Kailyn Mercer

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Coldest place in the universe

The ghostly Boomerang Nebula, coldest known place in the universe, reveals its true shape in this image from the giant ALMA radio telescope.<p>The …

Photo: New details in nearby starburst galaxy M82

Streamers of material are seen fleeing the disk of the galaxy, while concentrations of dense molecular gas surround pockets of intense star formation.<p>…

Wormholes and Quantum Entanglement May Be Linked

This advance is so meta. Theoretical physicists have forged a connection between the concept of entanglement—itself a mysterious quantum mechanical …

The paradox of the demon star

There is a demon's head winking at us every few nights. It's brightest during the winter months, so you might be able to see it on clear nights in …

Universe

Extreme black hole is more luminous than astronomers thought possible

For decades, astronomers have puzzled over an odd source of X-ray light in an arm of the galaxy M101, just off the handle of the Big Dipper. The …

The Year’s Most Beautiful Photos From Space

Cosmic photography is always breathtaking, so a full year’s worth of images provides plenty of choices. Here are some of 2013’s highlights.

Noble gas molecule found in remains of exploded star

Astronomers have discovered a molecule in space that contains a noble gas. Until now, scientists thought such compounds only existed on Earth.<p>The …

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Here's Our Best Bet For Finding Life in Space

When astronomers first went about finding planets outside our solar system, the method they used could only detect planets the size of Jupiter. A good start, although not ideal if you're curious about life outside of Earth.<p>"But if you're looking for life as we know it, you want to find familiar …

Planetary Habitability

New calculations suggest the Universe could collapse at any time

All things being equal, the universe is set to continually expand, eventually ripping itself to shreds in about 22 billion years. But Danish …

Day 17 of the 2013 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar - http://theatln.tc/1897WUE - IRAS 23166+1655 is an unusual pre-planetary nebula, a celestial spiral around the star LL Pegasi. The spiral pattern suggests a regular periodic origin for the nebula's shape. The material forming the spiral is moving outwards a speed of about 50.000 km/hour and, by combining this speed with the distance between layers, astronomers calculate that the shells are each separated by about 800 years. The spiral is thought to arise because LL Pegasi is a binary system, with the star that is losing material and a companion star orbiting each other. (ESA/NASA, R. Sahai)