Articles on Astrophysics

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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

Until we get better tools, excited reports of ‘habitable planets’ need to come back down to Earth

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.
We can all reach for the stars in The Milky Way over Western Australia. Flickr/HuiChieh

We should encourage boys and girls to reach for the stars

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)

From dark gravity to phantom energy: what’s driving the expansion of the universe?

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.
Massive bodies can send ripples through space time in the form of gravitational waves. NASA

Gravitational waves discovered: top scientists respond

The long awaited discovery of gravitational waves has sent ripples through the scientific world. Here top experts respond to the historic announcement.
When two black holes collide, the resulting gravitational ripples can be felt across the cosmos. Henze, NASA

Gravitational waves discovered: the universe has spoken

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.
The vast expanse of Western Australia is perfect for radio astronomy. Pete Wheeler, ICRAR

Tuning in to cosmic radio from the dawn of time

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

Is our Milky Way galaxy a zombie, already dead and we don’t know it?

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.
Neutrinos, we’re looking for you! Japan’s Super-Kamiokande detector. Kamioka Observatory, ICRR (Institute for Cosmic Ray Research), The University of Tokyo

How neutrinos, which barely exist, just ran off with another Nobel Prize

They're beyond tiny and super mysterious. Neutrinos are an elemental particle that might just help us understand the structure and evolution of the universe.
A visualisation of gravitational waves emitted by two orbiting supermassive black holes. CSIRO

Where are the missing gravitational waves?

A new study has failed to find evidence of gravitational waves, but that doesn't mean Einstein was wrong about their existence.

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