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Our Days Are a Smidge Longer Than They Used to Be

Which we know thanks to some meticulous ancient astronomers

(Newser) - The meticulous work of ancient astronomers has led to a modern observation: Our days are longer than they used to be. Not that you'd notice: The new research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A shows that it takes the Earth a tiny bit longer these days to... More »

Study: Saturn's Rings, Moons Are Younger Than Dinosaurs

And that's surprisingly young

(Newser) - Scientists may have overestimated how old Saturn's rings and moons are—by more than 4 billion years. In fact, the planet's rings and many of its 62 moons likely didn't form until dinosaurs were around to see it happen, Discovery reports. Researchers from the SETI Institute measured... More »

Mysterious Repeating Signals Are Arriving From Deep Space

'Fast radio bursts' are now even more baffling to astronomers

(Newser) - Researchers just announced the discovery of radio signals from beyond our galaxy that are behaving in strange ways. Fast radio bursts—or FRBs—are very rare, very quick blasts of radio waves originating billions of light years away, Popular Science explains. It's unclear where exactly in the universe they'... More »

4 Reactions to the Gravitational Waves Discovery

'I'm delighted'

(Newser) - After weeks of speculation, a team of LIGO scientists announced the long-awaited discovery of gravitational waves on Thursday. The discovery confirms a portion of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity 100 years after he first predicted gravitational waves. A lot of people were understandably excited. Here are some of... More »

Rumors of a Massive Physics Discovery Swirl

'Probably a shoo-in for this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics'

(Newser) - Rarely does a tweet not involving a Kardashian or a cat stir up such a swell of excitement. On Monday, physicist Lawrence Krauss tweeted that scientists may have discovered gravitational waves, phenomena first predicted by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago but never observed, Gizmodo reports. "If true... More »

Giant Exoplanet's Rings a 'Super Saturn'

Impressive 30-ring system is 200 times larger than Saturn

(Newser) - In 2012, scientists discovered a giant exoplanet (one that orbits a star other than our sun) with a ring system so impressive it eclipses its own host star. Now, thanks to a recent eclipse where planet J1407b lined up in front of host star J1407, scientists at the University of... More »

There Are Only 10 Asteroids Worth Mining

Mining company says that's way off

(Newser) - The burgeoning space mining industry might be short lived if Harvard astrophysicist Dr. Martin Elvis' calculations are correct. Elvis has just released a study estimating that just 10 near-Earth asteroids could be mined cost effectively, the BBC reports. Elvis assumed that miners would want to grab M-type rocks, the iron-nickel... More »

Astrophysicist 'Finds' Superman's Planet Krypton

Neil deGrasse Tyson gives DC Comics a hand

(Newser) - OK, the planet Krypton still isn't real—but now we know where it would be if it existed. Using data from DC Comics, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has found a spot in space for Superman's home planet, the New York Post reports. "One of our staffers reached... More »

Studies Illuminate the Moon's Explosive Origin

'Giant impact theory' gets a boost

(Newser) - A trio of new studies has breathed life back into a dramatic theory about the birth of the moon. Scientists have long suspected that the moon was formed when a Mars-sized planet called Theia smashed into Earth, obliterating itself and creating the moon, the LA Times explains. The problem? The... More »

Big Find: Dark Matter Strand Connecting Galaxy Clusters

Find confirms theories on universe's formation

(Newser) - This is shaping up to be one hell of a week for scientists trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe. Hot on the heels of the apparent Higgs boson discovery , an international team of astrophysicists has revealed that it has spotted a filament of dark matter connecting two... More »

God Not Necessary for Big Bang: Scientists

But that doesn't mean there is no God

(Newser) - The Big Bang could have brought the universe into existence whether or not God exists, researchers said at the recent SETICon 2 conference. "The Big Bang could've occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there," said one astrophysicist. "With the laws of... More »

3 Americans Win Nobel for Finding Expanding Universe

Americans independently made same discovery

(Newser) - The universe isn't just expanding, it's expanding faster every day. Three American scientists who made that discovery have won the Nobel Prize in Physics today for their efforts, the AP reports. The men were split between two competing research teams during the 1990s, with Saul Perlmutter on one... More »

Some Catholics Still Say Galileo Was Wrong

Conservatives tie astronomer's ideas to moral decline

(Newser) - Not only did Roman Catholics arrest Galileo for saying the Earth revolves around the sun—a handful of them still insist he was wrong. It's a small movement, but a few conservative Roman Catholics are turning to Church teachings and a dozen Bible verses as proof of a geocentric... More »

Stephen Hawking Talks Health Care, ALS, and Life

Physicist offers advice for living with disability

(Newser) - When you can only speak by twitching your cheek toward words flitting past your screen, you don’t tend to do a lot of interviews. But Stephen Hawking sat down with the New York Times last month to talk about his life, aliens, and health care. Some highlights:
  • On aliens:
... More »

New Planet Sought at Edge of Solar System

Planet Tyche explains change in path of comets: researchers

(Newser) - A huge and previously undetected planet lies at the outer edge of the solar system, believe two University of Louisiana astrophysicists. The planet Tyche, a gas giant four times the size of Jupiter, likely lies in the outer Oort cloud—the most remote part of the solar system—and almost... More »

Milky Way Emits Huge Gamma Ray Bubbles

Massive bubbles of energy stump astrophysicists

(Newser) - Scientists say they have discovered two vast and mysterious bubbles of gamma-ray energy coming from the center of our galaxy. The bubbles, which extend an incredible 25,000 light years above and below the galaxy's plane, were discovered by scientists analyzing data from NASA's Fermi telescope, the Los Angeles Times... More »

Northern Lights Head South—for 1 Night

Aurora borealis may be visible in northern US tonight

(Newser) - Thanks to a plasma eruption that roiled the surface of the sun, residents of the northern US and Canada may be able to enjoy a spectacular show tonight—the Northern Lights. "This eruption is directed right at us, and is expected to get here early in the day on... More »

Hunt for Dark Matter Heads Deeper Underground

Scientist to seek WIMPs at site more than a mile deep

(Newser) - Scientists hunting for the invisible substance believed to make up most of the matter in the universe are planning to move the search to a two-mile-deep mine in Canada. Researchers trying to detect dark matter about a half-mile below the surface of Minnesota suspect they may have captured two particles... More »

Massive Space Mission to Test Einstein Theory

Three ships to fire lasers at each other near sun

(Newser) - NASA and the European Space Agency are preparing to shoot three spacecraft into orbit around the sun and have them fire laser beams at each other, in an attempt to detect gravitational waves—the last unproven piece of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. They're calling the whole thing the... More »

NY Prof Urges UFO Degree

'Millions' of sightings require serious research

(Newser) - An American professor believes it's high time universities seriously study UFO sightings. "Millions" of sightings are reported each year, noted anthropology professor Philip Hasely. "It’s about time we looked into this as a worthy area of study," he tells the Buffalo News . "It's important that... More »

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