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Dark Energy and Dark Matter
Dark Matter
Expansion of the Universe
Fermi Paradox
Intergalactic Medium
Theories of the Universe

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  1. Particle Physics
  2. Quantum Mechanics
  3. Relativity
  1. Universe - Pictures (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy - Levay)
      Provides spectacular pictures of the universe.

  1. Earth from Far, Far Away and Very, Very Close (Florida State University - Davidson)
      "View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons."

  1. A New Tour of the Universe (ABC News)
      Shows an organization of pictures to reveal a broader context for some famous areas. 01-10

  2. Fabric of the Cosmos (PBS)
      "Acclaimed physicist Brian Greene reveals a mind-boggling reality beneath the surface of our everyday world." 12-11

  3. Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D (
      "What happens when you point the Hubble Space Telescope to a seemingly blank patch of sky? A view that takes you to the edge of the universe!" 12-13

  1. -04-28-09 Astronomers Find Most Distant Object (CBS News)
      "Astronomers have spotted a burst of energy from a dying star, setting a record for the oldest and most distant object seen by Earth yet." 04-09

  1. -01 Scientists "See" the Instant After Time Began (Huffington Post)
      " 'If verified, the discovery 'gives us a window on the universe at the very beginning,' when it was far less than one-trillionth of a second old, said theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, who was not involved in the work."

      " 'It's just amazing,' he said. 'You can see back to the beginning of time.' " 03-14

  2. -11-11-15 Exploring the End of the Universe (CNN News)
      "As we thank Einstein for giving us a revolution in science, it might seem ironic that one of his mistakes could have an impact on that grandest question of all -- the ultimate fate of the universe itself." The author explains that the matter in the universe we can see makes up about 4.6% of all the universe. The rest is made up of dark energy and dark matter. Understanding dark matter is the key to predicting the ultimate fate of the universe. 11-15

  3. -24-16 Deepest View Yet of the Universe (New Scientist)
      " 'For the first time, we are properly connecting the visible and ultraviolet light view of the distant universe from Hubble and far-infrared/millimetre views of the universe from ALMA,' says Jim Dunlop at Edinburgh University, who describes it as a 'breakthrough result'."

      " 'Through this, we discovered a population of galaxies that is not clearly evident in any other deep surveys of the sky,' says Chris Carilli at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in New Mexico.' " 09-16

  4. -ALMA Radio Telescope to Peer Deepest into Space (CBS News)
      "Right now the antennas are spread out on the plateau over a distance of a mile. But they're moveable, and eventually, they could spread out over 10 miles. That will mimic a single telescope dish 10 miles wide."

      "Then, ALMA will be able to see far off objects with greater detail than ever before." 08-14

  5. -Explosion from Near the Beginning of the Cosmos? (
      "A group of researchers claim they've found the most distant explosion ever detected, a pulse of high energy radiation sent by a disintegrating star near the very edge of the observable universe."

      "The stellar blast was first spotted by a NASA satellite in April 2009, but researchers announced Wednesday that they have since gathered data placing it more than 13 billion light years away — meaning that the event took place when the universe was still in its infancy."

      "Not only are gamma ray bursts more powerful than supernovae, they're faster too — typically lasting only a few seconds or minutes."

      "Charles Meegan, a NASA researcher in gamma ray astronomy, said that a typical burst 'puts out in a few seconds the same energy expended by the sun in its whole 10 billion year life span.' "

      Editor's Note: Wow. 05-11

  6. -Light Captured from the First Stars in the Universe (MSNBC News)
      "Astronomers have spotted light from the very first stars in the universe, which are almost as old as time itself." 11-12

  7. -Scaffolding of the Universe Uncovered (Christian Science Monitor)
      "Scientists have long thought that threads of dark matter provide the underlying architecture upon which galaxies in the universe are distributed. A new study now verifies that theory."

      "Three-dimensional astronomical maps developed since the late 1980s show that the vast majority of the universe's galaxies are distributed as threads and sheets that span the universe, with galaxy clusters as well as superclusters of thousands of galaxies appearing where threads and sheets intersect. These structures were thought to have formed on a framework of dark matter, the unseen form of matter that scientists believe binds galaxies together."

