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astronomy

Virginia Trimble at UC Irvine.
Q&A

Virginia Trimble Has Seen the Stars

November 11, 2019

How a young celebrity became one of the first female astronomers at Caltech, befriended Richard Feynman, and ended up the world’s foremost chronicler of the science of the night sky.

An illustration of a planet in front of a star.
Abstractions blog

Physics Nobel Honors Early Universe and Exoplanet Discoveries

October 8, 2019

The astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won half of the prize for their 1995 discovery of a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a nearby star. The cosmologist James Peebles won the other half for work exploring the structure of the universe.

Thumbnail: stylized illustration of a supernova
astrophysics

Long-Lived Stellar Blast Kindles Hope of a Supernova We’ve Never Seen Before

September 12, 2019

A giant star’s death throes may offer the first evidence of a pair-instability supernova, and a glimpse of the first stars in the universe.

An illustration of the cosmologists Wendy Freedman and Adam Riess debating the expansion rate of the universe at a recent meeting at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California.
cosmology

Cosmologists Debate How Fast the Universe Is Expanding

August 8, 2019

New measurements could upend the standard theory of the cosmos that has reigned since the discovery of dark energy 21 years ago.

Abstractions blog

Sun’s Puzzling Plasma Recreated in a Laboratory

July 29, 2019

For the first time, researchers have created a scale model of the twisting loops of the sun’s magnetic field.

Artists impression of AGN driven outflows from a dwarf galaxy
Abstractions blog

Big Black Holes Found in the Smallest Galaxies

July 23, 2019

Tiny, dim “dwarf” galaxies have been found to hide gas-spewing black holes.

planetary science

Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation

July 16, 2019

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

June 11, 2019

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

May 16, 2019

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