universe

DESI will analyze light collected by the four-meter Mayall telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.

New Project Aims to Create Most Detailed 3-D Map of the Universe

An instrument named “DESI” will chart up to 40 million galaxies, ten times more than any previous survey

Astronomers have discovered the oldest and most distant quasar in the universe. The quasar, named J0313-1806, formed just 670 million years after the Big Bang some 13 billion light years away.

New Research

This 13-Billion-Year-Old Supermassive Black Hole Is the Oldest Ever Found

Huge black hole is so old it offers a glimpse into the early universe, and so big it challenges ideas of how black holes form

In the heart of a new dark matter detector, LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), a 5-foot-tall detector filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon, will search for hypothetical dark matter particles to produce flashes of light as they traverse the detector.

New Generation of Dark Matter Experiments Gear Up to Search for Elusive Particle

Deep underground, in abandoned gold and nickel mines, vats of liquid xenon and silicon germanium crystals will be tuned to detect invisible matter

Vera C. Rubin, who advanced our understanding of dark matter, operating the 2.1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

For the First Time, a National U.S. Observatory Has Been Named for a Female Astronomer: Vera Rubin

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory will image the entire visible night sky every few nights

An artist impression of Cheops, the CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite, with an exoplanet system in the background

Three Things to Know About Europe's New Exoplanet Space Telescope

CHEOPS is the first exoplanet satellite devoted specifically to learning more about the thousands of planets we have already found

The positions of the globular clusters used to estimate the mass of the Milky Way.

Cool Finds

How Much Does the Milky Way Weigh?

Measurements from the Gaia satellite and Hubble Space Telescope show our galaxy tips the scales at about 1.5 trillion solar masses

Dancing during the last day of Hatun Puncha.

Andean Solstice Celebrations Capture the Wondrous Churn of Spacetime

Exploring the similarities and differences between Indigenous and Western cosmologies

This Molecule Could Explain the Origin of Life

Hydrogen cyanide is a molecule that appears to be at the heart of the creation of life. To create it, scientists need a burst of energy

We're All Made of Stardust. Here's How

13.8 billion years ago, the universe began with a big bang and the atoms it created would find their way into everything

Perhaps our sun will produce something as beautiful as the Cat's Eye Nebula.

New Research

The Sun Will Produce a Beautiful Planetary Nebula When It Dies

A new model of stellar death shows our low-mass star has enough juice to produce a beautiful ring of gas and dust before winking out

New Research

If a Cosmic Bubble Destroys the Universe, Scientists Now Know When It'll Happen

Don't panic yet; the end won't be for at least 10 octodecillion years, if it happens at all

Each chapter progresses from the very small to the very big.

Learn to Speak the Language of the Universe With This Mindblowing New Book

<i>Magnitude</i> helps you imagine the outer limits of time, speed and distance—without breaking your brain

Why Pantone's Color of the Year Is the Shade of Science

PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet is a deep saturated purple, but it doesn't hold a candle to true ultraviolet

An artist's impression shows two tiny but very dense neutron stars at the point at which they merge and explode as a kilonova.

What the Neutron Star Collision Means for Dark Matter

The latest LIGO observations rekindle a fiery debate over how gravity works: Does the universe include dark matter, or doesn’t it?

Ask Smithsonian

When Did East Asian Countries Adopt the Western Calendar and More Questions From Our Readers

You asked, we answered

Backyard Worlds is using the power of citizen scientists to search for the elusive Planet 9.

The Universe Needs You: To Help in the Hunt for Planet 9

How one citizen science endeavor is using the Internet to democratize the search for distant worlds

There are mind-bogglingly vast quantities of alcohol in outer space. Sadly, it's so dispersed you’d have to travel half a million light years to make a pint of beer.

Guess What? Space is Full of Booze

We’ll toast to that

An artist's rendering of a star colliding with the surface of a supermassive sphere. In recent years some scientists have surmised that black holes may be hard objects rather than a region of intense gravity and compressed matter.

Could You Crash Into a Black Hole?

Probably not, but it’s fun to think about

What Is Dark Matter and More Questions From Our Readers

You asked, we answered

British statesman and author Winston Churchill reads correspondence at his desk in 1933.

Think Big

“Are We Alone in the Universe?” Winston Churchill's Lost Extraterrestrial Essay Says No

The famed British statesman approached the question of alien life with a scientist's mind

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