New Scientist 8 Aug 2019, 16:43 UTC Fast radio bursts could be the key to a greater understanding of the cosmos. If we can use these milliseconds-long bursts of radio waves to measure distances across space, it may help us figure out the true nature of dark energy.
Starts With a Bang! 8 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC Take a look out there at the Universe, and while the stars might give off the light that you’ll first notice, a deeper look shows that there’s much more out there. The brightest, most massive stars, by their very nature, have the shortest lifespans, as they burn through their fuel far more quickly than their lower-mass counterparts. Once they’ve reached their limits and can fuse elements no further, they reach the end of their lives and become stellar corpses. But these corpses come in multiple varieties: white dwarfs for the lowest-mass (e.g., Sun-like) stars, neutron stars for the next tier up, and black holes for the most massive stars of all. While most stars themselves may spin relatively slowly, black holes rotate at nearly the speed of light. This might seem counterintuitive, but under the laws of physics, it couldn’t be any other way. Here’s why.
ABC 8 Aug 2019, 10:29 UTC In very important news, a bunch of microscopic, virtually indestructible creatures known as tardigrades (or water bears, depending on who you ask) may or may not have survived a crash landing on the Moon.
Universe Today 7 Aug 2019, 22:24 UTC Since the “Golden Age of General Relativity” in the 1960s, scientists have held that much of the Universe consists of a mysterious invisible mass known as “Dark Matter“. Since then, scientists have attempted to resolve this mystery with a double-pronged approach. On the one hand, astrophysicists have attempted to find a candidate particle that could account for this mass.
Starts With a Bang! 7 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC Sometimes, the solution to a puzzle you’ve been stymied by lies in a place you’ve already looked. Only, until you develop better-precision tools than you’ve used to conduct your previous searches, you won’t be able to find it. This has played out many times in the sciences, from the discovery of new particles to uncovering phenomena like radioactivity, gravitational waves, or dark matter and dark energy. We’ve been looking for new particles not predicted by the Standard Model with an enormous variety of experiments for decades, from accelerators to underground laboratories to rare, exotic decays of everyday particles. Despite decades of searching, no beyond-the-Standard-Model particles have ever turned up. But recently, searches have begun to consider light dark matter, despite having already looked in that expected range. We have to look better, and one unexplained experimental result is the reason why.
The Planetary Society Blog 6 Aug 2019, 16:17 UTC The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft is continuing to sail on sunlight in Earth orbit. The high point, or apogee of the spacecraft's orbit around the Earth was 729 kilometers on Monday, 5 August—an increase of 3.2 kilometers since sail deployment on 23 July. The spacecraft has also captured a few new images, which are available on our raw image downlink page.
Starts With a Bang! 6 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC When it comes to cataclysmic events in the Universe — wherever large-magnitude astrophysical interactions cause an enormous release of energy — our understanding of the laws of physics tells us that there are three possible ways to detect and measure them. The first is the most familiar: through light, or electromagnetic waves. The second is through the arrival of particles: like cosmic rays or energetic neutrinos. And the third, which first came to fruition just under four years ago, is from the detection of gravitational waves. Since gravitational wave detection first occurred, astronomers have been hoping for the ultimate event: a signal that would be identifiable and detectable via all three methods. It’s never been observed before, but ever since LIGO started its latest data-taking run in April, it’s been the not-so-secret hope of astronomers of all types. With a new candidate event observed on Sunday, July 28, 2019, we might have just hit the jackpot.