How Large is the Universe?

The universe has long captivated us with its immense scales of distance and time. How far out does it stretch? Where does it end, and what lies beyond the star fields and the streams of galaxies that extend as far as telescopes can see? These questions are beginning to yield to a series of extraordinary […]

The Largest Black Holes in the Universe (VERSION ONE)

We’ve never seen them directly, yet we know they are there, Lurking within dense star clusters, Or wandering the dust lanes of the galaxy, Where they prey on stars, Or swallow planets whole. Our Milky Way may harbor millions of these black holes, the ultra dense remnants of dead stars. But now, in the universe […]

Why Mars Died, and Earth Lived

The Mars rover, Curiosity, is the latest in a long line of missions to Mars… Landers sent to scoop its soil and study its rocks, orbiters sent to map its valleys and ridges. They are all asking the same question. Did liquid water once flow on this dry and dusty world? Did it support life […]

Saturn’s Mysterious Moons (V1)

Some 900 million miles from the Sun… in the outer regions of our Solar System… orbiting the planet Saturn…. …lies a mysterious world. Enceladus is enveloped in ice. Because nearly all of the sunlight that manages to hit its surface is reflected back into space, it’s one of the brightest objects in the solar system. […]

Strange Magnetic Bubbles at the Edge of the Solar System

The two Voyager spacecraft have been traveling away from Earth for more than 33 years and they are finally in the outer edge of the solar system. This boundary is marked by the outer reaches of the sun’s magnetic field and solar wind, which form an enormous expanse called the heliosphere. As the solar wind […]

Solar Tsunami

The SOHO spacecraft has recorded the effect of all this rising energy. Its ultraviolet sensors show a wavy pattern of gas on the sun’s surface, along with the super-hot halo of gas called the corona. The white regions are places where the rising gas suddenly escapes. Immense loops of ionized gas, ten times the diameter […]

The Largest Black Holes in the Universe

We’ve never seen them directly, yet we know they are there, lurking within dense star clusters or wandering the dust lanes of the galaxy, where they prey on stars or swallow planets whole. Our Milky Way may harbor millions of black holes, the ultra dense remnants of dead stars. But now, in the universe far […]

Venus: Death of a Planet

From the fires of a sun’s birth, twin planets emerged. Venus and Earth. Two roads diverged in our young solar system. Nature draped one world in the greens and blues of life. While enveloping the other in acid clouds, high heat, and volcanic flows. Why did Venus take such a disastrous turn? And what light […]