What's The Purpose Of The Universe? Here's One Possible Answer

It's tempting to think of the universe as a meaningless repository for celestial objects like planets and stars. But an intriguing theory suggests there's much more to the cosmos than meets the eye — and that black holes play an integral role in what our universe is actually trying to achieve. » 4/18/14 11:07am Friday 11:07am

It Seems More and More Certain That We Live in a Multiverse

Last week, physicists announced that they'd discovered evidence of gravitational waves in the early universe, which makes it more likely that our universe began with a bang and inflated from there. But that also means a whole host of other things, including possible multiverses. » 3/25/14 3:59pm 3/25/14 3:59pm

NASA Has Recovered 7 "Precious" Particles From The Solar System's Birth

It's been years since researchers overseeing NASA's sample-return Stardust mission first reported that the spacecraft had retrieved traces of cosmic dust – the tiny, interstellar particles that make up stars and planets. This week, they announced the net haul of their cosmic catch: Seven particles. SEVEN. » 3/22/14 9:00am 3/22/14 9:00am

Translating Physicist to Human

Watching Andrei Linde and Renata Kallosh hear that BICEP-2 found gravitational waves is heartwarming. But with a bit of translating of everything left unsaid, it becomes even more gut-wrenchingly awesome. Allow me to translate for you to see this through a physicist's eyes. » 3/19/14 6:42pm 3/19/14 6:42pm

What A Supernova Looks Like Just As It's About To Blow

You're looking at the first ever 3-D model of a supernova entering into the initial phase of its cataclysmic death throes. This is part of a new computer simulation that's radically changing our notions of what happens inside stars just before they explode. » 3/18/14 10:37am 3/18/14 10:37am

Incredible Discovery Provides Evidence for the Big Bang Theory

Today, Harvard's servers were brought to their knees dealing with international demand to watch a press conference about ... gravitational waves. It's no surprise: as physicist Marc Kamionkowski reflected, "It's not everyday you wake up and learn something completely new about the early universe." » 3/17/14 1:43pm 3/17/14 1:43pm

Have physicists finally detected gravitational waves?

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has news so big it announced that it would announce something. The press conference will stream live tomorrow at noon, but cosmologists everywhere are gossiping about what that news could be. The leading theory: Scientists have detected gravitational waves, in what would… » 3/16/14 3:24pm 3/16/14 3:24pm

New map reveals the Milky Way's location among the "Council of Giants"

Astronomers know that the Milky Way is parked within the Local Group of galaxies, an interstellar expanse extending 3 million light years across. But we know very little about the area just outside of this. A new map corrects this oversight, showing that we live among the "Council of Giants." » 3/11/14 8:00am 3/11/14 8:00am

Revised Cosmological Constant Predicts a Collapsing Universe

The going theory among cosmologists is that the universe will eventually rip itself to shreds owing to its ever-accelerating rate of expansion. Not so, say a pair of physicists who have just taken it upon themselves to reformulate an integral facet of general relativity: the cosmological constant. » 3/07/14 2:46pm 3/07/14 2:46pm

The real reason why Einstein came to believe in an expanding universe

According to legend, Albert Einstein changed his mind about the static state of the universe in 1931 after astronomer Edwin Hubble showed him evidence that the universe was expanding. A recent paper shows this is a myth — and that Einstein needed a lot more to change his mind. » 2/18/14 10:44am 2/18/14 10:44am

This is the oldest star that astronomers have ever discovered

An international team of astronomers has identified the earliest known star in the Universe. Considered a "second generation star," it formed shortly after the Big Bang — some 13.7 billion years ago. » 2/10/14 12:00pm 2/10/14 12:00pm

New theory suggests the universe emerged from a long, cold deep freeze

Conventional thinking has it that the universe and all the matter within it exploded out from a single point, the so-called Big Bang Singularity. But a German theoretical physicists says this never happened. Instead, the universe started empty and cold, slowly emerging from a deep freeze. » 2/03/14 4:00pm 2/03/14 4:00pm