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Articles on Astrophysics

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Some stars travel at high speeds through the universe and sometimes leave spectacular clouds of dust and gas in their wake. NASA, ESA and R. Sahai (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Real shooting stars exist, but they aren’t the streaks you see in a clear night sky

Hypervelocity stars were discovered only 15 years ago and are the closest things in existence to real shooting stars. They travel at millions of miles per hour, so fast that they can escape from galaxies.
An artist’s impression of the Double Pulsar system in which the two pulsars orbit each other every 2.5 hours and send out high-energy beams that sweep across the sky. Image credit: John Rowe Animations/CSIRO

We counted 20 billion ticks of an extreme galactic clock to give Einstein’s theory of gravity its toughest test yet

Astronomers watched a pair of pulsars for 16 years to test the theory of general relativity, which has stood unchallenged for over a century.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the biggest orbital telescope ever built and is scheduled to be launched into space on Dec. 18, 2021. NASA/Desiree Stover

James Webb Space Telescope: An astronomer on the team explains how to send a giant telescope to space – and why

The largest orbital telescope ever made will allow astronomers to study the atmospheres of alien planets, learn about how stars form in the Milky Way and peer into the farthest reaches of the universe.
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Is space infinite? We asked 5 experts

The universe has a finite age — 13.8 billion years to be exact. So if it had a beginning, why is it so difficult to say for sure whether it will have an end?
It can stretch your mind to ponder what’s really out there. Stijn Dijkstra/EyeEm via Getty Images

Does outer space end – or go on forever?

Astronomers know a lot about what’s in outer space – and think it’s possible it never ends.
Mysterious blasts of radio waves from across the universe called fast radio bursts are getting more attention from astronomers. ESO/M. Kornmesser

535 new fast radio bursts help answer deep questions about the universe and shed light on these mysterious cosmic events

Fast radio bursts are the focus of a young and fascinating field of astronomy. Researchers just released data on more than 500 new bursts, quadrupling the total number of detected events.
Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the solar system and is home to a potentially habitable planet. Hubble/European Space Agency/WikimediaCommons

Massive flare seen on the closest star to the solar system: What it means for chances of alien neighbors

Astronomers just measured the largest flare ever from Proxima Centauri, humanity’s closest neighboring star. These flares could be bad news for life trying to develop on a planet orbiting the star.

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