221–240 of 262 results


Blast from the Very Far Past

A gamma-ray burst seen to occur last April happened in the era of the earliest stars, when the universe was only 630 million years old and the "reionization era" was getting under way. But this news isn't exactly news.

Temperature map of the CMB

Space Missions

Planck Sees "First Light"

European astronomers are delighted that their new microwave-background spacecraft has successfully begun making its highly detailed map of tiny temperature variations across the sky — the key to revealing insights about how the Big Bang happened and how the earliest galaxies formed.

LIGO gravity-wave detector


New Limits on the Big Bang

LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, has just announced its first big astronomy result: Two years of data rule out certain versions of the inflationary-universe theory of what drove the Big Bang.

Map of gamma-ray pulsars


Fermi Tracks Gamma-ray Pulsars

What spins hundreds of times per second, has 100 trillion times the Sun's density, and spews lethal radiation all over interstellar space? Astronomers are closer to knowing the answers, thanks to NASA's newest deep-space observatory.


Image Stacking Nets Ancient Supernovae

Astronomers have turned up a pair of supernovae in extremely distant galaxies (like these) that exploded more than 11 billion years ago, during the universe's infancy. And they did it using a basic technique familiar to thousands of amateur astronomers.


New Candidates for Midsize Black Holes

Astronomers are hot on the trail of a new class of cosmic curiosity that's not too small, not too big, but somewhere in between — an intermediate-mass black hole.


Dark Matter or Pulsars? Fermi is on the Case

Something funny is going on within a few hundred light-years of us, creating high-energy electrons that we don't understand. Recent data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope keep the mystery alive.


Planck and Herschel to Probe Inflation and Starbirth

The Herschel Space Observatory and the Planck Surveyor, launched May 14th on a single Ariane 5 rocket, will peer deeply into dust clouds and map the microwave background.


Introducing "Himiko," the Primordial Blob

An international team of researchers has turned up a galaxy-size object at the dawn of the universe.


The Farthest Thing Ever Seen

NASA has announced finding a gamma-ray burst with a redshift of about 8.2. That puts it 95% of the way back to the Big Bang.

Stellar Science

Bantamweight Planet and Three Dwarfs

Observing teams have turned up the lowest-mass planet yet detected around a Sunlike star — and a clutch of objects too small to be stars but not really planets either.


A Murky All-Sky Background Is Resolved

It doesn't look like much today, but the far-infrared background radiation coming from all parts of the sky tells of a tumultuous early universe ablaze with starlight.


Best-Ever Southern-Sky Galaxy Survey

Take one telescope, use it to record the spectra of 150 galaxies at a time for 4½ years, and what do you get? Awesome 3D maps of deep intergalactic space — and important clues to how the universe works.


Gamma-Ray Burst Hints of Space-Time Foam

Observations from NASA’s orbiting Fermi observatory hint that extremely high-energy gamma rays don't travel at the speed of light. If more observations bear this out, it will rock the foundations of physics, hint at small-scale "space-time foam," and perhaps point the way to a "theory of everything."

Space Missions

A Supermassive Double Black Hole?

A far-off quasar seems to contain two giant black holes hurtling around each other less than a light-year apart. They're doomed to spiral together and join in a literally space-shaking crash — but when?


New Cosmic Background Radiation Found

Astronomers have found something in the very distant universe filling the sky with a radio roar at frequencies they did not expect. No one knows what it is.


Black Holes First, Galaxies Second

Back when the universe was young, a new study finds, galaxies grew their central black holes faster than the holes' starry surroundings. But how?

Our expanding universe


Dark Energy: Real and Overwhelming

The universe just isn't making galaxy clusters the way it used to. Compelling new evidence argues that "dark energy" has overwhelmed gravity's influence on forming these largest cosmic structures.

Professional Telescopes

New Eyes on the Cosmic-Ray Sky

High on the Argentinian pampa, 1,600 water-filled "eyes" await the arrival of the most powerful high-energy particles in the universe.


Hubble Finds a Mystery Object

What was it? While monitoring a cluster of galaxies, the Hubble Space Telescope recorded what seems like a new class of astronomical object brightening and fading over six months.