What's up in

astrophysics

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.

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.

Photo lede for "With a Second Repeating Radio Burst, Astronomers Close In on an Explanation"
astrophysics

With a Second Repeating Radio Burst, Astronomers Close In on an Explanation

Brief cosmic blips called fast radio bursts have puzzled astronomers since their discovery earlier this decade. Now researchers appear to be close to understanding what powers them.

Photo of Priya Natarajan
Q&A

An Astrophysicist Who Maps the Universe’s Terra Incognita

Priyamvada Natarajan has pioneered the mapping and modeling of the universe’s invisible contents, especially dark matter and supermassive black holes.

Art for "How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals"
Abstractions blog

How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals

Subatomic particles called muons are thought to have streamed through the atmosphere and irradiated megafauna like the monster shark megalodon.

Art for "Missing Galaxies? Now There’s Too Many"
astrophysics

Missing Galaxies? Now There’s Too Many

Astronomers couldn’t find enough satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. Now they have the opposite problem.

Art for "New Studies Rescue Gravitational-Wave Signal From the Noise"
gravitational waves

New Studies Rescue Gravitational-Wave Signal From the Noise

Two independent papers vanquish lingering doubts about LIGO’s historic discovery of gravitational waves.