An artist’s impression of Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. It is the first planet that NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed to orbit in a star’s habitable zone - the region around a star where liquid water, a requirement for life on Earth, could persist.
Life could exist in another solar system in a different part our galaxy. Or in another galaxy far away. We don't have the perfect technology yet to study such far away places but we're still trying.
Distant stars above the ruins of Sherborne Old Castle, in the UK.
When you look up at the vastness of space you can see hundreds, thousands and even millions of years into the past.
It would be nice to blast dangerous nuclear waste far away from Earth, or into the Sun where it won’t cause any harm. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds.
At the end of the day, the problem is that no-one on Earth wants nuclear waste stored near them, and it's not safe or cost-effective to blast it into space.
The region around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, imaged with South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope.
South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)
A black hole is an object with such a strong gravitational pull that nothing, not even light, can escape from it.
An artist’s impression of fast radio bursts in the sky above the Australian SKA precursor, ASKAP.
OzGrav, Swinburne University of Technology
Perhaps precisely because they are so elusive, Fast Radio Bursts have received a lot of attention in the years since their discovery.
Nobody knows for sure - but it’s possible.
There are probably more than a million planets in the universe for every single grain of sand on Earth. That's a lot of planets. My guess is that there probably is life elsewhere in the Universe.
The other galaxies are there, but they are hiding a very long way away.
We are in the Milky Way. If you travelled on an extremely fast spaceship for more than two million years, you would reach our neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy. All other galaxies are even further away.
About a century ago, we didn’t even know that galaxies existed.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Pretty much as soon as we understood what galaxies were, we realised they are all moving away from each other. And the ones that are further away are moving faster. In short, the universe is expanding.
The Sombrero galaxy reveals the extremes of age and shape.
NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
As galaxies get older they get rounder, and fall victim to the middle-aged spread that catches many of us humans here on Earth.
An artist’s impression of the predicted merger between our Milky Way (right) and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy (left). So which galaxy will dominate?
NASA; ESA; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Hallas; and A. Mellinger
Bigger galaxies tend to dominate the smaller, when the two collide. But the pending battle between our Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy might be a much fairer fight than we previously thought.
: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: Rolf Olsen; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Strangely behaving galaxies force scientists to rethink whether the universe really is uniform.
ESO/UltraVISTA team. Acknowledgement: TERAPIX/CNRS/INSU/CASU
Massive, far distant galaxies contain 100 times more gas than we thought possible.
An image by MeerKAT shows hydrogen gas in M83, a famous spiral galaxy.
A precursor to the Square Kilometre Array- the MeerKAT telescope - is being built right now and remarkable progress has been made in the last 12 months.
Gravitational lensing (arcs and streaks in the picture) in the galaxy cluster Abell 370.
Galaxies evolve in mysterious way. But a new study offers a fresh approach to understand them.
Here, an alien crew member, Saru on Star Trek: Discovery. We often rely on science fiction to guide our expectations of alien life. We can hope lessons about accepting beings very different from yourself can be extracted by the series end.
(Courtesy of CBS Studios)
Star Trek: Discovery explores our corner of the block -- just a fraction of the galaxy. Some stars are better candidates for intelligent alien life, and it may not be anything like we imagine.
Detecting cosmic ray particles: a water-Cherenkov detector seen against the night sky at the Pierre Auger Observatory in western Argentina.
Steven Saffi, University of Adelaide
Scientists say they now know that high energy cosmic ray particles that bombard Earth are coming from outside our galaxy. But the actual source still remains a mystery.
So many galaxies viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope: but what’s their real shape in 3D?
NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)
The first reliable measure of the 3D shape of galaxies and their rotation helps to shed light on their history.
Part of the new map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey.
Chihway Chang/University of Chicago/DES collaboration
We still can't see the dark matter thought to make up about a quarter of the universe, but at least now we have a map of its structure.
In the beginning, the Universe expanded very, very fast.
What caused the Big Bang is still a mystery. And that's just one of the many unanswered questions, in spite of everything we do know about the birth of the Universe.
ESO provides new ways to access the southern sky for Australian astronomy.
ESO/José Francisco Salgado
Australia's new partnership with the European Southern Observatory will give our astronomers access to much bigger telescopes.