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Cosmic

Space

Astronomers use giant magnifying lens in space to probe dark energy

Dark energy has been described as the greatest puzzle of our universe. This mysterious force, discovered in 1998, is pushing the universe apart at ever-increasing speeds and astronomers have now devised a new method of measuring it. Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers were able to take advantage of a giant magnifying lens in space – a massive cluster of galaxies – to narrow in on the nature of dark energy. Their calculations, when combined with data from other methods, significantly increase the accuracy of dark energy measurements and may eventually lead to an explanation of what the elusive phenomenon really is.Read More

Science

World’s faster supercomputer models origins of the unseen universe

Scientists have for some time postulated that "dark matter" could partially account for evidence of missing mass in the universe, while the hypothetical form of energy known as "dark energy" is the most popular way to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate and accounts for 74 percent of the total mass-energy of the universe according to the standard model of cosmology. To better understand these two mysterious cosmic constituents scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are using Roadrunner, the world’s fastest supercomputer, to model one of the largest simulations of the distribution of matter in the universe.Read More

Space

NASA IBEX spacecraft shows where we sit in the galaxy

Move over Google Maps, NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft has given scientists the tools to construct the first comprehensive sky map of our solar system and where it resides in the Milky Way galaxy. NASA says the new view will change the way researchers study the interaction between our galaxy and sun.Read More

Space

Cosmic rays hit Space-Age high

NASA has a warning for everyone planning a trip to Mars in the near future – it might be a good idea to wrap yourself in an extra layer of tinfoil when you travel According to sensors on NASA's ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer) spacecraft, galactic cosmic rays have just hit a Space Age high, reaching levels 19 percent higher than observed in the past 50 years and sparking a rethink on the radiation shielding needed for astronauts.Read More

Space

X-ray telescope to shed light on dark energy

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency are joining forces to try and shed some light on the poorly understood phenomenon referred to as ‘dark energy’. In 2012 the German 'extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array'(eROSITA) X-ray telescope will be taken into orbit on board the Russian Spektrum Roentgen Gamma (SRG) satellite to start searching for black holes and dark matter in an attempt to answer why the expansion of the universe is accelerating instead of slowing down.Read More

Science

Cosmic Dawn simulation provides insights into the early universe

Computational Cosmology – the use of simulations to shed light on astronomical mysteries – has provided scientists with a glimpse of what the universe may have looked like 500 million years after the Big Bang, when the first galaxies were forming in the universe’s “reionization” stage. The images, produced by scientists at Durham University, will provide researchers with key insights into dark matter, which remains frustratingly elusive, despite being first proposed in 1933 and making up an estimated 80% of the universe. Read More

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