Current Universe News and Events

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Big Data to model the evolution of the cosmic web
The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has led an international team which has developed an algorithm called COSMIC BIRTH to analyse large scale cosmic structures. This new computation method will permit the analysis of the evolution of the structure of dark matter from the early universe until the formation of present day galaxies. This work was recently published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS). (2021-02-22)

The Milky Way may be swarming with planets with oceans and continents like here on Earth
According to a new study from the University of Copenhagen, Earth, Venus and Mars were created from small dust particles containing ice and carbon. The discovery opens up the possibility that the Milky Way may be filled with aquatic planets. (2021-02-22)

Supercomputer turns back cosmic clock
Astronomers have tested a method for reconstructing the state of the early Universe by applying it to 4000 simulated universes using the ATERUI II supercomputer at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). They found that together with new observations the method can set better constraints on inflation, one of the most enigmatic events in the history of the Universe. The method can shorten the observation time required to distinguish between various inflation theories. (2021-02-16)

The smallest galaxies in our universe bring more about dark matter to light
Our universe is dominated by a mysterious matter known as dark matter. Its name comes from the fact that dark matter does not absorb, reflect or emit electromagnetic radiation, making it difficult to detect. (2021-02-16)

New physics rules tested on quantum computer
Simulation of non-Hermitian quantum mechanics using a quantum computer goes beyond centuries old conventions (2021-02-15)

Astronomers offer possible explanation for elusive dark-matter-free galaxies
A team led by astronomers at the University of California, Riverside, has found that some dwarf galaxies may today appear to be dark-matter free even though they formed as galaxies dominated by dark matter in the past. (2021-02-09)

Study of supergiant star Betelgeuse unveils the cause of its pulsations
Betelgeuse is normally one of the brightest, most recognizable stars of the winter sky, marking the left shoulder of the constellation Orion. But lately, it has been behaving strangely: an unprecedentedly large drop in its brightness has been observed in early 2020 (Figure 1), which has prompted speculation that Betelgeuse may be about to explode. (2021-02-08)

The quantum advantage: a novel demonstration
Scientists have just proved that a quantum machine can perform a given verification task in seconds when the same exercise would take a time equivalent to the age of the universe for a conventional computer. For this demonstration, they combined a complex interactive algorithm that solves a certain type of mathematical problem with limited information and a simple experimental photonics system that can be made in all advanced photonics laboratories. (2021-02-08)

Rare blast's remains discovered in Milky Way's center
Astronomers may have found our Galaxy's first example of an unusual kind of stellar explosion. This discovery, made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, adds to the understanding of how some stars shatter and seed the universe with elements critical for life on Earth. (2021-02-08)

At cosmic noon, puffy galaxies make stars for longer
Massive galaxies with extra-large extended ''puffy'' disks produced stars for longer than their more compact cousins, new modelling reveals. (2021-02-02)

Astronomers detect extended dark matter halo around ancient dwarf galaxy
Findings suggest the first galaxies in the universe were more massive than previously thought. (2021-02-01)

Backreaction observed for first time in water tank black hole simulation
Scientists have revealed new insights into the behaviour of black holes with research that demonstrates how a phenomenon called backreaction can be simulated. (2021-02-01)

Searching for dark matter through the fifth dimension
Theoretical physicists of the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz are working on a theory that goes beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. The central element is an extra dimension in spacetime. Until now, the scientists have faced the problem that the predictions of their theory could not be tested experimentally. They have now overcome this problem in a publication in the current issue of the European Physical Journal C. (2021-02-01)

How heavy is dark matter? Scientists radically narrow the potential mass range for the first time
Scientists have calculated the mass range for Dark Matter - and it's tighter than the science world thought. (2021-01-27)

Metamaterial tiles boost sensitivity of large telescopes
A multi-institutional group of researchers has developed new metamaterial tiles that will help improve the sensitivity of telescopes being built at the preeminent Simons Observatory in Chile. (2021-01-26)

New galaxy sheds light on how stars form
Detailed observations of molecular gas in a tidal dwarf galaxy have important implications for our understanding of how stars are formed. (2021-01-25)

Alpha particles lurk at the surface of neutron-rich nuclei
Scientists from an international collaboration have found evidence of alpha particles at the surface of neutron-rich heavy nuclei, providing new insights into the structure of neutron stars, as well as the process of alpha decay. (2021-01-21)

Search for axions from nearby star Betelgeuse comes up empty
An MIT-led search for axions from nearby star Betelgeuse has come up empty, significantly narrowing the search for hypothetical dark matter particle. (2021-01-21)

A most distant signal
Nearly every galaxy hosts a monster at its center -- a supermassive black hole millions to billions times the size of the Sun. Some of these black holes are particularly active, whipping up stars, dust and gas into glowing accretion disks emitting powerful radiation into the cosmos as they consume matter around them. These quasars are some of the most distant objects that astronomers can see, and there is now a new record for the farthest one ever observed. (2021-01-15)

Giant 2D atlas of the universe helps dark energy spectroscopic survey
Researchers from the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) and their collaborators released a giant 2D map of the universe, which paves the way for the upcoming new-generation dark energy spectroscopic survey. (2021-01-14)

Rare star's giant gamma-ray burst GRB 204015A captured close to our home galaxy
Earth gets blasted by mild gamma ray bursts most days. But sometimes a giant flare like GRB 200415A arrives at our galaxy, sweeping along energy that dwarfs our sun. It erupted from a rare, powerful neutron star called a magnetar - giving new clues to GRB origins - and from relatively nearby. The extreme explosions from these bursts can disrupt mobile phone reception, and can also be messengers from the very early history of the universe. (2021-01-13)

