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Gravity

Space

Astronomers see supernova explosion using galaxies as lenses

A team of astronomers led by the Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a lens of galactic proportions. Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the scientists saw a supernova not once, but four times by using the gravity of a distant cluster of galaxies to act as a natural lens that magnified and quadrupled the image of the exploding star. Read More

Space

LISA Pathfinder gravity probe moves to testing

A European Space Agency (ESA) mission aimed at testing new technologies for understanding the universe has left Britain for final testing before being launched into space. The LISA Pathfinder mission's propulsion and science modules left Airbus Defence and Space for Industrie Anlagen Betriebs Gesellschaft (IABG) in Germany for final tests before shipment to the ESA launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, where they will be shot into low-Earth orbit atop a Vega rocket.Read More

Space

Research suggests dark matter plays a significant role in our planet's mass extinction cycle

A new study carried out by Professor Michael Rampino of New York University suggests that dark matter may have had a part to play in the periodic mass extinction events that are known to have taken place throughout Earth's history. It takes our planet roughly 250 million years to circle the Milky Way, and around every 30 million years the Sun's orbit takes us through what is known as the galactic disk. The galactic disk is where the majority of the mass in our galaxy resides, and alongside it a thin disk of dark matter. Read More

Space

New Planck map begins to unlock the secrets of the early universe

ESA's Planck mission is yielding some surprising findings along with a beautiful new map of the Milky Way that breaks down some of the key elements of our galaxy. The telescope spent four years studying the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), a relic from the birth of the universe. The resulting data from this endeavor is now helping us refine how we measure matter, how we understand dark matter and generally just unraveling the secrets of the universe.Read More

Space

Why didn't the universe collapse after the Big Bang? It's a question of gravity

Not only does gravity keep us safely on the ground and hold the planets in alignment, but now it may soon get the credit for saving the whole universe. Physicists at the Imperial College London and the Universities of Copenhagen and Helsinki believe that the interaction between Higgs boson particles and gravity had a stabilizing effect on the very early universe, thereby preventing the Big Crunch – a catastrophic collapse into nothing – from occurring shortly after the Big Bang.Read More

Science

New map shows world's seafloor in unprecedented detail

Given they aren't covered by oceans, it's maybe not so surprising that we know more about the topography of the Moon and Mars than we do about Earth's ocean depths. But researchers have evened the score at least a little with the creation of a new map of the world's seafloor. Twice as accurate as the previous version produced almost 20 years ago, the new map details thousands of previously uncharted mountains and provides new clues on the formation of the continents.Read More

Space

NASA unveils new home for space rats

Attention space rats and astromice, NASA is sending new, posher rodent habitats to the International Space Station (ISS). The high-tech cages will first will fly in August aboard an unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo ship and are part of an extensive study on the effects of weightlessness on prolonged space voyages.Read More

Science

Scientists observe cosmic inflation and quantum gravity in the Big Bang

In a discovery that has profound implications for our understanding about the beginnings of the universe, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics this morning announced evidence of so-called primordial B-modes in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). These B-modes directly show quantum gravitational waves originating during the inflationary period of cosmic evolution, from about 10-36 sec to 10-32 sec after the Big Bang, and give us a direct view of physical processes taking place at 1016 GeV – a trillion times more energetic than particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider.Read More

Space

ESA to launch mission to study elusive gravitational waves

Mark your calendars for 2034, because that is when science is set to get a whole new spectrum to play with when the European Space Agency (ESA) launches its eLISA mission. Consisting of a constellation of three spacecraft flying in precise formation, eLISA will study gravitational waves in a manner that may one day revolutionize our understanding of the Universe.Read More

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