Universe Stories


What is Dark Energy? Inside our accelerating, expanding Universe

11 min read

Some 13.8 billion years ago, the universe began with a rapid expansion we call the big bang. After this initial expansion, which lasted a fraction of a second, gravity started to slow the universe down. But the cosmos wouldn’t stay…

Article3 weeks ago

Gamma-ray Bursts: Harvesting Knowledge From the Universe’s Most Powerful Explosions

7 min read

The most powerful events in the known universe – gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) – are short-lived outbursts of the highest-energy light. They can erupt with a quintillion (a 10 followed by 18 zeros) times the luminosity of our Sun. Now thought…

Article3 months ago

How Gravity Warps Light

5 min read

Gravity is obviously pretty important. It holds your feet down to Earth so you don’t fly away into space, and (equally important) it keeps your ice cream from floating right out of your cone! We’ve learned a lot about gravity…

Article8 months ago

Gamma-Ray Bursts: Black Hole Birth Announcements

4 min read

Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest, most violent explosions in the universe, but they can be surprisingly tricky to detect. Our eyes can’t see them because they are tuned to just a limited portion of the types of light that exist,…

Article9 months ago

Dust in the Stellar Wind: A Cosmological Primer

5 min read

The handsome Horsehead Nebula, rearing up against glowing red gas, is sculpted from dust. Like many of the most iconic images in astronomy, the nebula is made of thick clouds of the stuff, part of a vast molecular cloud complex…

Article10 months ago

What Happens When Something Gets ‘Too Close’ to a Black Hole?

7 min read

Can a star be squeezed like a tube of toothpaste, flattened like a pancake, or stretched out like a piece of spaghetti? If there’s a black hole nearby, maybe. Scattered across the universe, black holes are objects with gravity so…

Article10 months ago

What is Betelgeuse? Inside the Strange, Volatile Star

6 min read

A blazing red supergiant shining brilliantly in the night sky, Betelgeuse is a star that has captured attention for centuries.

Article10 months ago

Star Clusters: Inside the Universe’s Stellar Collections

6 min read

Billions of trillions of stars speckle the universe. Star clusters are groups of stars that share an origin, forming at roughly the same time and location, and are tied together by gravity for up to millions or even billions of…

Article10 months ago

A Mesmerizing Model of Monster Black Holes

2 min read

Just about every galaxy the size of our Milky Way (or bigger) has a supermassive black hole at its center. These objects are ginormous – hundreds of thousands to billions of times the mass of the Sun! Now, we know…

Article10 months ago

What’s Made in a Thunderstorm and Faster Than Lightning? Gamma Rays!

3 min read

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has spotted gamma rays coming from thunderstorms.

Article11 months ago