The big mystery concerning the origin of the universe is how the star clusters, planetary systems, galaxies, and other objects that we now see managed to evolve out of nothing. There is a widespread belief within the scientific community that the birth of structure in the universe lies in the crossing of a quantum phase transition and that the faster the transition is crossed, the more structure it generates. Important new findings contradict that belief.
Continue reading "A "Just Right" Universe --New Insights from the Quantum World" »
Radiation from sources in our galaxy could have had a profound effect on mutation rates throughout the history of life on Earth. Studying ancient life on Earth is important for astrobiologists who are interested in how speciation and radiation occurred throughout the history of our planet. However, it’s not always easy to pinpoint these events in time. For instance, when looking back at the history of life, there is a disparity between fossil ages and molecular divergence dates for some groups of organisms.
Continue reading "NASA: Radiation from the Milky Way --"Could Have Had a Profound Effect on Mutation Rates"" »
The indications of climate change are all around us today but now researchers have revealed for the first time when and where the first clear signs of global warming appeared in the temperature record and where those signals are likely to be clearly seen in extreme rainfall events in the near future.
Continue reading "Anthropocene Global-Warming Tipping Point --"Early Warning Signals Observed"" »
Observations using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory revealed that the unusually large magnetosphere around an O-type star called NGC 1624-2 contains a raging storm of extreme stellar winds and dense plasma that gobbles up X-rays before they can escape into space. The image above shows the open star cluster NGC 1624. The blue arrow pinpoints the star NGC 1624-2.
Continue reading "Extreme Star Discovered --Brightest in the Universe With a Massive Magnetic Field" »
The center of our Milky Way galaxy is a mysterious place. Not only is it thousands of light-years away, it's also cloaked in so much dust that most stars within are rendered invisible. Harvard researchers are proposing a new way to clear the fog and spot stars hiding there. They suggest looking for radio waves coming from supersonic stars.
Continue reading "Radio Waves Reveal Hidden Stars at Milky Way's Center" »
Scientists working with ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment), a heavy-ion detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) ring, have made precise measurements of particle mass and electric charge that confirm the existence of a fundamental symmetry in nature. The investigators include Brazilian researchers affiliated with the University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of Campinas (UNICAMP).
Continue reading "CERN: "Confirms the Fundamental Symmetry of the Universe"" »
The news last week of NASA's confirmation of the existence of a vast global ocean on Enceladus casts a spotlight on Saturn's icy moon as the most potentially habitable spot beyond Earth in the Solar System for life as we know it. Yesterday's news confirms much of what scientists predicted at a June 2011 meeting of the Enceladus Focus Group at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. We thought it would be fascinating to take a deep dive and revisit these earlier predictions.
Continue reading "VIDEO: NASA's Ocean Confirmation "Moves Enceladus's to the Top of the 'Most Habitable Spot' Beyond Earth" (Last Week's Most Popular)" »
Nearly all black holes come in one of two sizes: stellar mass black holes that weigh up to a few dozen times the mass of our sun or supermassive black holes ranging from a million to several billion times the sun's mass. Astronomers believe that medium-sized black holes between these two extremes exist, but evidence has been hard to come by, with roughly a half-dozen candidates described so far.
Continue reading "New NASA Discovery: Existence of a Third Major Class of Black Holes" »
One of the most surprising scientific discoveries of the 20th century was that spiral galaxies, such as our own Milky Way, rotate much faster than expected, powered by an extra gravitational force of invisible ‘dark matter’. Since this discovery 40 years ago, we have learned this mysterious substance, which is probably an exotic elementary particle, makes up about 85 per cent of the mass in the known Universe, leaving only 15 per cent to be the ordinary stuff encountered in our everyday lives.
Continue reading "Surprising Similarities Between Spiral and Elliptical Galaxies --"Implies Influence of Hidden Forces" (Weekend Feature)" »
If only calculating the distance between Earth and far-off galaxies was as easy as pulling out the old measuring tape. Now UBC researchers are proposing a new way to calculate distances in the cosmos using mysterious bursts of energy. University of British Columbia researchers propose a new way to calculate cosmological distances using the bursts of energy also known as fast radio bursts. The method allows researchers to position distant galaxies in three dimensions and map out the cosmos.
Continue reading "Mysterious Bursts of Cosmic Energy Enable Creation of a 3-D Image the Universe" »