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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. But 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…
Looking for proof? No such thing in most research. Flickr/Paul Mazumdar

Where’s the proof in science? There is none

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Those people looking for proof to come from any research in science will be sadly disappointed…
Gemini North observatory, on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, shoots a laser beam into the night sky to create an ‘artificial star’, part of a process that helps astronomers remove blurring from any images of galaxies. Gemini Observatory and Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

Laser helps find supermassive black hole in a small galaxy

A supermassive black hole has been found in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy – the smallest galaxy known to contain such a massive black hole. This finding, published today in Nature, suggests that supermassive…
If there’s a multiverse out there can we see it? Flickr/Maciek Bielec

Have cosmologists lost their minds in the multiverse?

The recent BICEP2 observations – of swirls in the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background – have been proclaimed as many things, from evidence of the Big Bang and gravitational waves to something…
Graduate student Justus Brevik testing the BICEP2 used to find evidence of cosmic inflation nearly 14 billion years ago. EPA/Steffen Richter/Harvard University

First hints of gravitational waves in the Big Bang’s afterglow

Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in the US have announced overnight what they believe is the indirect detection of gravitational waves in the afterglow of the Big Bang. The…

Strings of galaxies found in voids

Galaxies arranged in delicate strings have been discovered in the huge, empty regions of the universe called voids. A research…
We know gravity waves exist but just haven’t detected any… yet. www.shutterstock.com

An end in sight in the long search for gravity waves

Our unfolding understanding of the universe is marked by epic searches and we are now on the brink of discovering something that has escaped detection for many years. The search for gravity waves has been…
The oldest star is out there somewhere. But which one is it? www.shutterstock.com

The oldest star in the universe? Maybe, maybe not!

There is a myth that goldfish have a three-second memory, and I sometimes wonder if the same is true about the part of the human mind that deals with science in the news. This week, the international media…
An explosion in the universe (artist’s impression). www.shutterstock.com

The oldest star discovery tells much about the early universe

The discovery of an ancient star formed approximately 13.6-billion years ago just after the Big Bang is telling us much about the early universe. The star – designated SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 – lies within…

Catching ancient light

Cosmologists have detected a long sought component in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), which will help us to further…
The black hole, circled, sits in a star cluster 300 million light-years away. Sean Farrell

Scientists find evidence of first ‘middleweight’ black hole

Explosive outbursts of super-hot gas in a galaxy 300 million light-years away have provided evidence of the first known “middleweight…
Even the Hubble telescope, which took this picture of Bright Spiral Galaxy M81, is not capable of taking the wide-angle shots needed for all sky astrophysics, so new equipment must be invented. NASA http://www.nasa.gov

New all-sky astrophysics research centre to tackle the big questions

Some astronomical questions can only be answered by looking at the whole sky all at once but the technology to do that doesn’t…

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