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Galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223 taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The inset image is the very distant galaxy MACS1149-JD1. ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, W. Zheng (JHU), M. Postman (STScI), the CLASH Team, Hashimoto et al.

When did the lights first come on in the universe? A galaxy close to the dawn of time gives a clue

Astronomers have indirectly spotted some of the first stars in the universe by making their most distant detection of oxygen in a galaxy that existed just 500m years after the Big Bang.
The light shining through an exoplanet’s atmosphere can give us a hint of whether the planet supports life. NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Cloudy with a chance of life: how to find alien life on distant exoplanets

A hint of oxygen and a whiff of methane in a distant exoplanet's atmosphere may be the first evidence we discover of alien life.
Breaking down the colours in the star light can reveal more about what you are looking at. Flickr/Indigo Skies Photography

Explainer: seeing the universe through spectroscopic eyes

Astronomers can tell a whole lot more about a star or a galaxy if they break up the visible light in a rainbow of colours.
Square away your personal philosophy now; proof of life beyond earth is coming. Stargazing image via www.shutterstock.com

Is your religion ready to meet ET?

Astronomers have found thousands of exoplanets and the hunt is on for life beyond Earth. Once biological neighbors are identified, our planet’s philosophies and religions will need to adapt.

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