Deep Dives

Big Bang Infographic showing the timeline of the history of the big bang and the formation of the building blocks of the universe. he history of the universe is outlined in this infographic. It starts with Inflation, then the first particles in 1 microsecond, followed by first nuclei (10 seconds); first light (300,000 years); first stars (200 million years); galaxies and dark matter (400 million years); dark energy (10 billion years); present (13.8 billion years). NASA

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…

Article2 months ago
Two neutron stars begin to merge in this artist’s concept, blasting jets of high-speed particles. Collision events like this one create short gamma-ray bursts. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/ A. Simonnet, Sonoma State University

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…

Article5 months ago
A black background is speckled by a seemingly infinite number of bright spots, with smaller spots being a pale-yellow color with some brighter and larger spots that are orange, bright red, and blue.

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…

Article12 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.

Article12 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…

Article12 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…

Article12 months ago