Gamma Ray Bursts Hold Clues to Chemical Composition of the Early Universe


Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) have been routinely observed by orbiting observatories, such as NASA’s Fermi and Swift spacecraft, and astronomers are planning on using them as cosmic flashbulbs to probe the details of the early Universe. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature today.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Infant Galaxy Showcases Star Systems in the Early Universe


A rare cosmic zoom lens, which uses the gravity of a large mass to magnify light from distant objects, has allowed a team of US and European astronomers to spot a galaxy so remote that its light was emitted 490 million years after the Big Bang, which is 3.6% of the Universe’s current age.

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The Bolshoi Simulation: Boxing the Universe


The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe. Larger simulations, including the BigBolshoi and Multidark, run at a volume 64 times bigger than Bolshoi and have just been publicly made available to astronomers and astrophysicists. The Bolshoi simulation used data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe that measured tiny spatial variations in the cosmic microwave background radiation, giving a glimpse of the distribution of matter and energy at an earlier epoch of the visible universe.

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Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey Measures the Universe’s Expansion and Dark Energy


One of nature’s biggest mysteries, dark energy, is being explored thanks to a deceptively simple tool that David Schlegel came up with. 2,200 aluminum plates, about the size of a manhole cover, each one drilled with a specific pattern of holes that match the arrangement of galaxies in a particular section of the sky, are used for an hour each at the prime focus of the 2.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. When the telescope points to the right spot, the light from each galaxy streams through its corresponding hole. This light is then broken up and used to measure how fast each galaxy is being carried away.

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The Puzzle of an Eternally-Existing, Self-Reproducing, and Inflationary Universe


There are quite a few challenges for cosmologists trying to discover evidence of what it was like early in the life of our universe, but while the inflationary universe scenario was an almost universally accepted model, there are still problems, especially for observational astrophysicists who don’t see any evidence of a flat universe, as inflation would predict.

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Our Universe Collided with Another Billions of Years Ago, Stephen Hawking States

Universe Collide

While it’s a well-known fact that there’s an upcoming Andromeda-Milky Way collision in 3 to 5 billion years, Stephen Hawking has stated that we should look to a collision between universes in the distant past of our own universe for explanations of why physical constants seem so fine-tuned to the values required for life to exist.

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Stargate Coasters: Commiserate Stargate Universe’s Demise With a Cup of Joe

Poor, Stargate. Stargate Universe had to be canceled just when it was getting good. The worst part is that you’re left with all these open-ended questions, which will probably never get answered. If you are a Stargate fan and are in utter despair, don’t worry, because these coasters will make you feel better!

stargate coaster sg-1 drink

Read more @ Technabob

Kevin Kelly on Heat Death

Kevin Kelly is back with regular posts over at The Technium. His latest examines heat death, which is what happens when the universe reaches its final thermodynamic state, with maximum entropy, ie no free thermodynamic energy to sustain motion or life.

Large Scale Fractal Universe

Is the universe fractal, even on large scales? That’s the question that some Russian and Italian scientists have put forth recently. They think it is. Other scientists aren’t so sure. (via kottke)

E8 Could Be The Shape Of Our Universe

Surfer dude says that E8 could be the shape of our universe.