Month: April 2019

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Extraterrestrial life, that familiar science-fiction trope, that kitschy fantasy, that CGI nightmare, has become a matter of serious discussion, a “risk factor”, a “scenario”. How has ET gone from sci-fi fairytale to a serious scientific endeavour modelled by macroeconomists, funded by fiscal conservatives and discussed by theologians? Because, following a string of remarkable discoveries over
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In the bewildering quagmire that is the gas between the stars, the Hubble Space Telescope has identified evidence of ionised buckminsterfullerene, the carbon molecule known colloquially as “buckyballs”. Containing 60 carbon atoms arranged in a soccer ball shape, buckminsterfullerene (C60) occurs naturally here on Earth – in soot. But in 2010, it was also detected in
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You can be thankful that we orbit a placid, main sequence, yellow dwarf star. Astronomers recently spied a massive superflare on a diminutive star, a powerful, radiation spewing event that you wouldn’t want to witness up close. The ‘star’ was ULAS J224940.13-011236.9, an L-type sub-stellar brown dwarf near the Aquarius-Pisces border. The cumbersome, phone number-style
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In February of 2016, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the first-ever detection of gravitational waves (GWs). Since then, multiple events have been detected, providing insight into a cosmic phenomena that was predicted over a century ago by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. A little over a year ago, LIGO was taken