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Bizarre Bursts in Space

Astronomers don't know what they are, or where they come from, but big blasts from space have opened up a new field of research.

Abiogenesis: The Origin of Lie

To get life from mindless molecules, fib a little. Ignore chance. Make it sound easy. Turn out the lights. Tell a story. Imagine.

Solar System Theories Challenged

"Everything we know about the formation of solar systems might be wrong," say two astronomers who discovered something "very bizarre."

SETI Communication Only Outward So Far

While we wait for responses, all we hear are echoes of our own intelligent signals into space.

Origin of Life Theories Lost in Space

Scenarios for life's origin contradict one another and compete for implausibility.

Cosmic Theater

Cosmologists act less like scientists and more like actors, the more that anomalies threaten their paradigm.

Astronomers Missed Half the Visible Universe

Dark matter is still a mystery, but meanwhile, half of the real stars in the universe have been hiding in plain sight.

Impacts: Creators or Destroyers?

Some astronomers invest a lot of creative power in bangs, crashes and explosions.

Mystery Moon (and Meteorites, and Stars)

One would think astronomers would not be stumped in 2013 by common objects like the moon, meteors and stars. But they are. It's driving them mad.

Earth Still Privileged Planet

Astronomers have found over a thousand extrasolar planets now. How does our solar system compare? Thanks to the Kepler spacecraft, we now have a catalog of 1,235 alien planet candidates after just four months of operation. Of the 408 that have been found in multiple-planet systems, 170 of these containing two to six planets have been pictured in a “Kepler Orrery” posted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The press release says, “most of those look very different than our solar system”.

Ups & Downs of SETI

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence arouses excitement in some, boredom in others.  The SETI Institute has taken lumps recently; due to a $5 million shortfall in funding, they had to mothball a search using the Allen Telescope Array.  But PhysOrg announced that an unspecified group of astronomers will be using the Green Bank Radio Telescope […]

Science Out of Touch

When science became a profession instead of an avocation, there were some unintended consequences.  Scientists began to lose touch with the public.  When a scientist goes to work doing science for a living, he or she sometimes takes public support for granted, thinking the work is justified for its own sake.  Recent articles, however, warn […]

Imagining Worlds: Is It Science?

An entry on Space.com is almost pure speculation with no observation.  Does it belong on a science news site?     Reporter Clara Moskowitz gave Viorel Badescu [Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania] free rein to imagine life on free-floating planets (FFPs) – bodies wandering free in space after being abandoned, like wayward children, from their […]

Young Galaxy Cluster Already Mature

“Isn’t that special.”  The remark, in common parlance, is a generic way of avoiding a judgment call.  When astronomers were confronted with the sight of a galaxy too mature for its age, Space.com reported the response: “And that makes it special, researchers said.”     The headline was, “Surprise!  Ancient Galaxy Cluster Still Looks Young.”  […]

Busted!  Planet-Making Theories Don’t Fit Extrasolar Planets

Famed planet-hunter Geoff Marcy is giving theorists headaches.  The leading theories of planet formation won’t stand up to observations of hundreds of planets we know.  In National Geographic News reporter Richard Lovett lamented, “The more new planets we find, the less we seem to know about how planetary systems are born, according to a leading […]
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