Astrophysics

When a star rips apart … Astrophysics

When a star rips apart …

... a muon deep under the ice of Antarctica creates a trace in a gigantic detector. The muon was created because a high-energy neutrino interacted with an atom in the detector. The neutrino began its journey about 700 million years ago, around the time the first animals evolved on Earth. That's the travel time it took for the particle to get from the distant, unnamed galaxy (cataloged as 2MASX J20570298+1412165) in the constellation of The Dolphin to Earth. It occurred as a result of "AT2019dsg." This is what astronomers call an event in which a star was ripped apart…
How heavy is dark matter? Astrophysics

How heavy is dark matter?

Dark matter is a mysterious phenomenon. We do not know what it looks like or what it is made of. But physicists are convinced that it exists, because the effect of its gravitational pull can be observed in many examples in the cosmos. The visible universe - ourselves, the planets and stars - accounts for 25 percent of the total mass in the universe. The remaining 75 percent of its mass consists of dark matter. The fact that it interacts via gravity at least gives researchers a clue as to how heavy its particles might be. It was previously…
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…