An all-sky picture of the infant universe revealing 13.77 billion-year-old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. (Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team)
Astrophysics is a branch of astronomy that explores the physical properties of the cosmos and its composition. Astrophysicists study a broad range of topics, from the tiniest particles of matter and the forces that join them together to the grandest of celestial structures. In essence, astrophysics extends the workings of physics and chemistry that we experience directly here on Earth into the vastness of space. It is both an observational and theoretical science. To probe the universe's past, present and future, astrophysicists have built some of the most complex and precise machines in the world, including terrestrial and space-based telescopes tuned to various wavelengths. The continued seeking of new discoveries is constantly pushing the limits of telescope and model-building technology.
Armed with new knowledge about how microbes persist even in the Earth’s harshest environments, astrobiologists are planning the next missions to search for life in our solar system. Their bets are on microbes.
During a recent Google Hangout, three astrophysicists discussed what we can learn about the planets in other solar systems, and answer viewers' questions about how close we are to discovering other Earths. Read a modified transcript of their discussion.
Three recently funded dark matter experiments have a good shot at glimpsing these long-sought particles. Three scientists on these projects debate the state of the hunt for dark matter, discuss the status of their experiments, and answer your questions.
Three new dark matter experiments are moving ahead with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. National Science Foundation — will one of them finally capture a glimpse of the universe's most elusive material?
At a United Nations event organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Kavli IPMU Director Hitoshi Murayama presented the following prepared remarks.
The winners of the 2014 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics – Alan Guth, Andrei Linde and Alexei Starobinsky – discuss their development of the theory of inflation and reflect on how it has changed our view of the universe.