMA. This upgrade allows astronomers to detect faint signals of water in the nearby Universe.

A machine astronomer could help us find the unknowns in the universe

A machine astronomer could help us find the unknowns in the universe

What have pulsars, quasars, dark matter and dark energy got in common? Answer: each of them took the discoverer by surprise. While much of science advances carefully and methodically, the majority of truly spectacular discoveries in astronomy are unexpected.

Hubble Gazes at Long-dead Star

Hubble Gazes at Long-dead Star

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the remnants of a long-dead star. These rippling wisps of ionized gas, named DEM L316A, are located some 160,000 light-years away within one of the Milky Way’s closest galactic neighbors — the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

Newly Discovered Star Offers Opportunity to Explore Origins of First Stars Sprung to Life in Early Universe

Newly Discovered Star Offers Opportunity to Explore Origins of First Stars Sprung to Life in Early Universe

A team of researchers has observed the brightest ultra metal-poor star ever discovered. The star is a rare relic from the Milky Way’s formative years. As such, it offers astronomers a precious opportunity to explore the origin of the first stars that sprung to life within our galaxy and the universe.