      "The results announced Thursday mark 'the first time we have observationally verified this very important theoretical prediction' of a dark-matter backbone, says Jörg Dietrich, an astronomer at the University of Munich Observatory in Germany who led the team." 06-12

  8. -The Universe Is Dying...Slowly (CBS News)
      "The most comprehensive assessment of the energy output in the nearby universe reveals that today's produced energy is only about half of what it was 2 billion years ago. A team of international scientists used several of the world's most powerful telescopes to study the energy of the universe and concluded that the universe is slowly dying." 08-15

  9. Age of the Universe (
      "The age of the universe, according to the Big Bang theory, is the time elapsed between the Big Bang and the present day. The current scientific consensus holds this to be about 13.7 billion years." 01-07

  10. Astronomers See "Near the Beginning of Time" (
      "The photo reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away, stretching back almost to the time when the first stars began to shine. (The BBC has a more technical take, but basically: light from galaxies that far away takes billions of years to reach us, so when we see them we’re really looking back in time.) 'The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen,' Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement from NASA. 'XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before.' "

      "The XDF is an update to an image compiled by Hubble in 2003 and 2004 called the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field.” That picture collected enough light to reveal thousands of distant galaxies. At the time, it was the deepest view of the universe. The XDF goes even farther, capturing objects some 13.2 billion light-years away — meaning 13.2 billion years into the past. The universe itself is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old, meaning that the farthest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the big bang — a blink of an eye in cosmological terms." 09-12

  11. Astronomical Distances (
      "The parsec (symbol pc) is a unit of length used in astronomy. It stands for 'parallax of one arc second'."

      "One parsec is defined to be the distance from the Earth to a star that has a parallax of 1 arcsecond. It is, therefore, approximately:...3.261630751 light years."

      "One kiloparsec, abbreviated 'kpc', is one thousand parsecs, or 3,262 light years. Kiloparsecs are typically used to measure distances between parts of a galaxy."

      "One megaparsec, abbreviated 'Mpc', is one million parsecs, or 3,261,564 light years. Megaparsecs are typically used to measure distances between neighboring galaxies and galaxy clusters."

      "One gigaparsec, abbreviation 'Gpc', is one billion parsecs — one of the largest distance measures used. One gigaparsec equals 3.261564 billion light years, or roughly ¼ the distance to the horizon of the observable universe (dictated by the cosmic background radiation). Gigaparsecs are typically used to measure distances to supergalactic structures, such as clusters of quasars or the Great Wall." 01-07

  12. Big Bang (
      "In astrophysics, the term Big Bang is used both in a narrow sense to refer to the interval of time roughly 13.7 billion years ago when the photons observed in the microwave cosmic background radiation acquired their black-body form, and in a more general sense to refer to a hypothesized point in time when the observed expansion of the universe (Hubble's law) began." 10-04

  13. Bizarre Sun Discovered (
      "The cosmos never stop serving up surprises. The latest is a red giant star with a chewy chocolate center—well, sort of."

      "The nutty thing Levesque and three colleagues discovered looks like an ordinary red giant star, similar in appearance to Betelgeuse, which marks one of Orion’s shoulders. But nestled deep inside, like the yolk of an egg or the chocolate center of a hard-candy Tootsie Pop, is a neutron star—the super-dense remnant left behind when a star explodes. It is, she says, 'unlike any star that we’ve ever seen.' "06-14

  14. Dictionary or Glossary of Astronomy Terms (
      Provides short definitions of dozens of astronomy terms. 11-00.

  15. Evolution of the Universe (NASA)
      "The myriad galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field represented the first big step for Hubble astronomers to understand galaxy evolution. But studying galaxy evolution in the Hubble Deep Field is like trying to understand the population of a country by sampling a small village. Astronomers don't know if the galaxies in that village are representative of the universe's galactic population. The GOODS survey, on the other hand, is akin to sampling the population of a large city to make inferences about galaxies in the cosmos." 6-03

  16. Extragalactic Background Light (
      "The diffuse extragalactic background light (EBL) is all the accumulated radiation in the Universe due to star formation processes, plus a contribution from active galactic nuclei (AGNs). This radiation covers the wavelength range between ~ 0.1-1000 microns (these are the ultraviolet, optical, and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum). The EBL is part of the diffuse extragalactic background radiation (DEBRA), which by definition covers the overall electromagnetic spectrum. After the cosmic microwave background, the EBL produces the second-most energetic diffuse background, thus being essential for understanding the full energy balance of the universe." 10-12

