Friday, September 20, 2019

Artificial Intelligence Probes Dark Matter in the Universe

Once the neural network has been trained, it can be used to extract cosmological parameters from actual images of the night sky. (Visualisations: ETH Zurich)

Understanding the how our universe came to be what it is today and what will be its final destiny is one of the biggest challenges in science. The awe-inspiring display of countless stars on a clear night gives us some idea of the magnitude of the problem, and yet that is only part of the story. The deeper riddle lies in what we cannot see, at least not directly: dark matter and dark energy. With dark matter pulling the universe together and dark energy causing it to expand faster, cosmologists need to know exactly how much of those two is out there in order to refine their models.

New Study Argues that Saturn's Rings Are Actually Not Young

An artist’s impression of the Cassini spacecraft among Saturn’s rings.

No one knows for certain when Saturn’s iconic rings formed, but a new study co-authored by a Southwest Research Institute scientist suggests that they are much older than some scientists think.

Research Reveals Vital Clues about Recycling in the Evolution of Life in Our Universe


By investigating the different stages in the life journey of stars and gaining new knowledge about their evolutionary cycle, scientists at the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science have discovered more about a crucial stage in the emergence of life in our universe. Their research reveals for the first time how matter discarded as stars die is recycled to form new stars and planets.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

From Primordial Black Holes New Clues to Dark Matter

Lyman-alpha Forest simulations (Projection of the neutral hydrogen fraction at redshift z=2 and z = 4.0) Credits: The Sherwood Simulation Suite

Moving through cosmic forests and spider webs in deep space in search of answers on the origin of the Cosmos. "We have tested a scenario in which dark matter is composed by non-stellar black holes, formed in the primordial Universe" says Riccardo Murgia, lead author of the study recently published in Physical Review Letters.

Tabby’s Star: Exomoon’s Slow Annihilation Could Explain the Dimming of the Most Mysterious Star in the Universe

A new study suggests that chunks of an exomoon’s dusty outer layers of ice, gas, and carbonaceous rock may be accumulating in a disk surrounding Tabby’s Star, blocking the star’s light and making it appear to gradually fade. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

For years, astronomers have looked up at the sky and speculated about the strange dimming behavior of Tabby's Star. First identified more than a century ago, the star dips in brightness over days or weeks before recovering to its previous luminosity. At the same time, the star appears to be slowly losing its luster overall, leaving researchers scratching their heads. Now, astronomers at Columbia University believe they've developed an explanation for this oddity.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

KATRIN Cuts the Mass Estimate for the Elusive Neutrino in Half

The spectrometer for the KATRIN experiment, as it works its way through the German town of Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen in 2006 on its way to the nearby Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

An international team of scientists has announced a breakthrough in its quest to measure the mass of the neutrino, one of the most abundant, yet elusive, elementary particles in our universe.

Most Massive Neutron Star Ever Detected, Almost too Massive to Exist

Artist impression of the pulse from a massive neutron star being delayed by the passage of a white dwarf star between the neutron star and Earth. Credit: BSaxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

Astronomers using the Green Bank Observatory (GBT) have discovered the most massive neutron star to date, a rapidly spinning pulsar approximately 4,600 light-years from Earth. This record-breaking object is teetering on the edge of existence, approaching the theoretical maximum mass possible for a neutron star.

The Stellar Nurseries of Distant Galaxies

Molecular clouds detected at the unprecedented resolution of 90 light-years in the Cosmic Snake, located more than 8 billion light-years away, a typical progenitor of our galaxy (left). Observed at resolutions 50,000 times better, each of these clouds resembles the very tormented gas of the Carina nebula located only 7500 light-years away, a veritable nursery of emerging stars (right). © UNIGE, Dessauges et NASA, ESA

Star clusters are formed by the condensation of molecular clouds, masses of cold, dense gas that are found in every galaxy. The physical properties of these clouds in our own galaxy and nearby galaxies have been known for a long time. But are they identical in distant galaxies that are more than 8 billion light-years away? For the first time, an international team led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) has been able to detect molecular clouds in a Milky Way progenitor, thanks to the unprecedented spatial resolution achieved in such a distant galaxy.