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astrophysics

Artist’s rendering of merging neutron stars.
cosmology

Colliding Neutron Stars Could Settle the Biggest Debate in Cosmology

Newly discovered “standard sirens” provide an independent, clean way to measure how fast the universe is expanding.

Neutron star dancers
astronomy

Neutron-Star Collision Shakes Space-Time and Lights Up the Sky

Astronomers have for the first time matched a gravitational-wave signal to a kilonova’s burst of light, observations that will “go down in the history of astronomy.”

Very Large Array, Socorro, NM
Abstractions blog

Ultra-Powerful Radio Bursts May Be Getting a Cosmic Boost

Repeating radio bursts are among the most mysterious phenomena in the universe. A new theory explores how some of their puzzling properties can be explained by galactic lenses made of plasma.

Abstractions blog

For Astronomers, Neutron Star Merger Could Eclipse Eclipse

Even as the solar eclipse was mesmerizing millions, astronomers were training their space- and land-based telescopes on a far more violent astrophysical event.

Illustration: window showing dark matter map
cosmology

Scientists Unveil New Inventory of Universe’s Dark Contents

The first major results from the Dark Energy Survey signal the start of a new era of cosmology.

Abstractions blog

Cookie-Cutter Supernovas Might Come in Different Flavors

Astronomers thought that all Type Ia supernovas shine with the same brightness, making them incredibly useful cosmic yardsticks. But uncertainty over what causes these explosions has led researchers to reconsider their assumptions.

Andrea Ghez in Hawaii
Q&A

Black-Hole Hunter Takes Aim at Einstein

The astrophysicist Andrea Ghez spent two decades proving that a supermassive black hole anchors the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Her new plan? Test what happens when things get too close.

Supernova 1987A remnants
astrophysics

Lucky Break Leads to Controversial Supernova Discovery

Supernova hunters were able to train their telescopes on a recent eruption just hours after it exploded. What they found only adds to the growing list of questions surrounding these cosmic blasts.

LIGO Hanford and Livingston
gravitational waves

Strange Noise in Gravitational-Wave Data Sparks Debate

The team that discovered gravitational waves put their data online. Now an independent group of researchers claims that they’ve found what might be a serious problem.