Search for Life Beyond Earth: Developing a Guidebook

Are we alone in the universe? Searching for life beyond our Solar System is one of the most ambitious efforts humans have ever undertaken. Because we do not have the ability to travel to distant exoplanets, scientists must rely on indirect clues that could help us find extraterrestrial life. Dr. Edward Schwieterman and his colleagues …

Stardust is raining down on Earth

It is all around us. Every day in our lives we are in contact with it. In fact, we are made from it: ancient stardust. All the atoms around us have witnessed the most violent explosions in the universe. Their journeys through space are the longest, roughest and loneliest voyages imaginable. Dominik Koll, Australian National …

Here’s how scientists planning to deflect asteroids that might damage Earth

Asteroids – the bits and pieces leftover from the formation of the inner planets – are a source of great curiosity for those keen to learn about the building blocks of our solar system, and to probe the chemistry of life. Humans are also considering mining asteroids for metals, but one of the crucial reasons …

Astronomers image the magnetic field of a black hole for the first time – here’s what it reveals

There was a lot of excitement when the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration showed the world the first ever image of a black hole back in April 2019. Weighing in at 6.5 million times the mass of our Sun, this supermassive black hole is located in the galaxy Messier 87, or M87, some 55 million light …

You’ll be amazed how cramped the TRAPPIST-1 System is

Science writer Pat Brennan has published a great article on the NASA exoplanets website titled “Life in the Universe: What are the Odds?”. In the article, he published a diagram showing the habitable zones of our solar system, and the TRAPPIST-1 system. The amazing thing is how cramped the TRAPPIST-1 system: the orbits of the …

SETI: new signal excites alien hunters – here’s how we could find out if it’s real

The US$100m (£70m) Breakthrough Listen Initiative, founded by Russian billionaire, technology and science investor Yuri Milner and his wife Julia, has identified a mysterious radio signal that seems to come from the nearest star to the Sun – Proxima Centauri. This has generated a flood of excitement in the press and among scientists themselves. The …

Galactic archaeology: astronomers are using stars as fossils to study the Milky Way

Understanding the stellar population of our galaxy could reveal a great deal, not only about our own home but also about the universe as a whole. So-called galactic archaeology can reveal how galaxies take shape and explain some of the interesting complexities of our own.