“Black Hole Enigma” –Could the Discovery Be a Massive Neutron Star?

Black Hole Simulation


Our knowledge of black holes has grown exponentially since Princeton quantum physicist John Wheeler first named these enigmatic monsters in 1967, observing that “the laws of physics that we regard as ‘sacred,’ as immutable, are anything but.” Observations have shown that stellar black holes typically have masses of about ten times that of the Sun, in accordance with the theory of stellar evolution. But a Chinese team of astronomers recently claimed to have discovered a black hole as massive as 70 solar masses, which, if confirmed, would severely challenge the current view of stellar evolution.


“Dead or Alive?” –Postmortem of Gigantic Galaxies at Dawn of the Cosmos

Hubble Deep Field Frontier Image


“We found that its core seems already fully formed at that time,” says Masayuki Tanaka who led a team of researchers of the Cosmic Dawn Center at the Niels Bohr Institute and the National Observatory of Japan about a recently discovered massive galaxy already dying only 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang. “This result pairs up with the fact that, when these dying gigantic systems were still alive and forming stars, they might have not been that extreme compared with the average population of galaxies”, adds Francesco Valentino, author of an article on the past history of dead galaxies appeared in the Astrophysical Journal.


Dark Matter Particles the Size of Planets? –“Yes” Say ‘Cold-Model’ Physicists

Cold Dark Matter Halo


“At first, we thought it was absurd. How else could you respond to the idea that black holes generate swirling clouds of planet-sized particles that could be the dark matter thought to hold galaxies together? We tend to think about particles as being tiny but, theoretically, there is no reason they can’t be as big as a galaxy,” said theoretical physicist Asimina Arvanitaki, at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics referring to the heated debate about the standard model for dark matter that proposes that it is ‘cold,’ meaning that the particles move slowly compared to the speed of light which is tied to the mass of dark matter particles. The lower the mass of the particle, the ‘warmer’ it is and the faster it will move.


“It’s Out There” –Origin of Phosphorus Alien to Earth, Key to Life

Near Earth Asteroid


Phosphorus, present in our DNA and cell membranes, is one of the six main elements that make up the human body and an essential element for life as we know it. Unlike hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and calcium, phosphorus is rare. It is even more scarce in the rest of the Solar System. The source of its arrival on early Earth has long been up to debate.


“A Lonely Star, Nu Indi” — Revealed that 11.5 Billion Years Ago a Galaxy Slammed Into the Milky Way

Milky Way Southern Sky


Gaia Mission scientists called it “hiding in plain sight” referring to their major breakthrough in unraveling the formation history of the Milky Way when our galaxy merged with another galaxy early in its life, littering evidence across the sky all around us. The merger — a collision, actually — reports astronomers at Yale University, happened 11.5 billion years ago when a small galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus slammed into what then existed of the Milky Way, Earth’s home galaxy, which is about 13.5 billion years old.


Ballooning Over Antarctica –“Searching for the Origins of Cosmic Rays”



“After three Antarctic seasons — with 19 launch attempts, two launches and one recovery of the payload from a crevasse field — it is wonderful to have SuperTIGER-2 finally reach float altitude and begin collecting scientific data,” said Brian Rauch, research assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University SuperTIGER –the balloon-borne scientific instrument that finished its first full revolution of Antarctica to measure the rare heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins outside of the solar system.