Amid considerable hype of its own making, NASA is announcing the discovery an eighth planet around the distant solar system, Kepler 90.
Oops! Andromeda, our closest galactic neighbor, sits a measly 2.5 million light years away from Earth. Like the Milky Way, it’s a spiral galaxy packed with stars. Some of those stars orbit one another. That’s all good—but scientists have come to the realization that a particular light source, one assumed to be binary…
The Earth happens to be located in one of the weirdest places imaginable: the Universe. Like, whatever this Universe is and whatever rules it follows, we puny humans still struggle to understand it. But we’re really trying to—and we can’t seem to agree.
Planets and robots lack hearts and minds, but they’re especially good at impacting ours. In its last days before ending itself, human-built Cassini turned around and snapped this farewell mosaic image of Saturn. Its title: “Farewell to Saturn.”
Facts are built into the fabric of the Universe, but science can sometimes be a problematic tool for establishing them. On occasion, even the most exciting discoveries can be overturned with more evidence.
Scientists know of 750,000 or so asteroids and comets—and all of them are part of this fine solar system. That is, all of them but one. And as new research shows, it’s weird as hell.
New observations of nearby pulsars—lighthouse-like neutron stars beaming energy—seem to have deepened a mystery that’s been bugging scientists for around a decade. The Earth is being hit with too much antimatter from outer space, and no one is sure why.
Well, this is it. We’ve finally gotten to the point where observing two black holes slamming together, possibly the most way-out physics-based idea one could wrap their head around, has become “routine.” How did we get here?
When scientists discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting our closest star, Proxima Centauri b, Gizmodo said it could have been the discovery of the century. But today, scientists are announcing a new exoplanet only 11 light years away that could be even more important.
It can’t be stressed enough how crazy gravitational waves are. These supremely violent events take place many light years in the distance, and because they literally alter the shape of space and time, the ripples they produce can be detected on Earth. But gravitational wave astronomy is only in its infancy, and…
Astronomers have spotted something truly baffling: a new light 500 million light years away that looked exactly like a supernova...but acted like no supernova observed before.
Galaxies didn’t always take on the beautiful spiral shape we’ve come to associate with Andromeda and our own Milky Way. Looking far away into deep space—and into the past—ancient galaxies mostly look like giant blobs. But thanks to gravity’s light-bending properties, scientists have spotted a confounding thing in the…
New observations show there’s at least one, but possibly three rings, of cold dust around our nearest star, Proxima Centauri. That could indicate the presence of more planets, according to new research.
You might not want anyone to read the work you put together as a university student—I sure don’t. But we’re not Stephen Hawking, world-famous physicist, whose Ph.D thesis you can now read for free online.
Astronomy has entered a new era, one where light and gravity both play a role in understanding the Universe’s craziest phenomena. On August 17, 2017, over 70 observatories around (and above) the world, including ones like LIGO and the Hubble Space Telescope, all spotted a flash of energy. This light came in many…
Vicky Kalogera, a Northwestern University physicist, took her week of much-needed vacation in Utah this past August. She promised her family she’d stay off of email for a week. It wasn’t a real promise, of course, but she was going to try. She’d arranged the perfect day for August 17. Her husband was going to take the…
The Odyssey orbiter has been hovering above Mars, photographing its surface and taking data for 16 years now. There’s seemingly infinite combinations of things to study and instruments to study them with—this time, all NASA had to do was turn the camera around.
Less than five light years away sit three stars orbiting each other. You probably remember that one of them, Proxima Centauri, has a planet orbiting in its habitable zone—which got us really excited about the possibility of life. But what if that star was stolen?
The Nobel Prizes are important and all. But if you’ve been paying attention to physics for the past two years, this year’s prize is akin to saying “my beautiful dog has won the Good Boy prize.” We’re very excited, but we aren’t surprised.