In the first fleeting milliseconds after the Big Bang, the Universe consisted of a superdense soup of quarks and gluons that were hundreds of thousands of times hotter than the Sun. Over the next 14 billion years, the Universe stretched and cooled, leaving traces of the original brew trapped inside the protons and neutrons of atoms. Scientists are smashing atoms together at high speeds to liberate and observe these remnants of the early Universe and gain a better understanding of our cosmic beginnings.
A new study has found firm evidence that nitrogen in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan originated in conditions similar to the cold birthplace of the most ancient comets from the Oort cloud. The finding rules out the possibility that Titan's building blocks formed within the warm disk of material thought to have surrounded the infant planet Saturn during its formation.
Using the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, scientists have found that this atmosphere, called the corona, is even larger than thought, extending out some 5 million miles above the sun's surface - the equivalent of 12 solar radii.
Space may appear empty - a soundless vacuum, but it's not an absolute void. It flows with electric activity that is not visible to our eyes. NASA is developing plans to send humans to an asteroid, and wants to know more about the electrical environment explorers will encounter there.
Astronomers have discovered three closely orbiting supermassive black holes in a galaxy more than 4 billion light years away. This is the tightest trio of black holes known to date. The discovery suggests that such closely packed supermassive black holes are far more common than previously thought.
3,500 million years ago the Martian crater Gale, through which the NASA rover Curiosity is currently traversing, was covered with glaciers, mainly over its central mound. Very cold liquid water also flowed through its rivers and lakes on the lower-lying areas, forming landscapes similar to those which can be found in Iceland or Alaska. This is reflected in an analysis of the images taken by the spacecraft orbiting the red planet.
Astronomers have made the first large-scale maps of icy material where stars are forming. In a challenge to conventional ideas about the formation of water in space, they find ice in regions with little dust or gas.
This week, a developing field of research that merges astronomical techniques with the study of ancient man-made features and the surrounding landscapes will be highlighted at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) 2014 in Portsmouth.
A team of astronomers has identified possibly the coldest, faintest white dwarf star ever detected. This ancient stellar remnant is so cool that its carbon has crystallized, forming - in effect - an Earth-size diamond in space.
Who owns the moon? What kind of valuable resources does Earth's nearest neighbor hold? And how - and when - can we access them? All these questions will be debated today by a panel comprised of scientists, entrepreneurs and policy makers brought together by Google Lunar XPRIZE at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2014.
In the nearly 25 years since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), astronomers and the public alike have enjoyed ground-breaking views of the cosmos and the suite of scientific discoveries that followed. The successor to HST, the James Webb Telescope should launch in 2018 but will have a comparatively short lifetime.
Astronomers have discovered a bright, mysterious geologic object - where one never existed - on Cassini mission radar images of Ligeia Mare, the second-largest sea on Saturn's moon Titan. Scientifically speaking, this spot is considered a 'transient feature', but the astronomers have playfully dubbed it 'Magic Island'.