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Universe

— Space

Astronomers discover supernova subset which could allow for more acurate galactic measurements

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
— Space

ESO's MUSE instrument grants astronomers a 3D map of Hubble's Deep Field South region

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
— 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

Earth-like planets in Milky Way hint at 'possibility of ancient life'

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
— Space

VLT telescope reveals mysterious alignment of quasars with the Universe’s large-scale structure

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
— 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

Vanishing dark matter points to a dark future for our Universe

A study conducted at the University of Rome and the University of Portsmouth is suggesting that the amount of dark matter in the cosmos, the catalyst that facilitates the creation of new stars and galaxies, is decreasing as it interacts with dark energy. If this is true it would mean that, as time passes, the Universe could be destined to end up a desolate and nearly featureless place (even more so than it already is). Read More
— Space

Galactic supercluster identified as home to our Milky Way

A new study has revealed that our Milky Way is a member of a group of local galaxies interconnected within a larger supercluster made up of a myriad of other galaxies, all interlinked within a tenuous web of filaments many millions of light years long. Dubbed "Laniakea" (Hawaiian for "immense sky") by astronomers working at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF's) Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and others around the world, this research defines hitherto unknown boundaries and connections in our corner of the universe. Read More
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