July 18, 2012 |
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered the oldest known spiral galaxy, a 10.7-billion-year-old anomaly that by all rights shouldn't exist. The galaxy was present in the early universe, about 3 billion years after the Big Bang, at a time when galaxies were still forming and normally looked clumpy and irregular. "The vast majority of old galaxies look like train wrecks," said UCLA astronomer Alice E. Shapley, one of the discoverers of the unusual spiral galaxy.
January 9, 1998 |
The "big bang" will not be followed by the "big crunch," say five teams of astronomers who used different techniques to gather evidence on the future of the universe. Ruth Daly, a Princeton University astronomer, said, "It is quite clear now that the universe will expand forever." The astronomy teams, in effect, were trying to determine if there is enough matter in the universe to force it to one day stop its current expansion and start collapsing inward.
April 1, 2002 |
There's been a certain amount of snickering in astronomy circles lately over the "color of the universe" brouhaha. In case you missed it, in January, astronomers from Johns Hopkins University announced that the universe was turquoise. In February, they found a bug in their code, and now they say it's closer to beige ("cosmic latte" is the current favored name). "Why just the color?" one astronomer cracked. "Why not its texture? How does it feel?" Is it sticky or smooth? Sad or gay?
January 8, 2007 |
Google has already planted its flag on Earth, the moon and Mars. The universe could be next. The Internet search company has struck a partnership with scientists building a huge sky-scanning telescope, with hopes of helping the public gain access to digital footage of asteroids, supernovas and distant galaxies. "Frankly, I could see the day when they would be our sort of window to the general public," said Donald Sweeney, manager of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST.
July 2, 1986 |
"I wouldn't hire a contractor to build a new bathroom without finding out how much it would cost and how long it would take," Martin Harwit explained during a visit to Caltech in June. "So why should we astronomers go about exploring the universe without knowing how many new phenomena are left to find, how much it is going to cost and how long it will take us to finish the job."
June 10, 2002
A few weeks ago, I received a voicemail message that put a smile on my face a light-year long. The words tumbling out of the machine could barely contain my friend's excitement; he sounded, in fact, a lot like a child who had just got home from school and couldn't wait to tell you that butterflies come from caterpillars or that worms can grow their heads back after you cut them off. Except that my friend is 90 years old, today, and Walter wasn't calling about worms.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 1992 |
Scientists led by a Pasadena astronomer said Tuesday they have used an extraordinarily long exposure from the Hubble Space Telescope to create sharp images of a 4-billion-year-old galaxy cluster that confirms theories that the universe is evolving--"and at a pretty rapid rate." At the same time, in the background of those images, the astronomers serendipitously stumbled upon what appears to be a previously unknown, 10-billion-year-old galaxy cluster.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2001 |
The entire history of science, it often seems, is one long lesson in humility. From our privileged spot at the center of the cosmos (or so we thought) just a few hundred years ago, we fell into the arms of a very ordinary spiral galaxy, one of billions in the universe. Our solar system, astronomers tell us, congealed out of debris of long-dead stars the way fat congeals in soup.
April 17, 1988 |
High atop this dormant volcano, nearly three miles above the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, scientists are building the most powerful telescopes in the world, massive instruments that will allow them to peer back through nature's time machine to the beginning of the universe.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 21, 1991 |
"Many and strange are the universes that drift like bubbles in the foam upon the river of time." --Arthur C. Clarke. Our universe, physicists believe, began about 15 billion years ago in a Big Bang. This was an enormous explosion, far more violent than that of a nuclear bomb, an intense flash of energy that created the cosmos. But what existed before the Big Bang? What produced it, or caused it to occur? Today a number of investigators are giving new insights that address these questions.