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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

An enigmatic theme in San rock paintings is finally unlocked

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. Dirk Dallas/Flickr

How we plan to bring dark matter to light

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. NASA/JPL-Caltech

We are lucky to live in a universe made for us

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?
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?
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.) ICRAR/GAMA

Don’t panic, but the universe is slowly dying

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)

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.
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

Shedding new light on the search for the ‘invisible’ dark matter

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. Flickr/Luis Calçada

Hidden in plain sight: the Milky Way’s new companions

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. Curtin University

Unlocking the mystery of 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

Gravitational wave discovery still clouded by galactic dust

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…
Matthew McConaughey embodies the heroic scientist in Interstellar. Paramount

Scientists as Hollywood heroes

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…
This artist’s impression of the Milky Way galaxy. The blue halo of material surrounding the galaxy indicates the expected distribution of the mysterious dark matter. ESO/L. Calçada

Dark matter and the Milky Way: more little than large

While invisible, dark matter completely dominates our Milky Way, recent measurements of just how much dark matter there is have revealed a bit of a mystery. In a paper published today in the Astrophysical…
A dwarf galaxy: a challenge for modern cosmology? This dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31 is more than 11 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). , Luca LimatolaESA/Hubble & NASA

A cosmic two-step: the universal dance of the dwarf galaxies

Over the last few years we’ve been studying the orbits of dwarf galaxies and we expecting to find them buzzing at random around large galaxies. But looking out into the universe, we see some dwarfs undertaking…

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