Astronomy’s ‘Rosetta Stone’: Merging Neutron Stars Seen With Both Gravitational Waves And Light (Synopsis)

“It’s becoming clear that in a sense the cosmos provides the only laboratory where sufficiently extreme conditions are ever achieved to test new ideas on particle physics. The energies in the Big Bang were far higher than we can ever achieve on Earth. So by looking at evidence for the Big Bang, and by studying … Read more

Inflation Isn’t Just Science, It’s The Origin Of Our Universe (Synopsis)

“There’s no obvious reason to assume that the very same rare properties that allow for our existence would also provide the best overall setting to make discoveries about the world around us. We don’t think this is merely coincidental.” -Guillermo Gonzalez Beginning in 1979, a new idea arose in theoretical physics, seeking to improve upon … Read more

Five reasons why the signals from Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Initiative aren’t aliens (Synopsis)

“Just the fact that you so desperately attempt to dismantle our theory proves that we are on the right track. Otherwise you would not feel so threatened by our theories!” -Giogrio Tsoukalos (in a letter to Jason Colavito) Whenever we detect a signal that we can’t immediately explain, it’s a very human trait to ascribe … Read more

There’s no such thing as a ‘habitable Super-Earth’ (Synopsis)

“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them.” -Christiaan Huygens It was quite a surprise when we started discovering all the exoplanets that were out there. While there’s a big … Read more

The two questions that determine your scientific literacy (Synopsis)

“Through basic science literacy, people can understand the policy choices we need to be making. Scientists are not necessarily the greatest communicators, but science and communication is one of the fundamentals we need to address. People are interested.” -James Murdoch Are you scientifically literate? Do you even know what that means? You’ll periodically see quizzes … Read more

New evidence threatens to crush the dreams of alien megastructures (Synopsis)

“Just to clarify, neither Jason or myself … are advocating that it is an alien megastructure, but we also can’t completely rule it out.” -Kimberly Cartier When we launched the Kepler spacecraft, we expected that we’d be able to measure the light from over 100,000 stars at once, practically continuously, over the timespan of many … Read more

Scientists redefine ‘planet’ to include exoplanets, and it works beautifully (Synopsis)

“Some kind of celestial event. No — no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should have sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful… I had no idea.” –Dr. Ellie Arroway, Contact Back in 2006, the International Astronomical Union defined the term “planet” for the first time by three criteria: its ability to orbit the … Read more

What does the Universe really look like?

“On a cosmic scale, our life is insignificant, yet this brief period when we appear in the world is the time in which all meaningful questions arise.” –Paul Ricoeur Ask anyone who’s looked up at a dark sky on a clear, moonless night, and you’ll immediately hear tales about how incomprehensibly vast the Universe is. … Read more