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Universe

Galaxy cluster Abell 3827 (Image: ESO)

New studies by astronomers are slowly throwing some light on dark matter, the invisible and mysterious stuff that scientists believe makes up much of the universe. For the first time, astronomers believe they've observed the interactions of dark matter via a factor other than the force of gravity.  Read More

Galaxy cluster MACS J0416.1–2403 with dark matter map (Image: NASA/ESA)

The majority of the universe is made up of mysterious, practically invisible dark matter. But new research is beginning to help us understand it, and seems to indicate that it could be even "darker" than previously thought.  Read More

Collage of galaxies in which Type la supernovae have taken place (Image: SDSS)

NASA astronomers may have found a way to take more precise measurements of the distances between galaxies. Currently, astronomers use a certain type of supernova, known as a Type la supernova, to gauge the distances between galaxies and from this, the rate at which the universe is expanding. The reason that this particular breed of supernova is singled out for this purpose, is that when they explode, they give out a very similar amount of light.  Read More

An artist's impression of a quasar (Image: ESO/MKornmesser)

Astronomers have discovered a distant, massive and ancient black hole that calls into question current models for the early expansion of the universe. A team of scientists from China and Arizona spotted the brightest quasar from the early universe, named SDSS J0100+2802, centered on a black hole 12.8 billion light years away and as bright as 420 trillion suns.  Read More

MUSE documented over 20 celestial objects missed by Hubble's Deep Field South survey (Imag...

ESO's Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument, which is mounted on the Very Large Telescope based in the Paranal Observatory, Chile, has been focusing in on a tiny patch in the night sky previously featured in Hubble's Deep Field South image (HDF-S). After only 27 hours of continuous observation, the cutting edge instrument has captured detailed measurements of more galaxies with more detail than ever before.  Read More

The new map from Planck, where blue areas indicate the presence of synchrotron radiation, ...

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

Interstellar gas forming galaxies in EAGLE

Astronomers have created a simulation of the universe that includes more realistic galaxies similar in mass, size and age to real observed galaxies, enabling better research into how the cosmos evolved into its current state over the past 14 billion years.  Read More

The KOI-3158 system compared to other known planets (Image credit: Tiago Campante)

A team of scientists has found what they claim is the oldest Earth-sized planet in the Milky Way, hinting at the possibility of ancient life elsewhere in our galaxy. Located about 117 light years from us in the constellation Lyra, the star KOI-3158 is estimated to be 11.2 billion years old, give or take 900 million years or so. For some perspective, our own sun and solar system is believed to be less than 5 billion years old.  Read More

An artist's impression of the alignment of quasars with the large-scale structure of the U...

Astronomers using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have discovered an unexpected alignment of the spinning axes of supermassive black holes located billions of light-years apart. As if that discovery wasn’t fascinating enough in itself, the team then delved a little deeper, finding that the quasars aren’t just linked to each other, but are also aligned with the large-scale structure of the Universe itself.  Read More

New research suggests that during the Big Bang, the curving of space-time – gravity – held...

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

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