Astronomers Accidentally Discover a Hidden Galaxy Right Next Door

While inspecting a known globular cluster, a team of astronomers began to notice that some of its stars didn’t seem to belong. Investigating further, they realised the anomalous stars were part of a nearby galaxy—one previously unknown to us. Read More >>

Our Galactic Neighbours Once Collided, New Observation Suggests

Should you find yourself in the southern hemisphere beneath dark skies, look up: You’ll see two faint, glowing smudges beside the vast, glowing trail of our Milky Way galaxy. These two Magellanic Clouds are galaxies, too, though smaller ones orbiting our own. And some time in the past, perhaps back in the dinosaur days, those two clouds may have collided. Read More >>

Every Tiny Speck of Light in This Image Is a Galaxy

To help us grok the immensity of the cosmos, the European Space Agency has released a remarkable image of space in which every point is an entire galaxy. If you didn’t feel insignificant before seeing this, you sure as hell will now. Read More >>

general relativity
Einstein’s Theory of Gravity Passes Enormous Test on a Galaxy

It would be hard to overstate how resilient the theory of general relativity has been. In its hundred-plus-year history, it’s managed to predict things far beyond the capabilities of 1910s experiments, and it withstands every new test scientists throw at it. Read More >>

What’s the Best Astronomical Object in Your Zodiac Sign?

It’s true that astrology is not science—there is no evidence to support that personal traits or mystical truths have anything to do with the Sun and the planets’ locations in the sky at the time you were born. But there is an intersection with astronomy, the real science behind the Sun, the stars, and what goes on in our night sky. Read More >>

giz asks
What Shapes Are Things in Outer Space?

It’s an orgy of geometry, here on Earth. You got all kinds of shapes: Squares, trapezoids, even the occasional rhombus. Apples, desk-chairs, and dandelions—just an abundance of shape-having stuff. Outer space, in contrast, is minimally decorated: asteroids, stars, planets, galaxies. Big-picture stuff. We know the Earth is round—or, at least, most of us do—but what about the other stuff? What shapes are twirling around up there, and why do they look like that? Read More >>

AI Is Getting Pretty Good at Studying Distant Galaxies

Will all the warped images and funny names, it can be easy to forget that machine learning can have important uses in science—specifically, when it comes to categorising things. Scientists have lately been putting a neural network to good use identifying distant galaxies. Read More >>

Incredible New View of the Milky Way Is the Largest Star Map Ever

The European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft team has dropped its long-awaited trove of data about 1.7 billion stars. You can see a new visualisation of all those stars in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies above, but you really need to zoom in to appreciate just how much stuff there is in the map. Yes, the specks are stars. Read More >>

Today’s Star Map Release Could Revolutionise Our Understanding of Astronomy 

Astronomers from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission are releasing the biggest map of our galaxy ever today, using data collected by the Gaia space telescope. That includes 1.7 billion stars, as well as new information that could potentially solve some cosmic mysteries. Read More >>

Heated Debate Surrounds Galaxy Seeming to Lack Dark Matter

Strong scepticism should always accompany strong claims. One such recent claim has generated a tonne of talk about a strange, fuzzy galaxy that appears to be missing its dark matter. Read More >>

Holy Crap, This Galaxy Has No Dark Matter 

From what scientists have gathered, galaxies are nearly synonymous with dark matter. They seem to be mostly dark matter with specks of regular matter mixed in. Despite the fact that no dark matter has been directly observed with science experiments, galaxies’ strange motion is the knock-out reason why astronomers think the universe is filled with six times more of this mysterious stuff than regular matter. Read More >>

12 Incredible New Images of Galaxies and Nebulae from the Hubble Telescope

Look up to the sky with the unaided eye and you’ll see lots of specks and globs that look mostly like stars. On closer inspection, though, some of those dots refuse to resolve, smeared out on the night sky. Read More >>

The Hubble Space Telescope Captured This Beautiful Image of Two Galaxies Merging

NASA and the European Space Agency’s Hubble Space Telescope has been in low Earth orbit for nearly 28 years, but with several repairs and upgrades over the decades it’s still sending back beautiful images. Just a few days ago, the ESA released this Hubble image of a pair of barred spiral galaxies some 350 million light years away in the process of merging, their two galactic nuclei still separated by a massive distance but throwing out clouds of hot gas and mid-formation stars. Read More >>

New Evidence That Supermassive Black Holes Eventually Suck the Life out of Big Galaxies

At the core of each large galaxy lies a supermassive black hole with the mass of 1 million suns. New research shows that these celestial hoovers do more than just devour nearby objects—they also grow to a size that eventually suppresses a galaxy’s ability to churn out new stars, effectively rendering them sterile. Read More >>

Incredible New Observation Shows Supermassive Black Holes Orbiting Each Other

You think our galaxy is special? Ha. Our boring pinwheel of gas and dark matter might be a nice hangout for humans. But 750 or so million light years away, there’s an elliptical galaxy, Galaxy 0402+379, whose two supermassive black holes are orbiting each other from a distance of only 24 or so light years. Their combined mass is around 15 billion times that of our Sun. Read More >>