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.
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.
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.
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."