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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 14, 2020. 5 comments

Has Hubble Detected Rogue Clumps of Dark Matter?

Has Hubble Detected Rogue Clumps of Dark Matter?

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered evidence of small clumps of dark matter warping the light from distant quasars.

Regular matter seems to form only a small part of the universe—much more of the matter seems to be “dark” stuff that influences regular matter via gravity but can’t be detected directly. The most widely accepted theory to explain dark matter suggests that...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 11, 2020. 5 comments

A New Study Claims to Disprove Dark Energy—but Cosmologists Aren't Convinced

A New Study Claims to Disprove Dark Energy—but Cosmologists Aren't Convinced

It would be really, really exciting if a single observation could completely overturn astrophysicists’ current understanding of the universe. But that hasn’t happened yet, at least with regards to dark energy.

This week, a press release proclaimed that “new evidence shows that the key assumption made in the discovery of dark energy is in error,” garnering some attention from astronomers and...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Dec 12, 2019. 1 comments

This Dust-Filled Galaxy Formed Less than a Billion Years After the Big Bang

This Dust-Filled Galaxy Formed Less than a Billion Years After the Big Bang

Astronomers have spotted an unusually distant star-forming galaxy, the light of which took a whopping 13 billion years to reach Earth. Perhaps most incredibly, however, the galaxy was observed directly, without the help of a celestial phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

This galaxy is called MAMBO-9, and it was actually detected 10 years ago with the Max-Planck Millimeter Bolometer...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Dec 03, 2019. 11 comments

A Radio Telescope Is Now Scanning Deep Space From the Moon’s Far Side

A Radio Telescope Is Now Scanning Deep Space From the Moon’s Far Side

For the first time in astronomical history, a space-based radio telescope is gathering data from the Moon’s far side, in a location free from Earth’s interference. This collaboration between China and the Netherlands could provide new insights into the conditions of the early universe.

The instrument, called the Netherlands-China Low Frequency Explorer (NCLE), is located on Queqiao, a Chinese...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Nov 21, 2019. 7 comments

Strongest Gamma-Ray Bursts Ever Recorded Are Illuminating the Universe's Most Powerful Explosions

Strongest Gamma-Ray Bursts Ever Recorded Are Illuminating the Universe's Most Powerful Explosions

An international team of astronomers has detected a pair of gamma-ray bursts with energies more powerful than anything ever seen before. GRBs are the strongest explosions known in the cosmos, but these latest observations suggests we’ve significantly underestimated their true potential.

Three new papers published today in Nature describe two new gamma-ray bursts—GRB 190114C and GRB...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Aug 21, 2019. 1 comments

A New Experiment Narrows Potential Properties of Dark Energy Particle

A New Experiment Narrows Potential Properties of Dark Energy Particle

An experiment in the United Kingdom has failed to find evidence of a particle meant to explain most of the universe’s mass. But the search isn’t over.

When cosmologists observe the way the universe expands, they find that present-day theories of matter can’t explain most of the universe’s energy. They call the unknown energy “dark energy,” and theorists have tried to explain it by proposing...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Aug 10, 2019. 3 comments

This Theory Could Breathe New Life Into the Hunt for Dark Matter

This Theory Could Breathe New Life Into the Hunt for Dark Matter

Physicists don’t know where most of the universe’s apparent mass has gone, and attempts to find it have so far failed. But a proposed particle born out of the universe’s chaotic first moments may provide a candidate and a reasonable way to look for it.

This proposal suggests that dark matter formed before the Big Bang, but in a jargon-y, physicist sense of the phrase—the hypothetical particle...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jun 28, 2019. 10 comments

Mysterious Cosmic Radio Burst Detected in a Completely Unexpected Region of Space

Mysterious Cosmic Radio Burst Detected in a Completely Unexpected Region of Space

For years, astronomers have struggled to understand the source of fast radio bursts, powerful split-second pulses of energy that originate far outside our galaxy. In an astonishing technical feat, astronomers have finally managed to pinpoint the galactic origin of a one-off FRB—but its unexpected location in space suggests scientists need to go back to the drawing board.

New research published...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jun 19, 2019. 12 comments

Astronomers Peer Back 13 Billion Years and See Two Galaxies Colliding

Astronomers Peer Back 13 Billion Years and See Two Galaxies Colliding

Scientists have spotted one of the most distant (and therefore the youngest) example of merging galaxies yet observed, according to new results.

The team of researchers in Japan observed a distant source of light called B14-65666 using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array of telescopes in Chile. Higher-resolution data from light emitted by oxygen and carbon ions suggested to the...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jun 07, 2019. 11 comments

Astronomers Spot Mysterious, 10-Million-Light-Year-Long Magnetic Field Connecting Two Galaxy Clusters

Astronomers Spot Mysterious, 10-Million-Light-Year-Long Magnetic Field Connecting Two Galaxy Clusters

Scientists have detected radio waves emanating from the space between a pair of galaxy clusters—evidence of intergalactic magnetic fields and fast-moving particles in the space between these giant galactic assemblages.

