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Thumbnail: stylized illustration of a supernova

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 an extra-large black hole.
Abstractions blog

A Black Hole So Big It ‘Should Not Exist’

August 28, 2019

Researchers have confirmed rumors of a black hole collision that challenges our ideas about how black holes form.

Illustration of three black holes on a starry background
Abstractions blog

To Make Two Black Holes Collide, Try Three

August 15, 2019

How do black holes merge and make gravitational waves? Maybe with a little help from their friends.

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.

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.

Art for "The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined"

The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined

May 1, 2019

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.

Art for "Dark Matter Gets a Reprieve in New Analysis"
Abstractions blog

Dark Matter Gets a Reprieve in New Analysis

April 29, 2019

A strange glow coming from the Milky Way’s center was thought to be due to ordinary pulsars. But a new look at a years-old study shows that dark matter might still be responsible.