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  • Context

    Top 10 cosmological discoveries

    Talk about making a cosmic ripple. This week’s report of gravity waves from the Big Bang is the biggest cosmological news of the century. It’s the science news equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane or F5 tornado. If the new results hold up, the understanding of the universe will have taken a bigger leap for humankind than hopping around on the moon. And the BICEP2 result will join an...

    03/21/2014 - 09:34 Cosmology, History of Science
  • Feature

    Everlasting light

    On the next clear night, go outside and look up. If you’re away from city lights, you may be amazed by the darkness of the sky between the stars. But what looks like inky black isn’t really so. Even the darkest of night skies still contains the light of all the stars that ever shone.

    Photons, or particles of light, are born in the nuclear...

    08/23/2013 - 12:41 Cosmology
  • News

    Universe is a teeny bit older than thought

    The universe is a little older and perhaps a bit stranger than previously thought, according to the best measurements ever taken of the radiation left over from just after the Big Bang. Presented March 21 at a press conference in Paris, the data from the Planck satellite combine to form a map of the remnant glow that largely affirms scientists' theories about the universe's early history. But...

    03/21/2013 - 06:24 Physics, Cosmology
  • Feature

    Inflation on Trial

    Ask any astronomer what inflation is, and you’ll hear about the moment when the universe’s primordial fireball expanded like a balloon on steroids, smoothing and flattening its initial wrinkles before it grew into the cosmos seen today.

    Now, some physicists are trying to let a little air out of that scenario.

    Generally regarded as one of the most successful theories about the early...

    07/13/2012 - 09:35 Cosmology
  • Feature

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1990s

    Climate in flux More than half a century ago, temperature records from Antarctica and the Arctic showed data “consistent with the theory that the entire world is slowly getting warmer,” Science News Letter reported. This low-grade fever began around 1900 and was believed “to amount to some two or three degrees each century” (2/28/59, p. 131). But not until the 1990s would climate...

    03/09/2012 - 12:16 Science & Society
  • Feature

    Mission: reveal the secrets of the universe

    The Objective

    For millennia, people have turned to the heavens in search of clues to nature’s mysteries. Truth seekers from ages past to the present day have found that the Earth is not the center of the universe, that countless galaxies dot the abyss of space, that an unknown form of matter and dark forces are at work in shaping the cosmos. Yet despite these heroic efforts, big...

    04/13/2011 - 14:25
  • Feature

    Tools for the mission

    Hunting data

    A number of instruments now operating or proposed can troll the skies or otherwise help to answer some of the most puzzling questions about the universe.

    Planck  A European Space Agency observatory launched in 2009, Planck is recording a more detailed picture of the cosmic microwave background, the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang, than its...
    04/13/2011 - 14:24
  • Feature

    Timeline: Seeing better

    1608 Invention of the telescope. Claimed by Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey, although others (including Jacob Metius and Zacharias Janssen) are also sometimes credited. GALILEO'S TELESCOPE | Istituto e Museo di Storia Della Scienza1609 Galileo improves the telescope and begins using it for astronomy, starting with lunar observations. Source: Gary Brown/Photo Researchers Inc1611...
    05/08/2009 - 14:11
  • News

    Nobel prizes recognize things great and small

    The 2006 Nobel prizes in the sciences were announced early this week. U.S. scientists swept the field.

    Physiology or Medicine

    Eight years after revealing a mechanism that cells use to regulate protein production, a pair of U.S. scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

    Andrew Fire of the Stanford University School of Medicine and Craig Mello of the...

    10/04/2006 - 11:20 Humans & Society
  • News

    Sounds of the universe confirm Big Bang

    The early universe rang like a bell. Although scientists have known that for many years, they've been deaf to the full richness of that ancient ringing.

    Astronomers now report the results of two experiments that tuned in the Big Bang's relic vibrations. They say that this newly detected primordial fanfare proclaims as never before that all the structures in the...

    05/31/2001 - 10:21 Astronomy