Brian Koberlein
Brian Koberlein
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Planets are Finally Being Discovered Orbiting Farther From Their Stars

Planets are Finally Being Discovered Orbiting Farther From Their Stars

Discovering exoplanets is a difficult job. Given the challenges, it’s amazing that we’ve found any at all. But astronomers are clever, so there are currently more than 4,300 confirmed exoplanets. They range from small Mercury-sized worlds to planets larger than Jupiter, but most of them have one thing in common: they orbit close to their home star. This isn’t because most planets orbit close to their stars, but that our observations have a bias toward close-orbiting planets. The most common way to discover exoplanets is known as the This is where a planet passes in front of our view of a...

Jan 19
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New Data Supports the Modified Gravity Explanation for Dark Matter, Much to the Surprise of the Researchers

New Data Supports the Modified Gravity Explanation for Dark Matter, Much to the Surprise of the Researchers

Dark matter is an extremely good theory. It’s supported by a wealth of observational and computational data, which is why it’s part of the standard model of cosmology. But dark matter hasn’t been directly observed, so sometimes even strong supporters of dark matter are motivated to look at the alternatives. The most popular alternative is known as Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MoND), also known as modified gravity. The evidence we have for dark matter assumes that our understanding of gravity is correct. Both Newtonian gravity and general relativity have been strongly confirmed by...

Dec 28
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Next Generation Gravitational Wave Detectors Should be Able to see the Primordial Waves From the Big Bang

Next Generation Gravitational Wave Detectors Should be Able to see the Primordial Waves From the Big Bang

Gravitational-wave astronomy is still in its youth. Because of this, the gravitational waves we can observe come from powerful cataclysmic events. Black holes consuming each other in a violent chirp of spacetime, or neutron stars colliding in a tremendous explosion. Soon we might be able to observe the gravitational waves of supernovae, or supermassive black holes merging billions of light-years away. But underneath the cacophony is a very different gravitational wave. But if we can detect them, they will help us solve one of the deepest cosmological mysteries. They are known as primordial...

Dec 17
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Neutrinos Prove Our Sun Is Undergoing a Second Type of Fusion in Its Core

Neutrinos Prove Our Sun Is Undergoing a Second Type of Fusion in Its Core

Like all stars, our Sun is powered by the fusion of hydrogen into heavier elements. Nuclear fusion is not only what makes stars shine, it is also a primary source of the chemical elements that make the world around us. Much of our understanding of stellar fusion comes from theoretical models of atomic nuclei, but for our closest star, we also have another source: created in the Sun's core.Whenever atomic nuclei undergo fusion, they produce not only high energy gamma rays but also neutrinos. While the gamma rays heat the Sun's interior over thousands of years, neutrinos zip out of the Sun at...

Dec 1
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The Milky Way's Oldest Stars Are Moving in Unexpected Ways

The Milky Way's Oldest Stars Are Moving in Unexpected Ways

Some of the Milky Way's oldest stars aren't where we expect them to be.One of the ways we categorize stars is by their metallicity. That is the fraction of heavier elements a star has compared to hydrogen and helium. It's a useful metric because the metallicity of a star is a good measure of its age. The hydrogen and helium we see in the Universe were created in the early moments of the . That's why they are so plentiful. Heavier elements such as carbon and iron are created through astrophysical processes such as the fusion of elements in stellar cores, or during the collisions of white...

Nov 21
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