Microscopic tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are the toughest animals on the planet, capable of withstanding intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of space. In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that tardigrades are poised to survive literally anything that nature throws at…
Millions of years ago, a pair of exploding stars showered our planet with radioactive fallout. Had those supernovae popped off a bit closer to home, Earth’s biosphere would have been toast. But even at a distance of 300 light years, the stellar events might have had an impact on the evolution of life here.
A few million years ago, humans’ ancestors might have gazed in wonder at a strange, brilliant blue spot in the night sky. It was the aftermath of an epic stellar explosion, maybe two. Had these supernovae occurred a little closer to home, life on Earth would have been toast.
Several million years ago, a series of nearby supernovae explosions lit up the sky, rained radioactive particles down on our planet, and might have kickstarted a major climactic shift. That’s according to a pair of studies published today in Nature, which link radioactive debris spread across the seafloor to cosmic…
When a star dies and erupts as a supernova it can produce a short, sharp shockwave that astronomers call a “shock breakout.” For the first time ever, astronomers have captured such an event as optical light.
The Kepler spacecraft came roaring back into the news last week, when scientists announced that the plucky little planet hunter had unearthed hundreds of new exoplanets in our cosmic backyard, despite being literally broken. But that’s not all Kepler’s been up to—by a long shot.
An exceptionally bright supernova discovered last month appears to shine brighter than 500 billion Suns. That’s twice as luminous as the previous record—but because it’s low in hydrogen, scientists are confused as to where this exploding star got all its energy.
It’s easy to imagine the universe as an endless sea of stars, but that’s a biased, Earthly perspective. If we could zoom very far out, we’d see bright cosmic clusters like our Milky Way, and between them, unimaginably vast stretches of empty intergalactic space.
See that reddish cloud inside this supernova's shockwave? It's a massive plume of dust that formed shortly after the star ripped itself to shreds. The observation was made using the the brand new ALMA telescope — and it's one that will help explain how galaxies got their dusty and dim complexion.
You're looking at one of the most far-flung star explosions ever recorded. Dubbed Supernova UDS10Wil (aka "SN Wilson," after Woodrow Wilson), it detonated more than 10 billion years ago, but only recently has its light found its way to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Black diamonds, also known as carbonados, are dark, porous, and found only in Brazil and Central Africa. And they don't come from volcanoes — they come from outer space.