The mass of the Earth is big enough that the gravitational force it creates can pull the hard shape of ice, rock and metal into a sphere.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Imagine the Earth pulling everything it is made up of, all of its mass, towards its centre. This happens evenly all over the Earth, causing it to take on a round shape.
The Sun is currently middle-aged, having celebrated its 4,568,000,000th birthday at some point in the last million years.
In five or seven billion years time, the Sun's life will come to an end. And it will be really spectacular - if you're watching from far enough away.
Studying mysterious neutron stars could uncover the secrets of exotic physics – and a way to navigate the stars.
Artist’s conception of two merging black holes, spinning in a nonaligned fashion.
LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)
These ripples in the very fabric of the universe were hypothesized by Einstein a century ago. Now scientists have detected them for the third time in a year and a half – ushering in a new era in astrophysics.
andrey_l / Shutterstock.com
Simon John James and Richard Bower chat about differing conceptions of what it is to travel through time.
Have we really discovered other “Earth-like” planets orbiting around other stars? Understanding what we do and do not know about exoplanets is the key to answering this question.
ESO/L. Calcada/N. Risinger/Reuters
Over the last 20 years, advances in the field of exoplanet discovery have excited the imaginations of scientists and enthusiasts alike. But we're in position to know yet whether a planet is habitable.
Very few African universities offer postgraduate degrees in astronomy. This gap in knowledge and training can be addressed through international partnerships and collaboration.
Gravitational waves are produced by some of the most extreme events in the universe.
The OzGRav Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery will enable Australian researchers to be at the forefront of gravitational wave astronomy.
Specialized chamber to study dusty plasma in the lab.
The vast majority of matter in the universe is plasma: electrically charged gas. Scientists are untangling how dust interacts with plasma both in space and experimentally closer to home.
We can all reach for the stars in The Milky Way over Western Australia.
The drive the get more women involved in science should start at an early age. But as one space researcher found out, girls can get nudged out of science at school.
There are two broad ways to measure the expansion of the universe. One is based on the cosmic microwave background, shown here, along with our own galaxy viewed in microwave wavelengths.
ESA, HFI & LFI consortia (2010)
The universe is expanding faster than expected, but we don't know what's driving it. Here are a few of the possible explanations, from dark energy to a modification of general relativity.
A podcast on time: telling it, perceiving it, doing it and travelling through it.
You can learn a lot about the cosmos in the kitchen.
From supernovae explosions to the expansion of the universe and why the sky is blue: you can learn a lot about the universe in the kitchen.
A burst of ghostly neutrinos may have been generated by a quasar like this.
A burst of neutrinos detected deep under the Antarctic ice may have originated from a distant quasar on the edge of the visible universe.
Massive bodies can send ripples through space time in the form of gravitational waves.
The long awaited discovery of gravitational waves has sent ripples through the scientific world. Here top experts respond to the historic announcement.
Oh hey, I heard ripples in space and time, generated as two black holes merged. Call me back.
Here's a LIGO insider's description of how he got the news of a phenomenon that had first been theorized 100 years ago.
When two black holes collide, the resulting gravitational ripples can be felt across the cosmos.
The detection of gravitational waves is the final confirmation of Einstein's theory of general relativity, and opens up a new window into the cosmos.
Binary black holes come in a variety of forms, but they are all astounding.
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
It takes something as stupendous as the merger between two black holes to generate detectable gravitational waves. Here's how such incredible cosmic objects form.
The vast expanse of Western Australia is perfect for radio astronomy.
Pete Wheeler, ICRAR
The Murchison Widefield Array sits in remote Western Australia far from noisy civilisation so it can help us understand the universe by tuning into radio waves from the distant cosmos.
Can a galaxy (like NGC 3810 in this case) have a classical spiral structure and also be already dead?
ESA/Hubble and NASA
Extragalactic astrophysicists want to know how and why galaxies stop forming stars, change their shape and fade away. With help from citizen scientists, they're figuring it out.