What's up in


A computer simulation of two galaxies colliding.

The New History of the Milky Way

December 15, 2020

Over the past two years, astronomers have rewritten the story of our galaxy.

A pink beam at the center of a metallic experimental apparatus.
Abstractions blog

Physicists Pin Down Nuclear Reaction From Moments After the Big Bang

November 11, 2020

The newly-measured rate of a key nuclear fusion process from the Big Bang matches the picture of the universe 380,000 years later.

Cora Dvorkin in front of a starry backdrop.
Hidden Structure

The Cosmologist Who Dreams in the Universe’s Dark Threads

November 5, 2020

Cora Dvorkin discovered new possibilities for what dark matter could be. Now she’s devising unorthodox ways to identify it.

Spheres of three different sizes.
Abstractions blog

Debate Erupts Over How ‘Forbidden’ Black Holes Grow

November 3, 2020

Once missing in action, middleweight black holes have finally been detected. Now researchers are trying to figure out how they grow from small ones.

Abstractions blog

Physics Nobel Awarded for Black Hole Breakthroughs

October 6, 2020

Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies of black holes.

Black holes of various sizes
black holes

Physicists Argue That Black Holes From the Big Bang Could Be the Dark Matter

September 23, 2020

It was an old idea of Stephen Hawking’s: Unseen “primordial” black holes might be the hidden dark matter. A new series of studies has shown how the theory can work.

Distorted galaxies
Abstractions blog

A New Cosmic Tension: The Universe Might Be Too Thin

September 8, 2020

Cosmologists have concluded that the universe doesn’t appear to clump as much as it should. Could both of cosmology’s big puzzles share a single fix?

Center of the Milky Way
Abstractions blog

An Alternative to Dark Matter Passes Critical Test

July 28, 2020

Modified gravity theories have never been able to describe the universe’s first light. A new formulation does.

Magnetic fields in the universe.

The Hidden Magnetic Universe Begins to Come Into View

July 2, 2020

Astronomers are discovering that magnetic fields permeate much of the cosmos. If these fields date back to the Big Bang, they could solve a major cosmological mystery.