What's up in

black holes

Illustration for Extreme Radio Bursts
astrophysics

Astronomers Trace Radio Burst to Extreme Cosmic Neighborhood

January 10, 2018

A mysterious object that repeatedly bursts with ultra-powerful radio waves must live in an extreme environment — something like the one around a supermassive black hole.

Magellan Baade telescope and CMB illustration
astrophysics

Earliest Black Hole Gives Rare Glimpse of Ancient Universe

December 6, 2017

It weighs as much as 780 million suns and helped to cast off the cosmic Dark Ages. But now that astronomers have found the earliest known black hole, they wonder: How could this giant have grown so big, so fast?

Plunge Into A (Virtual Reality) Black Hole
Multimedia

Plunge Into a (Virtual Reality) Black Hole

December 4, 2017

Join a fleet of robotic probes on a one-way virtual-reality trip into the abyss of a massive black hole.

A wormhole split in two with swirls of blue on one side and swirls of pink on the other with a ringed planet in the background.
theoretical physics

Newfound Wormhole Allows Information to Escape Black Holes

October 23, 2017

Physicists theorize that a new “traversable” kind of wormhole could resolve a baffling paradox and rescue information that falls into black holes.

LIGO
Abstractions blog

LIGO Architects Win Nobel Prize in Physics

October 3, 2017

The American physicists Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish were honored for dreaming up and realizing the experiment that confirmed the existence of gravitational waves.

Abstractions blog

For Astronomers, Neutron Star Merger Could Eclipse Eclipse

August 25, 2017

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

Joe Polchinsky at the Kavli Institute
Thinking Places

Joe Polchinski’s Restless Pursuit of Quantum Gravity

August 7, 2017

The pot-stirring string theorist and quantum gravity theorist never sits still for long.

Andrea Ghez in Hawaii
Q&A

Black-Hole Hunter Takes Aim at Einstein

July 27, 2017

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.

LIGO Hanford and Livingston
gravitational waves

Strange Noise in Gravitational-Wave Data Sparks Debate

June 30, 2017

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.