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galaxies

Photo of a sign reading “To Telescope” near Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Quantized Columns

Social Distancing From the Stars

August 11, 2020

Professional astronomers may not point their telescopes by hand anymore, but COVID-19 has still closed observatories and impeded research.

Video of hot gas falling into a supermassive black hole.
Abstractions blog

Why Are Black Holes So Bright?

April 22, 2020

And why is the black hole at the center of our own galaxy so dim?

Video simulation of gas around a black hole.
astrophysics

Astronomers Find Black Holes Stirring Up the Biggest Galaxies

December 12, 2019

After a space telescope disintegrated, astrophysicists had little hope of understanding how supermassive black holes agitate giant galaxies. Then they invented a hack.

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.

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

Missing Galaxies? Now There’s Too Many

January 9, 2019

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

Art for "Galactic Beacons Get Snuffed Out in a Cosmic Eyeblink"
astrophysics

Galactic Beacons Get Snuffed Out in a Cosmic Eyeblink

November 21, 2018

Quasars powered by supermassive black holes have been unexpectedly vanishing. Scientists have started to figure out why.

astrophysics

Astronomers Creep Up to the Edge of the Milky Way’s Black Hole

October 30, 2018

Hot spots have been discovered orbiting just outside the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center. Their motions have given us the closest look at that violent environment.

Illustration of a galaxy simulation.
cosmology

The Universe Is Not a Simulation, but We Can Now Simulate It

June 12, 2018

Computer simulations have become so accurate that cosmologists can now use them to study dark matter, supermassive black holes and other mysteries of the real evolving cosmos.

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.