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Writer Fuel: How Old is the Universe? And How Do We Know?

galaxies / the universe - deposit photos

Scattered across the vacuum of space are stars, galaxies, stellar remnants and other objects that are billions upon billions of years old. The age of the universe is now thought to be about 13.8 billion years — almost unfathomable. But how do we know that? We can determine the age of the universe (to an … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Could We Be Due for a Massive Radiation Storm?

Shimmering blue aurora over marsh - Deposit Photos

A series of sudden and colossal spikes in radiation levels across Earth’s history could have come from a series of unknown, unpredictable and potentially catastrophic cosmic events, a new study has revealed. Named Miyake events after the lead author of the first study to describe them, the spikes occur roughly once every 1,000 years or … Read more

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Writer Fuel: What Are the Oldest and Youngest Stars in the Universe (That We Know)?

nebula stars universe - deposit photos

Among the countless stars glittering in the vastness of space, some are so old they have experienced the dawn of the universe, and others are so young that not even the most powerful telescopes on Earth have been able to observe them. But is it possible to know which star is the youngest and which … Read more

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Writer Fuel: A Piece of the Oldest Complete Star Map Found

star catalog fragment

Scholars may have just discovered a fragment of the world’s oldest complete star map. The map segment, which was found beneath the text on a sheet of medieval parchment, is thought to be a copy of the long-lost star catalog of the second century B.C. Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who made the earliest known attempt to … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Why Does This Near Earth Asteroid Keep Spinning Faster?

asteroid - deposit photos

A potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid is spinning faster and faster every year, and researchers aren’t sure why. The space rock, known as 3200 Phaethon, is around 3.4 miles (5.4 kilometers) wide, and its orbit through the solar system takes it closer to the sun than any other named asteroid, reaching a minimum distance of around … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Black Hole Eats and then Belches Out a Star

Black Hole - Deposit Photos

Astronomers have spotted a black hole mysteriously spewing up chunks of a devoured star several years after consuming it. The event, which scientists have classified as AT2018hyz, began in 2018 when astronomers saw the black hole ensnare a hapless star in its strong gravitational pull before shredding it to pieces. Then, three years later, in … Read more

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Writer Fuel: James Webb Telescope Reveals the “Bones” of a Galaxy

Bones of a Galaxy - NASA James Webb Telescope

A new photo taken by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has revealed the hidden gaseous “bone” structure of a distant galaxy — and it’s absolutely spectacular. The cosmic knot of gas, dust and stars belongs to the spiral galaxy IC 5332, located in the constellation Sculptor more than 29 million light-years from Earth. As … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Byzantine Coin May Show “Forbidden” Supernova Explosion

Byzantine Coin

In A.D. 1054, a nearby star ran out of fuel and blew up in a dazzling supernova explosion. Though located 6,500 light-years away, the blast was clearly visible in the skies over Earth for 23 days and several hundred nights after. The explosion, now known as SN 1054, was so bright that Chinese astronomers dubbed … Read more

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Writer Fuel: What Was the Carrington Event? And What If It Happened Today?

Solar Flare - Deposit Photos

In 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington saw a blast of white light on the surface of the sun. This was the Carrington Event, as scientists now call it, and it is the largest recorded solar storm ever recorded. It was linked with extraordinary auroras — the Northern and Southern Lights — that were visible in … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Turns Out Jupiter Looks Pretty Bland (To the Naked Eye)

Jupiter - NASA Juno Flyby

A new image captured by NASA’s Juno Jupiter explorer reveals features in the turbulent atmosphere of the solar system’s largest planet in the same colors a human observer would see them. Juno(opens in new tab) took the image on July 5, 2022, during its 43rd close flyby of Jupiter(opens in new tab) using its JunoCam instrument. The spacecraft … Read more