  17. General Relativity (
      "General relativity (GR) or General relativity theory (GRT) is the theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915." 10-04

  18. Groups and Clusters of Galaxies (
      "Galaxy groups and clusters are super-structures in the spread of galaxies of the cosmos. Matter throughout the visible Universe has, over the course of the Universe's history, aggregated into a range of large-scale structures under the influence of gravity. Groups and clusters may contain from ten to thousands of galaxies. The clusters themselves are involved in larger groups called superclusters." 10-04

  19. Handedness Is Found in Interstellar Space Molecules (
      "Life tends to be left-handed. Certain molecules have mirror-image versions of themselves that act differently, just as a left hand can’t fit in a right glove. This chemical property, known as chirality, is found within all organic life, and sticking with one handedness is thought to offer an evolutionary advantage. But its origins remain a mystery."

      "Now a team led by Brett McGuire of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Virginia and Brandon Carroll at the California Institute of Technology have detected the first chiral molecule in interstellar space. They spotted propylene oxide within an enormous star-forming cloud of gas and dust only 390 light-years away." 05-16

  20. Hubble Shows that the Universe's Expansion Is Speeding Up (
      "The expansion of the Universe is speeding up – proving once again that Einstein's theory of relativity is correct - according to astronomers who studied hundreds of thousands of galaxies." 04-10

  21. Hubble's Deepest Look into Space (
      "NASA calls it the most colorful image ever captured by the Hubble Space Telescope--and the most comprehensive. It has to be one of the most spectacular." 06-14

  22. Infinity (
      "Infinity is a theoretical value that is larger than any other value. To count to infinity is to count forever, without end." 10-04

  23. Inflation Theory (NASA)
      "The Inflation Theory proposes a period of extremely rapid (exponential) expansion of the universe during its first few moments. It was developed around 1980 to explain several puzzles with the standard Big Bang theory, in which the universe expands relatively gradually throughout its history." 04-10

  24. Issues - The Universes (PBS - Hawking)
      Provides theoretical papers related to the nature of the universes. Includes Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Steady-State, Big Bang, and other theories.

  25. Life May Go On Indefinitely (Scientific American - Graham)
      "Even if the universe does turn out to be dominated by a cosmological constant, Freese and Kinney are reluctant to give up hope. One day, they speculate, we might figure out how to synthesize a new universe in a laboratory, set off a Big Bang, and move into it, abandoning our present universe as a lost cause." 1-03

  26. Light - Speed of Light May Be Changing (New Scientist)
      Provides a summary of research that shows that the speed of light, one of the most important constants in physics and astronomy, may be changing. 8-01

  27. Light Year (
      "A light year, abbreviated ly, is the distance light travels in one year...." "The light year is often used to measure distances to stars: A light year is not a unit of time. In astronomy, the preferred unit of measurement for such distances is the parsec which is defined as the distance at which an object will generate one arcsecond of parallax when the observing object moved one astronomical unit. This is equal to approximately 3.26 light years. The parsec is preferred because it can be more easily derived from observations without including conversion terms, whose value is imprecisely known." Visitors sometimes spell as light-year. 10-04

  28. Most Distant (Known) Galaxy (MSNBC News)
      "Astronomers have confirmed that an incredibly faint galaxy in the constellation Fornax is the most distant known object in the universe, shining more than 13 billion light-years away and reflecting an era when stars were just beginning to emerge from a cosmic fog." 10-10

  29. Oldest Galaxy Ever Found (
      "The newly discovered star cluster — a hundred times smaller than our own Milky Way — was formed just 480 million years after the 13.7 billion year-old universe itself was born, making it easily the oldest galaxy ever found." 01-11

  30. Planetarium - Hayden (American Museum of Natural History)
      Describes the most technologically advanced planetarium in the world. The Hayden Planetarium provides a state of the art exhibit of the Big Bang, as well as the most advanced star projector that allows visitors to fly through the galaxy to the edge of the universe. 3-00

  31. Size of Black Holes (
      Show comparative sizes of black holes. 10-16

  32. Size of Objects in the Universe (
      Show comparative sizes of suns, planets, and other objects. 10-16

  33. Special Relativity (
      "The Special relativity (SR) or Special theory of relativity is the physical theory published in 1905 by Albert Einstein. It replaced Newtonian notions of space and time, and incorporated electromagnetism as represented by Maxwell's equations. The theory is called "special" because it is a "special" case of Einstein's principle of relativity where the effects of gravity can be ignored." 10-04

  34. Structure of the Cosmos (
      "A galaxy is a large cluster of stars held together by gravity." Includes Galaxy clouds, Galaxy clusters, Galaxy filaments, Galaxy subclusters, and Galaxy superclusters. 10-04

  35. Structure of the Universe (
      Provides a description and picture of the universe. Also shows distances between objects in the universe. 11-00.

