Archive for the ‘Cosmology’ Category


Friday, June 8th, 2012

The sardonic proverb “nothing is certain but death and taxes,” can now be recast for the cosmos.
Last week’s announcement of the inevitable collision of the Andromeda galaxy with the Milky Way is one of only two apocalyptic astronomical predictions that we can be absolutely certain of. The other is the death of our sun. Purely deterministic processes drive both.

NASA’S Spitzer Finds First Objects Burned Furiously

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The faint, lumpy glow from the very first objects in the universe may have been detected with the best precision yet using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The objects could be wildly massive stars or voracious black holes. They are too far away to be seen individually, but Spitzer has captured new, convincing evidence of what appears to be the collective pattern of their infrared light.

Stephen Hawking at 70: still the brightest star in the scientific universe

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

As the author of A Brief History of Time approaches 70, eminent former students celebrate an awe-inspiring intellect still pushing at the frontiers of physics

New Insight into the Bar in the Center of the Milky Way

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

It sounds like the start of a bad joke: do you know about the bar in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy? Astronomers first recognized almost 80 years ago that the Milky Way Galaxy, around which the sun and its planets orbit, is a huge spiral galaxy.

Milky way’s first stars killed the satellite galaxies

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Two researchers from Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg have revealed for the first time the existence of a new signature of the birth of our galaxy’s first stars. More than 12 billion years ago, their intense light dispersed the gas of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies.

Lighting the universe

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Computer simulations are revealing how the earliest stars formed. Here, a simulation shows two star-forming regions coalescing from clouds of gas about 200 million years after the Big Bang.

Dark energy spotted in the cosmic microwave background

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Astronomers studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have uncovered new direct evidence for dark energy – the mysterious substance that appears to be accelerating the expansion of the universe. Their findings could also help map the structure of dark matter on the universe’s largest length scales.

Editorial: A view back to our origins

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Imagine an instrument that would allow us to see the universe as the first stars and galaxies were formed in the Big Bang’s first hundred million years. NASA has been working on just such a project as a successor to the highly successful Hubble Space Telescope.

Capture of antimatter opens window on Big Bang

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva have trapped atoms of the elusive antimatter form of hydrogen for nearly 17 minutes, a major step toward understanding what happened to this mysterious substance when the universe was created 13.6 billion years ago.

Gamma-ray burst closest yet to Big Bang

Friday, May 27th, 2011

At more than 13 billion light years away, a gamma-ray burst spotted in 2009 is the furthest – and oldest – astronomical object ever observed, a new study suggests.

Astronomers Detect Most Distant Object in Universe

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Astronomers have detected what is believed to be the most distant object in the universe – the remnants of a star that exploded with a burst of high-energy particles more than 13 billion years ago. Scientists hope the ancient gamma ray blast will shed new light on the formation of the universe.

Theory of Recycled Universe Called Into Question

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

In November, cosmologists claimed to see echoes of violent collisions that happened before the Big Bang in the form of circular patterns in the early universe’s relic radiation.

Fermi gamma-ray image updates ‘extreme Universe’ view

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

The Fermi space telescope has yielded the most detailed gamma ray map of the sky – representing the Universe’s most violent and extreme processes.
The telescope’s newest results, as well as the map, were described at the Third Fermi Symposium in Rome this week.

First Stars in Universe May Have Spun Like Crazy

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The first stars in the universe may have been extraordinarily fast spinners, whirling at more than a million miles per hour, scientists say.

Space Odyssey: Scientists go to the extremes of the earth to divine the secrets of extraterrestrial life.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

If it’s just us in this universe, what a terrible waste of space. For thousands of years, humans have wondered about who and what might be living beyond the confines of our planet: gods, beneficent or angry; a heaven full of sinners long forgiven; creatures as large and strange as our imagination.

The Universe’s First Stars Weren’t Loners After All

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Astronomers have long believed that the early universe was a lonely place populated by huge — but solitary — stars spread across the cosmos. But a new study suggests these massive stellar loners were more the exception than the rule.

Some of Universe’s First Stars May Still Be Visible

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

A new study that suggests the first stars in the universe formed in groups instead of in isolation, as previously thought, also has found something else: Some of these first stars may still be visible today.

Maser to predict Milky Way’s fate

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

WILL the Milky Way slam into its giant neighbour, Andromeda, in a few billion years? A laser-like spot of light in the galaxy hints at an answer.

Starry, Starry, Starry Night

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Imagine if the 2010 census-takers had carefully counted all the residents of Texas and then, based on the Lone Star State’s population density, tried to estimate how many people lived in the entire U.S. The total would be off badly, of course, having overlooked the close-packed residents in the Northeast states, Illinois, and California.

The Universe Does Think Small

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The biggest galaxies in the universe are elliptical galaxies. The largest of these hold over one trillion stars according to astronomical census takers, compared to 400 billion in our Milky Way. However, new research shows that elliptical galaxies actually hold five to ten times as many stars as previously believed. This means that the total number of stars in the universe is likely three times bigger than realized.