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Supermassive black holes, containing as much mass as millions or billions of suns, exist at the centre of all galaxies, including our own Milky Way. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Speaking with: Meg Urry on supermassive black holes

Tanya Hill speaks with Meg Urry about distant galaxies and the supermassive black holes that lurk in their centres.
Unlike science fiction films featuring grotesque aliens and faraway galaxies, Ridley Scott’s The Martian depicts a sci-fi space mission that could soon be science fact. 20th Century Fox

How close are we to actually becoming Martians?

NASA has set a target date of 2030 for a manned mission to Mars. With no real scientific breakthroughs needed, success depends on developing the proper technology.
Dramatic, but not apocalyptic. Stanimir G Stoev

Fact over fiction on the ‘apocalyptic’ super blood moon

A rare super blood moon visible from parts of the Earth this month will delight those people lucky enough to see it. But why has this marvel of the solar system got some people so worried?
NASA artists' interpretation of the neutron star Swift J1749.4-2807 (left) with it’s companion star (right). NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Explainer: what is a neutron star?

They're are the overachievers of the universe: incredibly dense but very small when compared to others stars. So how much do we know about the extreme behaviour of neutron stars?
The discovery of Kepler-452b raises questions that go to the heart of religion. NASA/AAP/ Artist's impression of Kepler-452b.

Heavens above: what Earth 2.0’s discovery means for God

Kepler-452b's discovery last week has raised the perennial question: are we alone in the universe? While the find's scientific import is huge, it also poses questions that go to the heart of religion.
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.
What could be out there? That question eventually led to the discovery of Pluto. ESO/L. Calçada

Finding Pluto: the hunt for Planet X

The existence of a "Planet X" in the outer solar system was the subject of great speculation, and was finally settled with the discovery of Pluto in 1930.
This amazing photo even shows the four Galilean moons around Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Kevin Baird/Flickr

Jupiter and Venus brush cheeks in the night sky

Look up tonight and you'll see a stunning conjunction of the two brightest planets in the night sky.
Understanding how galaxies are arranged could be the key to figuring what causes the expansion of the universe. ESA/Hubble, NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast)

Galaxy survey to probe why the universe is accelerating

A unique map of the galaxies in the sky could shed light on the mysteries of the universe – including dark energy and dark matter.

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