Dark energy will almost certainly destroy the universe and everything in it.

Dark energy is without a doubt the weirdest thing in the universe. Despite being present in every corner of the cosmos and dominating its evolution, dark energy is so far outside our best existing theories of physics that we’re still trying to figure out if it’s something in the universe or just a basic property … Continue reading Dark energy will almost certainly destroy the universe and everything in it.

New and detailed atlas of the skies

A new radio telescope in outback Western Australia has just created an atlas of the southern sky in record-breaking time, demonstrating that detailed all-sky surveys can now be done in weeks instead of years. Over just 300 hours, CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) mapped three million galaxies, one million of which we’d never … Continue reading New and detailed atlas of the skies

Is anybody down there?

The question of whether or not we are alone in the Universe has always fascinated me, but when I was a student the idea of searching for aliens was regarded as decidedly crackpot. One might as well have professed an interest in looking for fairies. The prevailing scientific opinion in the 1970s was well captured … Continue reading Is anybody down there?

The theory of how black holes grow

Astrophysicists in the US have developed a theoretical model for black holes to predict if growth by gas accretion or by merger is dominant. It’s valid, they say, from the local Universe up to redshift 10 (roughly from the present day to about 13 billion years ago) – and it suggests that the main growth … Continue reading The theory of how black holes grow

Hubble trouble, boils and bubbles

It’s often said that science is self-correcting. First, a scientist presents a result, openly admitting that they may have made a mistake somewhere along the way. Next, other scientists step in to check their numbers, reproduce the experiment, or, better yet, test the conclusion via an entirely different, independent method. If all parties agree, we … Continue reading Hubble trouble, boils and bubbles

A monster galaxy found lurking in the shadows

Astronomers have accidentally discovered the footprints of a monster galaxy in the early Universe that has never been seen before. Like a cosmic Yeti, these galaxies have been regarded by the scientific community as folklore, given the lack of evidence of their existence. Now, for the first time astronomers in the US and Australia have … Continue reading A monster galaxy found lurking in the shadows

The search for dark matter finds gold

A method for locating seams of gold and other heavy metals is the un­likely spin-off of Swinburne University’s in­volvement in a huge experiment to detect dark matter down a mine in Stawell, Victoria. Associate Professor Alan Duffy, from Swinburne’s Centre for Astrophysics and Super­computing and a member of the Sodium iodide with Active Background REjection … Continue reading The search for dark matter finds gold