Jupiter’s Destructive Path

Earth may owe its existence to the planet Jupiter. New research shows that the giant planet played a key role in the formation of the solar system by barreling through it like a cosmic wrecking ball, destroying existing planets and creating debris that coalesced into new ones, including ours. Astronomers began examining this theory after finding that virtually all of […]

Read more

The biggest thing in the universe

British astronomers have identified a celestial object so large that it challenges scientists’ basic assumptions about the nature of the universe. Huge-LQG is a cluster of 73 quasars, each of which lies at the center of its own galaxy.The structure measures 4 billion light-years across at its greatest dimension; our own Milky Way galaxy, which is 100,000 light-years across, is […]

Read more

The secrets of supermassive black holes

Astronomers have spotted the most enormous black holes ever detected, inspiring new theories about how such pockets of extreme gravity form. Together, the two objects, which are roughly 300 million light-years away, have more mass than 30 billion suns, University of California at Berkeley astrophysicist Chung-Pei Ma tells the Associated Press. “They are monstrous,” she says. The smaller of the […]

Read more

Our sun’s hotter sister

Stars are not born alone. Rather, they emerge from clouds of gas and dust in groups of up to 10,000, then slowly scatter through space. For the first time, astronomers have identified a star that came from the same solar nursery as our sun, some 4.5 billion years ago. This stellar relative—located 110 light-years away in the constellation Hercules—is hotter […]

Read more

Gold’s cosmic origins

gold meteor

All the gold on Earth was forged in the collisions of massively dense stars billions of years ago. Astronomers have come to this conclusion after observing and analyzing the afterglow of a crash between two neutron stars in a galaxy 3.9 billion light-years away that yielded a hoard of gold likely equal to the mass of 20 Earths. “At today’s […]

Read more
1 2 3 4