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)
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.
Why the night sky can tell us a fair bit about time.
Arches National Park/Flickr
It's all relative – why scientists understand time in a completely different way.
When two black holes collide, the resulting gravitational ripples can be felt across the cosmos.
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.
Our tendency to see what we want to see is the biggest threat to cosmology.
Confirmation bias, the psychological effect that makes people unconsciously interpret information to confirm their beliefs, is a big threat to cosmology.
A painting from Botha’s Shelter in the Ndedema Gorge in the Drakensburg, said to be home to a rich tapestry of San art and life.
Wits University Press
Formlings are representations of flying termites and their underground nests. They are associated with botantical subjects considered by the San to have great spiritual significance.
Dark matter is notoriously hard to detect, but a new experiment might finally shed light on this mysterious substance.
A new detector built deep underground in a gold mine will hopefully unravel the mystery of dark matter.
Like a cosmic roulette wheel, we exist because of a very lucky combination of factors.
If some of the laws of physics were only infinitesimally different, we would simply not exist. It almost looks like the universe itself was built for life. But how can that be?
Elegant but elusive. Simulation of merging black holes showing gravitational waves.
Gravitational waves: are they worth the hype?
NASA artists' interpretation of the neutron star Swift J1749.4-2807 (left) with it’s companion star (right).
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
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?
A colour image of G63349, one of the galaxies in the survey, created using near-infrared (VISTA telescope) and optical (Sloan telescope) data collated by the GAMA survey. (The bright green object is a nearby star.)
Our universe's most exciting days are well behind us, with new research showing the universe is now slowly but surely dying.
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)
A unique map of the galaxies in the sky could shed light on the mysteries of the universe – including dark energy and dark matter.
Black holes don’t deserve their bad reputation, says study.
Black holes may not be the ferocious killers they are made out to be, suggests study.
Astronomers from around the world identify their favourite images sent back to Earth by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Hubble Extreme Deep Field, looking back towards the birth of the universe.
Hubble's Deep Field images are the next best thing to a time machine, revealing details of galaxies from the early universe, 13 billion years ago.
Dark Matter: as simulated, the scaffold that underpins the universe.
Dark matter's mysteries are being steadily unravelled by new studies of remote galaxies.
Looking for dark matter in the galaxy collisions such as in Abell 2744, dubbed Pandora’s Cluster.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/ITA/INAF/J.Merten et al, Lensing: NASA/STScI; NAOJ/Subaru; ESO/VLT, Optical: NASA/STScI/R.Dupke
Scientists know so much about dark matter apart from what it is exactly. But are they getting any closer?
Something new discovered near our Milky Way.
Several dwarf galaxies have been discovered close to our own Milky Way and are adding to our understanding of how galaxies form. But why haven't astronomers seen them before?
Some of the antennas of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope, designed to uncover what happened in the first billion years of the universe.
More than 100 million years has been wiped off the age of the first stars but there is still the question of what happened in the first billion years of the universe. Earlier this month the European Space…
New data reveals no evidence of gravitational waves in the early universe, as observed by the BICEP2 radio telescope (pictured) near the South Pole.
teffen Richter, Harvard University
One of this century’s greatest potential discoveries concerning the origins of the universe has now fallen to galactic dust. That’s according to a new joint-analysis of all the existing data – including…
embodies the heroic scientist in Interstellar.
Interstellar’s protagonists spend a significant portion of the movie’s 169-minute running time giving mini-lectures – sometimes with props and a little whiteboard – on theoretical physics. The characters…