Enlightening dark ions
Every field has its underlying principles. For economics it's the rational actor; biology has the theory of evolution; modern geology rests on the bedrock of plate tectonics. (2021-01-12)

Quasar discovery sets new distance record
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), along with other telescopes, have discovered the most distant quasar yet found. The bright quasar, powered by a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy, is seen as it was only 670 million years after the Big Bang, and is providing valuable clues about how such huge black holes and their host galaxies formed in the early Universe. (2021-01-12)

The earliest supermassive black hole and quasar in the universe
The most distant quasar known has been discovered. The quasar, seen just 670 million years after the Big Bang, is 1000 times more luminous than the Milky Way, and is powered by the earliest known supermassive black hole, which weighs in at more than 1.6 billion times the mass of the Sun. Seen more than 13 billion years ago, this fully formed distant quasar is also the earliest yet discovered. (2021-01-12)

Galaxy mergers could limit star formation
Astronomers have looked nine billion years into the past to find evidence that galaxy mergers in the early universe could shut down star formation and affect galaxy growth. (2021-01-11)

Researchers use LRZ HPC resources to perform largest-ever supersonic turbulence simulation
A multi-institution collaboration being led by Australian National University Associate Professor Christoph Federrath and Heidelberg University Professor Ralf Klessen has been using HPC resources at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre to study turbulence's influence on galaxy formation. The team recently revealed the so-called 'sonic scale' of astrophysical turbulence--marking the transition moving from supersonic to subsonic speeds--creating the largest-ever simulation of supersonic turbulence in the process. The team published its research in Nature Astronomy. (2021-01-11)

Unveiling the double origin of cosmic dust in the distant Universe
Two billion years after the Big Bang, the Universe was still very young. However, thousands of huge galaxies, rich in stars and dust, were already formed. A new study explains how this was possible. Scientists identified the processes behind their evolution and found evidence for a rapid growth of dust due to a high concentration of metals in the distant Universe. The study offers a new approach to investigate the evolutionion of massive objects. (2021-01-11)

'Galaxy-sized' observatory sees potential hints of gravitational waves
Scientists believe that planets like Earth bob in a sea of gravitational waves that spread throughout the universe. Now, an international team has gotten closer than ever before to detecting those cosmic ripples. (2021-01-11)

Arecibo observatory helps find possible 'first hints' of low-frequency gravitational waves
Data from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has been used to help detect the first possible hints of low-frequency disturbances in the curvature of space-time. The results were presented today at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held virtually, and are published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (2021-01-11)

Astronomers agree: Universe is nearly 14 billion years old
From an observatory high above Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers have taken a new look at the oldest light in the universe. Their observations, plus a bit of cosmic geometry, suggest that the universe is 13.77 billion years old - give or take 40 million years. (2021-01-04)

Primordial black holes and the search for dark matter from the multiverse
In their paper, the team described a novel scenario for primordial black hole (PBH) formation and showed that the black holes from the ''multiverse'' scenario can be found using the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) of the 8.2m Subaru Telescope, a gigantic digital camera--the management of which Kavli IPMU has played a crucial role--near the 4,200 meter summit of Mt. Mauna Kea in Hawaii. (2020-12-25)

A blazar in the early universe
Observations with the continent-wide Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) reveal previously unseen details in a jet of material ejected from the core of a galaxy seen as it was when the universe was only about 7% of its current age. (2020-12-22)

Looking for dark matter near neutron stars with radio telescopes
In 1983, theoretical physicist Pierre Sikivie found that axions have another remarkable property: In the presence of an electromagnetic field, they should sometimes spontaneously convert to easily detectable photons. What was once thought to be completely undetectable, turned out to be potentially detectable as long as there is high enough concentration of axions and strong magnetic fields. (2020-12-21)

Longest intergalactic gas filament discovered
Astrophysicists led by the University of Bonn (Germany) have for the first time observed a gas filament with a length of 50 million light years. Its structure is strikingly similar to the predictions of computer simulations. The observation therefore also confirms our ideas about the origin and evolution of our universe. The results are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. (2020-12-17)

Combined observations of neutron stars constrain their equation of state and the Hubble constant
Combining signals from multiple observations of neutron stars has allowed researchers to better understand the properties of ultra-dense matter and constrain the Hubble constant, which describes how fast the Universe is expanding, according to a new study. (2020-12-17)

Can white dwarfs help solve the cosmological lithium problem?
For the first time, lithium has been identified and measured in the atmosphere of a white dwarf. The finding, reported by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provides clues for what's become of the lithium expected from the Big Bang. (2020-12-17)

Multi-messenger astronomy offers new estimates of neutron star size and universe expansion
Multi-messenger astronomy allows researchers to put new constraints on the radius of a typical neutron star and provide a novel calculation of the Hubble constant. (2020-12-17)

Most-distant galaxy helps elucidate the early universe
New work from an international team of astronomers improves our understanding of the most-distant known astrophysical object-- GN-z11, a galaxy 13.4 billion light-years from Earth. (2020-12-16)

New type of atomic clock keeps time even more precisely
An MIT-designed atomic clock uses entangled atoms to keep time even more precisely than its state-of-the-art counterparts. The design could help scientists detect dark matter and study gravity's effect on time. (2020-12-16)

The farthest galaxy in the universe
A team of astronomers used the Keck I telescope to measure the distance to an ancient galaxy. They deduced the target galaxy GN-z11 is not only the oldest galaxy but also the most distant. It's so distant it defines the very boundary of the observable universe itself. The team hopes this study can shed light on a period of cosmological history when the universe was only a few hundred million years old. (2020-12-14)

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