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  • News

    Trying to get the down-low on gravity

    A subtle attraction between metallic strips could reveal the theorized but never detected particles that impart gravity.An experiment proposed in a Feb. 27 Physical Review Letters paper would explore whether fleeting waves of gravity in a vacuum perceptibly nudge two lead plates together. Detecting this attractive force,...
    03/02/2015 - 14:45 Quantum Physics, Cosmology
  • News

    Planet collisions may have rearranged crowded solar systems

    Sibling rivalries among planets can turn deadly. Families of worlds huddled close to their stars might destroy one another, leaving behind just one or two planets after the carnage. These family feuds probably erupt in planetary systems that form much differently than our own, though it’s possible our solar system suffered similar growing pains.Many multiplanet systems discovered by the Kepler...
    02/27/2015 - 12:39 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Mysterious bright spot on Ceres has a partner

    An enigmatic bright patch on the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest body between Mars and Jupiter, has a dimmer companion in the same basin. The duo, seen in an image from the Dawn spacecraft when it was about 46,000 kilometers from Ceres, could be a sign of...
    02/26/2015 - 14:45 Planetary Science
  • The –est

    Monster black hole lurks in the early universe

    When the universe was young, some black holes were terribly greedy. One of these black holes gobbled the mass of 12 billion suns by the time the universe was only about 860 million years old. This monster is the most massive known black hole in the early universe, clocking in at roughly six times as massive as other black holes from its time, researchers...
    02/25/2015 - 13:00 Astronomy
  • Letters to the Editor

    Water's unclear origins, shaky solutions to climate change and more reader feedback

    Water’s origin storyNew evidence suggests that comets may not have delivered water to Earth. Water detected in comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s hazy atmosphere isn’t a chemical match for Earth’s oceans, as Ashley Yeager reported in “Ocean water may not be from comets” (...
    02/25/2015 - 10:30 Earth, Planetary Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Ocean Worlds’ chronicles the story of water on Earth and across the cosmos

    Ocean Worlds: The Story of Seas on Earth and Other PlanetsJan Zalasiewicz and Mark WilliamsOxford Univ., $29.95The oceans of other worlds might look nothing...
    02/24/2015 - 09:00 Oceans, Planetary Science
  • 50 Years Ago

    Space simulations of 1960s focused on survival

    Outer space on Earth — In an effort to foresee as many as possible of the problems of space travel, man is building a vast array of strange testing devices, designed to create at least part of the feeling of space…. Experiments have been undertaken in places ranging from the bottom of the ocean (which simulates low gravity) to a rocket-powered vibration machine…. The toughest...
    02/19/2015 - 16:30 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    New Horizons spies two of Pluto’s moons

    The pictures may not be pretty, but the New Horizons spacecraft just got its first peek at two more of Pluto’s moons, Nix and Hydra, just in time for the 85th anniversary of Pluto’s discovery. The probe, scheduled to fly by Pluto on July 14, took the pictures while roughly 190 million kilometers from the dwarf planet...
    02/19/2015 - 13:16 Planetary Science
  • News

    The past according to Planck: Cosmologists got a lot right

    A new analysis of the universe’s first light has cosmologists simultaneously patting themselves on the back and scratching on their chalkboards. The results, obtained from the Planck satellite and posted online in February in a set of papers at, largely support the theoretical framework that cosmologists employ to describe the universe....
    02/19/2015 - 08:00 Cosmology, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Dwarf planet Ceres comes into view

    The Dawn spacecraft has snapped the most detailed photos to date of the dwarf planet Ceres. Craters and mysterious bright patches dot the landscape in a pair of images taken February 12 when Dawn was just 83,000 kilometers from Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter....
    02/18/2015 - 12:45 Planetary Science