The universe is comprised of a vast network of galaxy clusters sitting at the intersection of filaments. Galactic filaments are massive, threadlike formations of matter that...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jun 06, 2019. 8 comments

A Cool, Gassy Ring Has Been Detected Around Our Galaxy's Gigantic Black Hole

A Cool, Gassy Ring Has Been Detected Around Our Galaxy's Gigantic Black Hole

Using the ALMA observatory, scientists have detected a previously undocumented band of cool gas wrapped around the black hole at the core of our galaxy.

The immediate area surrounding the supermassive black hole is kind of intense. Called Sagittarius A*, this behemoth has a mass around 4 million times that of our Sun. As befits a supermassive black hole of that size, it has managed, through...

8 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Apr 27, 2019. 23 comments

Hubble Measurements Confirm There's Something Weird About How the Universe Is Expanding

Hubble Measurements Confirm There's Something Weird About How the Universe Is Expanding

New results from the Hubble Space Telescope have deepened one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy.

Astronomers know that the Universe is expanding, and the expansion is accelerating. Sometimes you’ll hear news stories claim that the Universe is expanding “faster than we thought.” But that’s not quite what’s going on. The rate of the expansion, called the Hubble constant, is the subject of an...

23 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Mar 08, 2019. 12 comments

How Heavy Is the Milky Way?

How Heavy Is the Milky Way?

By combining data from the Hubble and Gaia space telescopes, an international team of astronomers has come up with the most accurate estimate yet of our galaxy’s mass.

From stars, planets, and asteroids through to black holes and invisible dark matter, our galaxy is packed with a lot of stuff. The total mass of all this celestial stuff, however, is not something astronomers have been able to...

12 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Feb 27, 2019. 7 comments

Physicists Propose Hunting for Signs of Dark Matter in Ancient Minerals

Physicists Propose Hunting for Signs of Dark Matter in Ancient Minerals

Physicists typically build large, complex experiments to hunt for dark matter particles coming from outer space, but what if clues to its existence have been hiding inside the Earth all along? One group of physicists proposes hunting for signs of it in ancient minerals, such as olivine or gypsum, that formed in the Earth’s mantle or in seawater.

Experiments suggest that five-sixths of the...

7 Comments

Daniel Kolitz Daniel Kolitz Feb 18, 2019. 20 comments

What's at the Edge of the Universe?

What's at the Edge of the Universe?
Giz AsksIn this Gizmodo series, we ask questions about everything from space to butts and get answers from a variety of experts.  

It is a routine emotion in 2019 to urgently wish, four or five times in a day, to be launched not simply into space but to the very edge of the universe, as far as it is possible to get from the fever dream of bad weather, busted trains and potentially cancerous...

20 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Feb 15, 2019. 3 comments

New NASA Mission Will Look Back at Billions of Years of Cosmic History

New NASA Mission Will Look Back at Billions of Years of Cosmic History

A newly approved NASA mission, called SPHEREx, will use a space-based observatory to study the early conditions of the Universe and hunt for the celestial ingredients required for life.

Proposed in 2016, the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer mission, or SPHEREx for short, was chosen by NASA from eight other proposed missions because it...

3 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Feb 02, 2019. 10 comments

Astronomers Accidentally Discover a Hidden Galaxy Right Next Door

Astronomers Accidentally Discover a Hidden Galaxy Right Next Door
Your browser does not support HTML5 video tag.Click here to view original GIFThis computer animation uses real astronomical data to envision a trip through globular cluster NGC 6752, revealing the partially obscured dwarf galaxy Bedin 1 behind it.GIF: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser/Gizmodo

While inspecting a known globular cluster, a team of astronomers began to notice that some of its stars didn’t...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 10, 2019. 21 comments

Astronomers Just Detected a Mysterious Repeating Cosmic Radio Burst—Again

Astronomers Just Detected a Mysterious Repeating Cosmic Radio Burst—Again

Canadian scientists have detected 13 new fast radio bursts, those mysterious, split-second, high-energy pulses that reach us from unknown origins billions of light-years away. Intriguingly, one of these newly documented bursts is a repeater, becoming just the second-known repeating fast radio burst among the 60 documented so far.

First detected in 2002, fast radio bursts (FRBs) continue to...

21 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Nov 28, 2018. 15 comments

Expanding Universe Mystery Deepens

Expanding Universe Mystery Deepens

An important discrepancy in measurements of the universe’s acceleration has theorists wondering whether we’ve gotten something fundamentally wrong in our understanding of the history of the universe.

One currently unexplained cosmological mystery is the “Hubble tension,” where various measurements of the universe’s expansion seem to disagree. As the story surrounding this tension gets...

15 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Nov 08, 2018. 15 comments

Astronomers Have Stumbled Upon One of the Most Ancient Stars in the Universe

Astronomers Have Stumbled Upon One of the Most Ancient Stars in the Universe

A tiny star located about 1,590 light-years from Earth could be as old as 13.53 billion years, making it one of the most ancient stars ever discovered.

The diminutive “ultra metal-poor” star is called 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B—hereafter abbreviated to J1808-5104—and it was discovered by a team of astronomers led by Kevin C. Schlaufman from Johns Hopkins University. At an estimated 13.53...

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