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 […]

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Mysterious signal from deep space

Mysterious signal from deep space

Mysterious radio signals from space have been known to repeat, but for the first time, researchers have noticed a pattern in a series of bursts coming from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth. Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are millisecond-long bursts of radio waves in space. Individual radio bursts emit once and don’t repeat. But repeating fast […]

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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 […]

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How the moon was made

How the moon was made

People always wonder how the moon was made. The birth of the planets 4.5 billion years ago was extremely violent. They grew to full size by absorbing rival planet embryos in a series of titanic collisions—one of which probably gave Earth its moon (below). The moon’s large size, low density, and other features suggest that it emerged from an explosion […]

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A Moon With Water

Astrobiologists searching the heavens for extraterrestrial life have a simple motto: “Follow the water, ”says The Washington Post. Water is an essential ingredient in all earthly biochemistry, so scientists believe it’s logical to look for life first on planets and moons with liquid water.New data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft indicate that Enceladus, a tiny, ice-encrusted moon orbiting Saturn, may be […]

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Relics of the big bang

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 astronomer Jason […]

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