Articles on Astrophysics

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A white dward (centre) and its companion pulsar make for an excellent natural gravitational laboratory. Mark Myers/OzGrav

Warp factor: we’ve observed a spinning star that drags the very fabric of space and time

One of Einstein's weirder predictions is that massive, spinning objects exert a drag on space-time itself. Now an orbiting pair of unusual stars has revealed this effect in action.
Today we hear about some of the fascinating space research underway at Siding Spring Observatory – and how, despite gruelling hours and endless paperwork, astronomers retain their sense of wonder for the night sky. Shutterstock

‘The size, the grandeur, the peacefulness of being in the dark’: what it’s like to study space at Siding Spring Observatory

‘The size, the grandeur, the peacefulness of being in the dark’: what it’s like to study space at Siding Spring Observatory. The Conversation, CC BY54.3 MB (download)
Three hours north-east of Parkes lies a remote astronomical research facility, unpolluted by city lights, where researchers are trying to unlock some of the biggest questions about our Universe.
An artist’s conception of two black holes entwined in a gravitational tango. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Christopher Go

Supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy may have a friend

There is a massive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Measurements of star orbits near this black hole suggest that there may be a second companion black hole nearby.
Measuring in at 10,159 miles (16,350 kilometers) in width (as of April 3, 2017) Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is 1.3 times as wide as Earth. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Christopher Go

Contrary to recent reports, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is not in danger of disappearing

Little bits of Jupiter's Great Red Spot seem to be flaking off. Is it a sign of the demise of this enigmatic red cloud, or just a consequence of atmospheric chaos we can't see from above?
Stars come into existence because of a powerful force of nature called gravity. ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Curious Kids: how are stars made?

Stars begin their life inside very large, fluffy clouds of space dust and gas called nebulae.
A composite image showing the distribution of dark matter, galaxies and hot gas in a merging galaxy cluster taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii. NASA

Canada’s grand plan to explore the mysteries of the cosmos

The Canadian Long Range Plan 2020 for astronomy and astrophysics builds on Canadian research's previous success to extend Canada's role.
Another reason you don’t want to get too close to a black hole is because of something we call ‘spaghettification’. If this happened to Earth it would be… unpleasant. Shutterstock

Curious Kids: can Earth be affected by a black hole in the future?

If you got too close to a black hole, it would suck you in and you'd never be able to escape, even if you were travelling at the speed of light. This point of no return is called the event horizon.
Today, we’re asking two astrophysicists and a planetary scientist: what’s the likelihood we’ll be living on Mars or the Moon in future? Pixabay/WikiImages

What’s the next ‘giant leap’ for humankind in space? We asked 3 space experts

What’s the next ‘giant leap’ for humankind in space? We asked 3 space experts. The Conversation, CC BY27.3 MB (download)
What's the next thing that will blow us away or bring us together the way the Moon landing did in 1969? Moon mining? Alien contact? Retirement on Mars? Three space experts share their predictions.
People do live outside Earth – on the International Space Station! But humans have had to find a way to make the conditions there more like what we’re used to at home. Flickr/NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Curious Kids: can people live in space?

The short answer is yes, but it’s really, really difficult.
A nuclear reaction is under way inside the Sun. Emily Nunell/The Conversation CC-NY-BD

Curious Kids: how is the Sun burning?

It's true that here on Earth, if you want to burn something you need oxygen. But the Sun is different. It is not burning with the same kind of flame you would have on Earth if you burned a candle.
Feel like traveling to another dimension? Better choose your black hole wisely. Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock.com

Rotating black holes may serve as gentle portals for hyperspace travel

Feel like visiting another star system or dimension? You can do this by traveling through a spacetime portal of a black hole. But you better choose carefully. All black holes are not created equal.
The South Pole Telescope and BICEP telescopes (pictured above) may discover clues that could teach us if there was something else ‘before’ the Big Bang. Dr. Keith Vanderlinde/NSF

Curious Kids: What existed before the Big Bang? Did something have to be there to go boom?

Long ago in the distant past, our entire Universe was microscopic – just like an atom – and obeyed completely different rules of cause and effect.

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