A new water world

Saturn’s ice-covered moon Enceladus could harbor a warm-water ocean beneath its frozen surface, opening up new possibilities for life beyond Earth. Enceladus has fascinated astronomers since 2005, when NASA’s Cassini probe caught geysers on the moon’s south pole spewing out plumes of salty water. Water that is thought to have originated in an ocean buried beneath the moon’s 25-mile-thick ice […]

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A monster black hole

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 gives off […]

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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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