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astronomy

planetary science

Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation

After an interstellar asteroid shot past the sun, scientists realized that there’s probably a lot of itinerant rocks out there.

Abstractions blog

A Close Look at Newborn Planets Reveals Hints of Infant Moons

Astronomers have discovered a complex planetary system still swirling into existence.

Art for "As Planet Discoveries Pile Up, a Gap Appears in the Pattern"
Abstractions blog

As Planet Discoveries Pile Up, a Gap Appears in the Pattern

Astronomers are puzzling over a paucity of planets in the galaxy measuring between 1.5 and two times Earth’s size.

Art for "The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined"
astrophysics

The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined

The sun radiates far more high-frequency light than expected, raising questions about unknown features of the sun’s magnetic field and the possibility of even more exotic physics.

Q&A

The Astronomer Who’d Rather Build Space Cameras

Jim Gunn shaped the theory of the evolution of the cosmos before building cameras and spectrographs for major observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope.

Art for "What the Sight of a Black Hole Means to a Black Hole Physicist"
Quantized Columns

What the Sight of a Black Hole Means to a Black Hole Physicist

The astrophysicist Janna Levin reflects on the newly unveiled, first-ever photograph of a black hole.

PHOTO: Sarah Hörst in her lab at JHU
Q&A

The Scientist Who Cooks Up the Skies of Faraway Worlds

Astronomers will soon take their first glance at the atmosphere of a distant exoplanet. Sarah Hörst is writing the guidebook for these exoplanetary explorers, one that will reveal what a distinctive atmosphere says about the world underneath.

machine learning

How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science

The latest AI algorithms are probing the evolution of galaxies, calculating quantum wave functions, discovering new chemical compounds and more. Is there anything that scientists do that can’t be automated?

Art for "Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox "
Abstractions blog

Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox

Astronomers claim in a new paper that star motions should make it easy for civilizations to spread across the galaxy, but still we might find ourselves alone.