Over-Hyped, Misunderstood, Or Retracted Space Science From This Year

It's been a good year for science with all sorts of awe-inspiring, beautiful, or weird discoveries. But not every story survived the followup. Here's the space science stories that fell apart under scrutiny, faded on reconsideration, or didn't make sense from the start. » 12/31/14 3:55pm 12/31/14 3:55pm

Was That Just a Gamma Ray Burst in Andromeda?! (Updated: No, but still…

The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission just saw something bright in the Andromeda Galaxy. It was either a Gamma-Ray Burst or an Ultraluminous X-Ray Object, but either way it will be the closest event we've ever observed. ...unless it's just a known X-ray object, a programming bug, and a thunderstorm.. » 5/27/14 8:23pm 5/27/14 8:23pm

We officially have no idea what causes ultra-powerful cosmic rays

Cosmic rays generate the most energetic particles in the universe, utterly dwarfing anything we can generate in particle accelerators. Astrophysicists thought these cosmic rays were created in powerful gamma-ray bursts. Turns out they were completely, utterly wrong. So now what? » 4/19/12 5:00pm 4/19/12 5:00pm

Deadly gamma-rays from an exploding star might have caused a mass…

In theory, a supernova thousands of light-years away could release gamma-rays that would fry most life on Earth. But the star must be positioned exactly right for this to ever happen, and there's no way to prove it. Until now. » 1/08/12 8:30am 1/08/12 8:30am

Mysterious gamma ray burst has two perfectly good, completely different…

NASA recently observed a cosmic explosion, and nobody knows what it was. Actually, that's not exactly true: there are actually two equally good, utterly different explanations. It was either a collision in our galaxy...or a supernova billions of light-years away. » 12/01/11 1:57pm 12/01/11 1:57pm

Faraway gamma-ray burst reveals what the most ancient galaxies were…

The image up top is an artist's impression of a gamma-ray burst blasting through a pair of galaxies on its billion-year journey to Earth. These ancient, incredibly powerful explosions reveal the composition of early galaxies. It's not what we expected. » 11/03/11 10:24am 11/03/11 10:24am

The universe probably isn't a giant hologram after all

One of the strangest and most exotic theories to come out of theoretical physics is that the entire universe is a projection of a two-dimensional shell. But the latest evidence suggests the cosmic hologram really is just a crazy theory. » 7/05/11 10:52am 7/05/11 10:52am

Is it possible we've found the first white hole?

White holes are the opposite of black holes, objects into which nothing can enter but are constantly spewing out matter. They were thought to be completely hypothetical, more a mathematical oddity than a real thing...but we may have seen one. » 5/25/11 10:50am 5/25/11 10:50am

Baby black holes could be the source of ultra-powerful gamma-ray bursts

Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful (and mysterious) explosions in the universe, shooting massive concentrated jets of hot plasma that are way too powerful to come from an ordinary supernova. And they might be the birth pangs of black holes. » 11/09/10 2:16pm 11/09/10 2:16pm

Mysterious blast of X-rays is by far the brightest ever recorded

A NASA telescope was temporarily blinded by the brightest X-rays ever detected from beyond our galaxy. The blinding light came from a gamma ray burst, the sign of a massive star collapsing into a black hole 500 billion light-years away. » 7/16/10 2:00pm 7/16/10 2:00pm