What's up in


A video in which a proton seems to be composed of three particles, but on zooming in, it turns out to be a swirling miasma.
quantum physics

Decades-Long Quest Reveals Details of the Proton’s Inner Antimatter

February 24, 2021

Twenty years ago, physicists set out to investigate a mysterious asymmetry in the proton’s interior. Their results, published today, show how antimatter helps stabilize every atom’s core.

Photograph showing cirrus clouds in a blue sky above an expanse of flat, snow-covered ice.
Abstractions blog

Cloud-Making Aerosol Could Devastate Polar Sea Ice

February 23, 2021

An overlooked but powerful driver of cloud formation could accelerate the loss of polar sea ice.

Black holes on a blue swirly background.
Abstractions blog

Growing Inventory of Black Holes Offers a Radical Probe of the Cosmos

February 17, 2021

One black hole is nice, but astrophysicists can do a lot more science with 50 of them.

An abstract black ball on a blue background.
Abstractions blog

In Violation of Einstein, Black Holes Might Have ‘Hair’

February 11, 2021

A new study shows that extreme black holes could break the famous “no-hair” theorem, and in a way that we could detect.

Matthew Genge in a yellow shirt and gray jacket seated at a microscope.

What Dust From Space Tells Us About Ourselves

February 4, 2021

Micrometeorites constantly fall on every corner of Earth. Matthew Genge is using these shards of interplanetary space to understand Earth and its place in the solar system.

Blue faults of Cerberus Fossae
planetary science

Rumbles on Mars Raise Hopes of Underground Magma Flows

February 1, 2021

Small and cold, Mars has long been considered a dead planet. But a series of recent discoveries has forced scientists to rethink how recently its insides stopped churning — if they ever stopped at all.

Historical star chart of the constellation Monoceros.
Abstractions blog

‘Unicorn’ Discovery Points to a New Population of Black Holes

January 27, 2021

Small black holes were nowhere to be found, leading astronomers to wonder if they didn’t exist at all. Now a series of findings, including a “unicorn” black hole, has raised hopes of solving the decade-long mystery.

Close-up photograph of a soap bubble with a spot on it that looks as though it must have come from a collision.
Abstractions blog

Physicists Study How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide

January 25, 2021

Since they can’t prod actual universes as they inflate and bump into each other in the hypothetical multiverse, physicists are studying digital and physical analogs of the process.

Abstractions blog

Secret Ingredient Found to Power Supernovas

January 21, 2021

Three-dimensional supernova simulations have solved the mystery of why they explode at all.