A monster black hole

5.0 01 An international team of astronomers has detected a colossal black hole that is 12 billion times more massive than the sun—so big that it is challenging accepted cosmological thinking. Scientists discovered the enormous celestial body, which is 12.8 billion light-years from Earth, at the center of a brilliantly glowing quasar, a cloud of gas that gets superheated and […]

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Earth’s bigger, older cousins

4.7 04 Astronomers have discovered the larg­est rocky planet yet, and its existence has profound implications for our understanding of the early universe and the potential for extraterrestrial life. Kepler-10c, which was spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, has a diameter of roughly 18,000 miles—more than twice that of Earth —prompting scientists to create a new class of planets, dubbed […]

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Relics of the big bang

4.5 02 Astronomers have discovered two clouds of gas some 12 billion light-years away that appear to preserve the primordial conditions of the universe in the minutes after the big bang. The clouds contain just hydrogen and its isotope deuterium, making them “the first examples to fit precisely” into what scientists think the early universe was like, University of California […]

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Strange Recordings As Aging Space Probe Impacts Mercury

4.7 07 WASHINGTON, D.C. During a press conference last month, NASA released a slew of odd sound recordings and video from the Messenger probe just moments before it’s impact on Mercury. Scientists are working to decipher the meaning of the data, but some agree that the recordings sound like human voices crying out in agony. The Messenger probe had been […]

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Orbital Chaos Inevitable

5.0 02 It’s a little bit less certain that the inner planets— Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars—will still be around to die that way. “There is a one percent chance the inner solar system will go dramatically unstable during the next five billion years,” says Laughlin. The problem is a weird long-distance connection between Jupiter and Mercury. When Jupiter’s closest […]

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The most Earth-like planet yet

5.0 02 Have we found Earth’s twin? For the first time, astronomers have identified a planet outside our solar system that is both Earth-size and orbits its star in the so-called Goldilocks zone, where temperatures may be “just right” for supporting liquid water—and, therefore, life. Researchers discovered the planet while reviewing data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which has spent […]

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