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telescopes

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.

Art for "Interstellar Visitor Found to Be Unlike a Comet or an Asteroid"
astronomy

Interstellar Visitor Found to Be Unlike a Comet or an Asteroid

October 10, 2018

The mystery of ’Oumuamua, the first interstellar object ever observed, continues to deepen.

Illustration for "Why Can’t We Find Planet Nine?"
Abstractions blog

Why Can’t We Find Planet Nine?

July 3, 2018

Astronomers suspect that there’s a large planet hiding out in the distant fringes of the solar system. At a recent workshop, they brainstormed ways to coax it into view.

Victoria Meadows in her garden with her cockatoo.
Thinking Places

Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life

June 5, 2018

A living, breathing garden in Seattle serves as the perfect backdrop to an astrobiologist’s search for life on faraway planets.

Jay Pasachoff
Q&A

Eclipse Hunter Reveals the Science That Can Only Be Done in the Dark

August 10, 2017

Even in the age of sun-observing satellites, astronomers like Jay Pasachoff still seek out total solar eclipses for the tales they can tell about our sun.

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.

Q&A

A Cosmic-Ray Hunter Takes to the Sky

April 27, 2017

Angela Olinto’s new balloon experiment takes her one step closer to the unknown source of the most energetic particles in the universe.

Abstractions blog

Off-the-Shelf Lens Assists Dark Matter Find

September 28, 2016

A camera lens often used by wildlife and sports photographers has helped astronomers learn about dark matter and galaxy formation.

Q&A

A Seeker of Dark Matter’s Hidden Light

September 1, 2016

The astrophysicist Tracy Slatyer is searching for faint wisps of dark matter annihilating in the early universe — and perhaps in hiding places closer to home.