The Truth Behind Interstellar's "Scientifically Accurate" Black Hole

You've probably heard that the black hole in Interstellar was a simulation of unprecedented scientific accuracy. You may also have heard that its creation led to an "amazing scientific discovery" having to do with the shape of its accretion disk, which loops over and under its dark, central shadow. Neither of these… » 2/17/15 12:10pm 2/17/15 12:10pm

This Active Herculean Galaxy Is A Beautiful Start To The New Year

Start the year off with something beautiful: this is Hercules A, a galaxy 1.9 billion light years away. This beauty hides a bite: its central black hole is a devouring monster 1,000 times the mass of our own Sagittarius A* with screaming jets nearly a million light years out. » 1/01/15 6:00pm 1/01/15 6:00pm

This Dying Star Is The Center Of The Coldest Place In The Universe

Until NASA's Cold Lab comes online in 2016, the coldest place in the universe is a faint scattering of gas and dust 5,000 light years away in the Centaurus constellation. The Boomerang Nebula is just 1 degree above absolute zero, colder than the natural background temperature of space. » 12/18/14 5:02pm 12/18/14 5:02pm

Yes, Time Travel Is Possible; Here's How

Time travel's been one of man's wildest fantasies for centuries. It's long been a popular trend in movies and fiction, inspiring everything from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine to the Charlton Heston shrine that is The Planet of the Apes. And with the opening of Interstellar » 11/05/14 6:28pm 11/05/14 6:28pm

Turbulence Prevents Star Formation In Galaxy Clusters

Galaxy clusters are large clouds of hot gas, seemingly-ideal places to observe gas cooling and condensing into stars. Yet, we don't see that happening. Here's a look at how black holes and turbulence are conspiring to keep galaxy clusters underpopulated with hot new stars. » 11/03/14 12:52am 11/03/14 12:52am

What Lit Up The Universe? Astronomers May Be On The Brink Of An Answer

Most scientists can see, hear, smell, touch or even taste their research. But astronomers can only study light — photons traveling billions of light-years across the cosmos before getting scooped up by an array of radio dishes or a single parabolic mirror orbiting the Earth. » 8/28/14 9:20am 8/28/14 9:20am

First Close-Up Photos Of The Solar System's "Most Crazy Bonkers Comet"

In March 2004, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft left Earth in pursuit of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Today, more than 10 years and four billion miles later, Rosetta became the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet. The probe is now soaring through space in tandem with its target – and the view is… » 8/06/14 9:50am 8/06/14 9:50am