Woodcut from Camille Flammarion’s 1888 book
L'Atmosphère : météorologie populaire. The caption reads: ‘A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch’ and continues, ‘What is there, then, in this blue sky, which certainly exists, and which veils the stars during the day?’
Albert Einstein may have been the ultimate example of a visionary genius, but that did not stop him from twice losing his way due to beliefs that were perhaps not so scientific.
The supernova remnant Cassiopeia A.
When scientists created the Higgs particle with protons, they needed the 10km-wide Large Hadron Collider. A muon machine could achieve it with a diameter of just 200 metres.
Betelguese is the red star in the top right quarter of the picture.
If Betelgeuse explodes, it will become as bright as the full moon in a matter of days and be visible during day time.
G299 was left over by a Type Ia supernova.
The rate of the universe's expansion is in dispute. But a new kind of measurement offers hope.
What’s left after a star explodes.
NASA/ESA/JHU/R.Sankrit & W.Blair via Wikimedia Commons.
By studying old and dead stars, we can discover what will happen to our sun in the far, far future. And it won't end with a big explosion.
The cow erupted near a galaxy known as CGCG 137-068, marked by the yellow cross.
Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Odd event could be explained by a star being ripped apart by a black hole.
The good thing about space is that – even though it has lots of dangerous stuff floating in it, and lots of exploding stars – it’s so big and empty that it almost doesn’t matter.
Are there stars other than the Sun that might explode soon close to us? Yes, there are! As long as by 'soon' we mean within a million years.
The Sun is a star – but it’s not the only one.
NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory
There are lots of places where it's much, much hotter than the Sun. And the amazing thing is that this heat also makes new atoms - tiny particles that have made their way long ago from stars to us.
The bubbly cloud, called Puppis A, is an irregular shock wave, generated by a supernova that would have been witnessed on Earth 3,700 years ago.
A massive star, with a radius 500 times that of our sun, exploded. But the supernova fizzled – it was weak and dim. Figuring out what went wrong led to insights about how rare binary star systems form.
The ALMA telescope has seen tantalising hints of a violent event.
ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN (twanight.org)
The 'oldest known nova' (a star explosion) in the sky was actually not a nova, astronomers show.
Andrew Pontzen, Fabio Governato/Wikimedia Commons.
Our brain cells do look a lot like a map of the universe – but that doesn't mean they're the same thing.
Technicians prepare Swift’s UVOT for vibration testing on Aug. 1, 2002, more than two years before launch, in the High Bay Clean Room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
The Swift Observatory passed a milestone: 1 million snapshots of the universe. These exquisite and revealing pictures have captured the births and deaths of stars, gravitational waves and comets.
A gamma ray burst close to Earth could be devastating.
If we survive for another 7.59 billion years, our planet will spiral into the outer layers of the dying sun and melt away forever.
You can learn a lot about the cosmos in the kitchen.
From supernovae explosions to the expansion of the universe and why the sky is blue: you can learn a lot about the universe in the kitchen.
All is not calm in the cosmos.
ESA/Hubble and NASA
Stargazing seems such a quiet, calm activity. But whether our eyes can see or not, those stars out there are in constant flux. Time-domain astronomy studies how cosmic objects change with time.
Can a galaxy (like NGC 3810 in this case) have a classical spiral structure and also be already dead?
ESA/Hubble and NASA
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.
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
Tanya Hill speaks with Meg Urry about distant galaxies and the supermassive black holes that lurk in their centres.
Locating Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2, the new bright light in the sky.
A new light in the southern night sky is thought to be an exploding star. It comes as astronomers reveal an ancient nova explosion is now thought to have been two stars colliding.
Artist’s impression of two white dwarf stars destined to merge and create a Type Ia supernova in 700-million years time.
Two white dwarfs found orbiting each other at the centre of a planetary nebula are now known to have enough mass that they will eventually trigger a special kind of supernova, according to research published…
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics image of a supernova explosion discovered by Johannes Kepler in 1604.
Flickr/X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/M.Burkey et al; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Our understanding of heavy element production in supernovae, exploding stars way beyond our solar system, may need to change following some discoveries we have made looking not to the skies, but deep under…