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Atom & Cosmos

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sun illustration

SIGNS OF LINES  The sun’s magnetic field is connected to one in the corona, which is much weaker and therefore harder to observe. Together, they form a twisted mess, illustrated here as white lines (based partly on a model) over a 2016 image of the sun from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

example of gravitational lensing

TRICK OF THE LIGHT  Einstein showed that spacetime warps around massive bodies and makes light take different paths, as shown in this stellar smile in which a red galaxy distorts the light from a more distant blue galaxy.

two photons bounce off each other

TRAVELING LIGHT  Particles of light can scatter off one another, a new study suggests. Researchers from the ATLAS experiment (illustrated) at the Large Hadron Collider detected events in which two photons (yellow beams) bounced off each other in collisions of lead nuclei.

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