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  • Supernova 1987A
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Your search has returned 204 articles:
  • Feature

    When a nearby star goes supernova, scientists will be ready

    Almost every night that the constellation Orion is visible, physicist Mark Vagins steps outside to peer at a reddish star at the right shoulder of the mythical figure. “You can see the color of Betelgeuse with the naked eye. It’s very striking, this red, red star,” he says. “It may not be in my lifetime, but one of these days, that star is going to explode.”

    With a radius about 900 times...

    02/08/2017 - 08:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • Feature

    30 years later, supernova 1987A is still sharing secrets

    View the video

    Ian Shelton was alone at a telescope in the remote Atacama Desert of Chile. After three hours getting a picture of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a wispy galaxy that orbits the Milky Way, he was plunged into darkness. High winds had taken hold of the rolltop door in the observatory’s roof, slamming it shut.

    “This was maybe telling me I should just call it a night,” says...

    02/08/2017 - 08:00 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Year in review: A planet lurks around the star next door

    Worlds in the Alpha Centauri system — the trio of stars closest to our sun — have been a staple of science fiction for decades. From Star Trek to Avatar, writers have dreamed up exotic landscapes (and inhabitants) for interstellar explorers to encounter. Now a planet around one of those stars is no longer fiction.

    In August, breathless headlines heralded the discovery of a small,...

    12/14/2016 - 07:39 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • Feature

    Star-starved galaxies fill the cosmos

    Not all galaxies sparkle with stars. Galaxies as wide as the Milky Way but bereft of starlight are scattered throughout our cosmic neighborhood. Unlike Andromeda and other well-known galaxies, these dark beasts have no grand spirals of stars and gas wrapped around a glowing core, nor are they radiant balls of densely packed stars. Instead, researchers find just a wisp of starlight from a...

    11/29/2016 - 11:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News

    New data give clearer picture of Higgs boson

    CHICAGO — It’s a Higgs boson bonanza for particle physicists, who are capitalizing on the newest data from the Large Hadron Collider to delve more deeply into the particle’s properties. Scientists are keeping a keen eye out for any deviations from the standard model of particle physics, the overarching theory that describes elementary particles and their interactions.

    The Higgs boson’s...

    08/11/2016 - 05:30 Particle Physics
  • Feature

    New telescopes will search for signs of life on distant planets

    View the slideshow

    Our galaxy is teeming with planets. Over the last 25 years, astronomers have cataloged about 2,000 worlds in 1,300 systems scattered around our stellar neighborhood. While most of these exoplanets look nothing like Earth (and in some cases, like nothing that orbits our sun), the bonanza of alien worlds implies a tantalizing possibility: There is a lot of real estate...

    04/19/2016 - 09:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets, Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • Feature

    Will we know extraterrestrial life when we see it?

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    In a 1967 episode of Star Trek, Captain Kirk and crew investigated the mysterious murders of miners on the planet Janus VI. The killer, it turned out, was a rock monster called the Horta. But the Enterprise’s sensors hadn’t registered any signs of life in the creature. The Horta was a silicon-based life-form, rather than carbon-based like living things on Earth.

    ...

    04/18/2016 - 12:00 Astrobiology, Cells, Microbiology
  • Essay

    The long road to detecting gravity waves

    The January e-mail from Syracuse University physicist Peter Saulson caught me off guard. It probably shouldn’t have, since I had been anticipating the news for 16 years, ever since I wrote Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony. The book chronicled the astrophysical community’s most cutting-edge start-up: gravity wave astronomy.

    Saulson’s message meant that Einstein’s symphony is no longer “...

    02/11/2016 - 10:40 Physics, Astronomy
  • Editor's Note

    Climate, new physics and Jupiter on the horizon for 2016

    It’s fitting that the first issue of the new year features stories about what will, I predict, hold on as scientific newsmakers during 2016. For instance, Thomas Sumner reports on the historic agreement that aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. Exactly how to cut carbon emissions enough to achieve this, and news about climate change’s impacts, will surely get major ink this...

    01/04/2016 - 16:33 Science & Society, Particle Physics, Climate, Anthropology, Genetics
  • Feature

    Einstein's genius changed science's perception of gravity

    Albert Einstein opened humankind’s eyes to the universe.

    Before Einstein, space seemed featureless and changeless, as Isaac Newton had defined it two centuries earlier. And time, Newton declared, flowed at its own pace, oblivious to the clocks that measured it. But Einstein looked at space and time and saw a single dynamic stage — spacetime — on which matter and energy strutted,...

    10/04/2015 - 05:30 Astronomy, Physics, History of Science