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Earlier this year, astronomers found an absolute monster of a galaxy. Lurking some 3 billion light-years away, Alcyoneus is a giant radio galaxy reaching 5 megaparsecs into space. That’s 16.3 million light-years long, and it constitutes the largest known structure of galactic origin. The discovery highlights our poor understanding of these colossi, and what drives
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Our failure to decisively mitigate climate change is prompting researchers to examine more drastic approaches, like fertilizing the oceans to combat the massive excess of carbon dioxide in our air. “At this point, time is of the essence,” says Michael Hochella, an Earth scientist at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “To
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For the first time, scientists have created a quantum computing experiment for studying the dynamics of wormholes – that is, shortcuts through spacetime that could get around relativity’s cosmic speed limits. Wormholes are traditionally the stuff of science fiction, ranging from Jodie Foster’s wild ride in Contact to the time-bending plot twists in Interstellar. But
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Archeologists have rediscovered a pre-Hispanic fresco depicting mythological scenes in northern Peru that they had only seen in black and white photographs that were more than a century old. “It’s an exceptional discovery, first of all, because it is rare to unearth wall paintings of such quality in pre-Columbian archeology,” said Sam Ghavami, the Swiss
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We’re putting more and more satellites into orbit, and along with all the welcome technological and scientific advances that brings, there are also potential problems. Intended to be the start of an orbiting communications network that can be accessed by standard smartphones, the recently launched prototype BlueWalker 3 satellite is now one of the brightest
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Earth is about 29 percent land and 71 percent oceans. How significant is that mix for habitability? What does it tell us about exoplanet habitability? There are very few places on Earth where life doesn’t have a foothold. Multiple factors contribute to our planet’s overall habitability: abundant liquid water, plate tectonics, bulk composition, proximity to
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Is there anything good about volcanoes? They can be violent, dangerous, and unpredictable. For modern humans, volcanoes are mostly an inconvenience, sometimes an intriguing visual display, and occasionally deadly. But when there’s enough of them, and when they’re powerful and prolonged, they can kill the planet that hosts them. Modern-day Venus is a blistering hellscape.