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Universe

The BICEP2 facility at the South Pole has discovered compelling evidence for quantized gra...

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

The ANU SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory has discovered the oldest kno...

A team of astronomers at The Australian National University (ANU) working on a five-year project to produce the first comprehensive digital survey of the southern sky has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe. Just a 6,000 light year astronomical hop, skip and jump from Earth, the ancient star formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.  Read More

Astrophoto in redshifted Lyman-alpha light, possibly emitted by a cosmic filament of gas a...

That the Universe is largely composed of a cosmic web consisting of narrow filaments upon which galaxies and intergalactic gas and dust are concentrated has been known for more than a decade. While a great deal of evidence for this has accumulated, visual evidence has been difficult to find. Astronomers have now photographed what appears to be a segment of a cosmic filament stimulated into fluorescence by irradiation from a nearby quasar.  Read More

The spherical middle chamber of DarkSide-50 is filled with 7,000 gal of scintillator fluid

Like the Higgs Boson, dark matter is one of those things in the Universe that evidence points to, but is very difficult to pin down. A team of researchers is looking to verify the existence of this most elusive of ingredients that is thought to make up 23 percent of the Universe using powerful detectors buried deep in an Italian mountain.  Read More

Artist's concept of eLISA passing through gravitational waves (Image: AEI/MM/exozet)

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

The Universe is big, and so is the challenge of understanding its large-scale structure (P...

Our knowledge of the large-scale structure of the Universe is gradually taking shape. However, our improved vision is mostly being statistically squeezed from huge data sets. Working backward from a statistical analysis to a putative fact about the (singular) Universe, to which statistics do not apply on a cosmological scale, is a dicey business. A case in point is a recent look at the biggest known structures in the Universe – large quasar groups.  Read More

An artist's rendition of the newly-discovered z8-GND-5296 galaxy (Image: UCR/NASA)

Astronomers at UC Riverside have combined observations from space and ground telescopes to discover what they say is the oldest known galaxy with a precisely measured distance, seen as it was just 700 million years after the Big Bang.  Read More

Artist's impression of Planck at L2 (Image: ESA)

On Wednesday, at 12:10:27 GMT, ESA’s Planck space telescope ended its four and a half year mission when project scientist Jan Taube sent the command telling the unmanned probe to switch itself off.  Read More

Is dark energy needed to accelerate the expansion of the universe? (Image: Shutterstock)

Fans of Doctor Who will be very familiar with the stupefied phrase uttered by all new visitors to his Tardis: "It's...bigger...on the inside." As it turns out, this apparently irrational idea may have something to contribute to our understanding of the universe. A team of cosmologists in Finland and Poland propose that the observed acceleration of the expansion of the universe, usually explained by dark energy or modified laws of gravity, may actually be the result of regions of spacetime that are larger on the inside than they appear from the outside. The researchers have dubbed these "Tardis regions."  Read More

The HSC captured a high-resolution image of the entire Andromeda galaxy in one go (Image: ...

When taking snapshots, a good telephoto lens can be handy, but when your subject is 2.5 million light years away, it’s invaluable. To show off the capabilities of the new Hyper-Suprime Cam (HSC) located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, an international team of astrophysicists has released high resolution images of the Andromeda galaxy that not only show off incredible detail, but may help shed light on the evolution of the Universe and the distribution of dark matter.  Read More

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