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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.

Computer simulation of gravitational waves produced by a binary neutron star merger.
Abstractions blog

‘Radical Change’ Needed After Latest Neutron Star Collision

February 20, 2020

A recent neutron star merger has defied astronomers’ expectations, leading them to question longstanding ideas about neutron stars and the supernovas that create them. “We have to go back to the drawing board.”

Supernova in galaxy NGC 5584.
Abstractions blog

No Dark Energy? No Chance, Cosmologists Contend

December 17, 2019

A study challenged the evidence for the mysterious antigravitational force known as dark energy. Then cosmologists shot back.

Illustration of a magnetar with blue magnetic field lines.
Abstractions blog

The Most-Magnetic Objects in the Universe Attract New Controversy

October 28, 2019

How do magnetars get so magnetic? A study of stellar explosions shows that the long-accepted theory might be wrong.

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.

Art for "How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals"
Abstractions blog

How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals

January 15, 2019

Subatomic particles called muons are thought to have streamed through the atmosphere and irradiated megafauna like the monster shark megalodon.

Photo of Large Magellan Cloud rotating clockwise.
Abstractions blog

What Astronomers Are Learning From Gaia’s New Milky Way Map

May 8, 2018

A roundup of some of the most important discoveries gleaned so far from the Gaia space observatory’s new map of the galaxy.

‘Crazy’ Supernova Looks Like a New Kind of Star Death

‘Crazy’ Supernova Looks Like a New Kind of Star Death

November 8, 2017

Astronomers are mystified by a strange star explosion in a distant galaxy that might be a relic from an earlier cosmological era.

Abstractions blog

Cookie-Cutter Supernovas Might Come in Different Flavors

July 31, 2017

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.