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Light from the first galaxies clears the universe.

Discoveries Fuel Fight Over Universe’s First Light

A series of observations at the very edge of the universe has reignited a debate over what lifted the primordial cosmic fog.


A Cosmic Burst Repeats, Deepen­ing a Mystery

After a surprise discovery, astrophysicists are racing to understand superenergetic flashes of radio waves that sometimes beep out from distant galaxies.

Abstractions blog

From Gaia, a Twinkling Treasure Trove

The first star map from the ESA’s Gaia space telescope is poised to revolutionize our understanding of the Milky Way galaxy.

Abstractions blog

Responding Rapidly to Big Discoveries

How do scientists react to major breaking science news? For astrophysicists after the big gravitational waves announcement, it was meeting for two weeks in Santa Barbara, California.


Colliding Black Holes Tell New Story of Stars

Just months after their discovery, gravitational waves coming from the mergers of black holes are shaking up astrophysics.

Abstractions blog

LIGO Reports Second Black-Hole Merger

The spokesperson for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory called it “a promising start to mapping the populations of black holes in our universe.”

Abstractions blog

A Glimpse Through a Cosmic Keyhole

What could cause galaxies millions of light years apart to all spew material in the same direction?


After Black Holes Collide, a Puzzling Flash

A satellite spotted a burst of light just as gravitational waves rolled in from the collision of two black holes. Was the flash a cosmic coincidence, or do astrophysicists need to rethink what black holes can do?


From Einstein’s Theory to Gravity’s Chirp

The path from a revolutionary set of equations to the detection of gravitational waves was strewn with obstacles and controversy, explains the physicist Daniel Kennefick — and the struggle continues.