  36. Ten Strange Things About the Universe (
      "While groundbreaking ideas such as quantum theory, relativity and even the Earth going around the Sun might be commonly accepted now, science still continues to show that the universe contains things you might find it difficult to believe, and even more difficult to get your head around." 05-16

  37. The Big Bang and Expansion of the Universe (
      Covers the two topics. 04-10

  38. The Mystery of the Intergalactic Radio Bursts (
      "Using the giant Parkes radio telescope in Australia, astronomers have recorded four more of these mysterious bursts, and when the scientists extrapolated across the entire sky, they concluded that perhaps 10,000 of these blasts are popping off every day, all over the heavens. 'It’s still a mystery what they are,' says lead author Dan Thornton, of the University of Manchester, in the U.K. 'But at least it’s not a mystery that they exist.' In fact, Thornton and his co-authors claim that the observations reveal what he calls a 'new cosmological population' of energy blasts, whose true nature is unknown." 07-13

  39. The Universe Is Expanding Beyond Understanding (New York Times)
      "When Albert Einstein was starting out on his cosmological quest 100 years ago, the universe was apparently a pretty simple and static place. Common wisdom had it that all creation consisted of an island of stars and nebulae known as the Milky Way surrounded by infinite darkness." 06-07

  40. The Universe Really a Simulation? (
      "Are we, and the universe we inhabit, a simulation? SpaceX and Tesla Motors supremo Elon Musk thinks so, telling us that there is a billions to one chance that we actually exist physically: it is much more likely that we are data swirling around in someone’s immense supercomputer. What led him to this strange conclusion?" 05-16

  41. The Very First Stars (
      "Astronomers have a pretty good idea how the universe took shape following the Big Bang — with one glaring exception. About 400,000 years after the great detonation itself, as the super-heated particles it created cooled and formed into atoms, the entire universe went black. A few hundred million years later, the darkness began to lift as the first stars congealed from clouds of cosmic gas. 'The universe,' says Voker Bromm, of the University of Texas at Austin, 'underwent a crucial transition from a very simple state into a state of ever more complex structure.' "

      "Scientists used high-energy radiation from blazars to measure the light from the first stars." 10-12

  42. Understanding the Universe (
      "It turns out that Brian Greene isn't all that different from you or me. Sure, he's a top-flight theoretical physicist on the faculty of the ultra-prestigious Columbia University. And yes, he specializes in string theory, which uses such advanced and difficult math that even many physicists can't follow it. In one crucial way, however, Greene really is like the rest of us."

      "In a nation in which so many people deny evolution and think vaccines cause rather than prevent disease, Greene's got a big job ahead of him. But if he keeps churning out compelling video like The Fabric of the Cosmos, he might actually get people to understand at least a little bit of modern physics — and a bigger bit of the world it makes possible." 12-11

  43. Universe (
      "The terms known universe, observable universe, or visible universe are often used to describe the part of the Universe that we can see or otherwise observe. Those who believe it is impossible to observe the whole continuum may use our universe, referring only to that knowable by human beings in particular." 10-04

  44. Universe (
      "In materialist philosophical terms, the universe is the summation of all matter that exists and the space in which all events occur which has an equivalent idea amongst some theoretical scientists known as the total universe. In cosmological terms, the universe is thought to be a finite or infinite space-time continuum in which all matter and energy exist." 04-06

  45. Universe Was Hit By Another Universe (New Scientist)
      Provides a summary of a theory that the Big Bang started when our universe was hit by another universe. 8-01

  46. X-Ray Technology to Improve View of Universe (BBC News)
      "The researchers have successfully tested a small prototype which if scaled up could be a million times more powerful than today's observatories."

      "Professor Cash said a fully scaled-up version of the design could resolve a region the size of a dinner plate on the surface of the Sun." 8-04


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