Colorful view of universe as seen by Hubble in 2014. NASA, ESA, H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski (IPAC/Caltech), A. Koekemoer (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and Z. Levay (STScI)

The universe’s rate of expansion is in dispute – and we may need new physics to solve it

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Using two of the world’s most powerful space telescopes — NASA’s Hubble and ESA’s Gaia — astronomers have made the most precise measurements to date of the universe’s expansion rate. This is calculated by gauging the distances between nearby galaxies using special types of stars called Cepheid variables as cosmic yardsticks. By comparing their intrinsic brightness as measured by Hubble, with their apparent brightness as seen from Earth, scientists can calculate their distances. Gaia further refines this yardstick by geometrically measuring the distances to Cepheid variables within our Milky Way galaxy. This allowed astronomers to more precisely calibrate the distances to Cepheids that are seen in outside galaxies. Credits: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Fuel Cosmic Conundrum

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When galaxies align. NASA

How we proved Einstein right on galactic scales – and what it means for dark energy and dark matter

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How unique is our universe? Jaime Salcido/Durham University, Author provided

We discovered that life may be billions of times more common in the multiverse

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About a century ago, we didn’t even know that galaxies existed. Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SA

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Gaia’s view of our Milky Way and neighbouring galaxies. ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA

Gaia mission releases map of more than a billion stars – here’s what it can teach us

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This large, fuzzy-looking galaxy is so diffuse that astronomers call it a “see-through” galaxy because they can clearly see distant galaxies behind it. The ghostly object, catalogued as NGC 1052-DF2, doesn’t have a noticeable central region, or even spiral arms and a disk, typical features of a spiral galaxy. But it doesn’t look like an elliptical galaxy, either. Even its globular clusters are oddballs: they are twice as large as typical stellar groupings seen in other galaxies. All of these oddities pale in comparison to the weirdest aspect of this galaxy: NGC 1052-DF2 is missing most, if not all, of its dark matter. Credits: NASA, ESA, and P. van Dokkum (Yale University)

Dark Matter Goes Missing in Oddball Galaxy

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These Hubble Space Telescope images showcase two of the 19 galaxies analyzed in a project to improve the precision of the universe's expansion rate, a value known as the Hubble constant. The color-composite images show NGC 3972 (left) and NGC 1015 (right), located 65 million light-years and 118 million light-years, respectively, from Earth. The yellow circles in each galaxy represent the locations of pulsating stars called Cepheid variables. Credits: NASA, ESA, A. Riess (STScI/JHU)

Improved Hubble Yardstick Gives Fresh Evidence for New Physics in the Universe

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In 2014, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope found that this enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion Suns. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS

Hubble Weighs in on Mass of Three Million Billion Suns

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Artist s impression of merging neutron stars. Author University of Warwick/Mark Garlick, CC BY-SA

How crashing neutron stars killed off some of our best ideas about what ‘dark energy’ is

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Image showing where scientists believe dark matter resides in the galaxy cluster Abell 520 – near the hot gas in the middle, coloured green. Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, CC BY-SA

Study finds ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ may not exist – here’s what to make of it

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Part of the new map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey. Chihway Chang/University of Chicago/DES collaboration, Author provided

What a new map of the universe tells us about dark matter

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Map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey. The map covers about 1/30th of the entire sky and spans several billion light years in extent. Red regions have more dark matter than average, blue regions less dark matter. Credits: Chihway Chang/Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago/DES Collaboration

New Clues to Universe’s Structure Revealed

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Simulated universe: EAGLE collaboration, J Schaye et al 2015. MNRAS, CC BY-SA

Can we ditch dark energy by better understanding general relativity?

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