Astrophysics

Six exoplanets in unusual resonance Astrophysics

Six exoplanets in unusual resonance

If one leaves multi-body systems to themselves, sometimes a strange order appears. The distances of the planetary orbits are integer multiples of a basic value, moons and planets move in unison, celestial bodies always turn to the same side - what we then perceive as cosmic order are all no miracles, but merely results of the effect of gravity in a system built up in a certain way. This is also true of TOI-178, a star about 200 light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. When researchers first observed the star, they initially suspected they had discovered two planets orbiting…
In search of the axion, a hypothetical elementary particle Astrophysics

In search of the axion, a hypothetical elementary particle

For some time now, physicists have been thinking about an elementary particle that has very little mass, no electric charge and no spin (quantum angular momentum). It would interact very little with other particles because of these properties and would therefore be a good candidate for dark matter, which is characterized by just that. But the axion is also used in physics because in the neutron, a neutral nuclear particle, the charge of the quarks of which it is composed is so perfectly distributed that it is not at all apparent to the outside world that there are balancing…
Premature birth? The most distant quasar raises questions Astrophysics

Premature birth? The most distant quasar raises questions

Astronomers have discovered the most distant quasar yet. The monstrous celestial object called J0313-1806, which existed 670 million years after the Big Bang, shines thousands of times brighter than the Milky Way and is powered by another extreme, the earliest supermassive black hole, more than 1.6 billion times the mass of the Sun. This fully formed distant quasar with a redshift of z = 7.64, formed more than 13 billion years ago, is also the earliest quasar discovered to date, giving astronomers a glimpse of how massive galaxies formed in the early universe. Quasars, powered by the feeding orgies…
I welcome our future rulers, the Artificial Superintelligences Astrophysics

I welcome our future rulers, the Artificial Superintelligences

An artificial intelligence that is smarter than humans is one of the favorite subjects in science fiction. There are researchers who claim that such an AI is technically impossible. Others believe it is inevitable. If that could be the case, humanity faces a difficult problem. Can we somehow ensure that this superintelligence is benevolent to us? Can we control it? Because if we can't, the survival of humanity would be in its hands alone. A conception, which can please us so little that we would have to do then everything to prevent its emergence. An international team of researchers…
How Earth rocks on the sea of space-time Astrophysics

How Earth rocks on the sea of space-time

A constant radiation in the microwave range, the background radiation, has long told cosmologists that something important happened 380,000 years after the Big Bang. At that time, electrons and protons recombined to form molecular hydrogen, so that space finally became transparent, allowing light to propagate. We can still measure the remnants of this light, shifted into the infrared. But a lot happened shortly after the Big Bang. The very early universe was determined by time-varying scalar fields, after the inflation phase there should have been an energy transfer from inflaton particles to regular matter, there were various phase transitions,…
Were the first black holes born in the form of baby universes? Astrophysics

Were the first black holes born in the form of baby universes?

Shortly after the Big Bang, the universe was still impenetrable. Its density was so high that a variation of only 50 percent - a coffee bean in a cake batter - would have been enough to produce a black hole immediately. The density was at least variable enough to let grow whole galaxies from the differences later. However, there seem to have been no "coffee beans" at that time - this is revealed today by the rather uniform cosmic background radiation. Nevertheless, so-called promordial black holes could have been formed at that time, just on other ways. They could…
Intergalactic gas filaments crisscross the universe Astrophysics

Intergalactic gas filaments crisscross the universe

They crisscross the cosmos like cobwebs in a room that hasn't seen a vacuum cleaner in a long time: In so-called filaments, unfathomably large, threadlike structures of hot gas that surround and connect galaxies and clusters of galaxies, astrophysicists have long suspected the previously hidden half of matter in our universe. We owe our existence to a tiny error. After the big bang 13.8 billion years ago, the matter of the cosmos spread out in a gigantic gas cloud and was almost evenly distributed in it. Almost, but not quite: in some parts the cloud was somewhat denser than in…
The most distant galaxy in the universe Astrophysics

The most distant galaxy in the universe

How large is the universe? As large as the most distant object we can detect, might be one answer. But this is not quite true: The most distant visible object only marks the boundaries of the observable universe. This could be GN-z11. A team of astronomers used the Keck I telescope to measure the distance to this ancient galaxy. They found that GN-z11 is not only the oldest galaxy, but also the most distant. It is so far away that it actually defines the boundary of the observable universe itself. The team hopes its study can shed light on a…