The infant universeAn 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. 

Spotlight Live: Falling Into a Black Hole

Black hole
Sep 09, 2013

On September 25, Noon-12:50 PDT, Raphael Bousso, Juan Maldacena, Joseph Polchinski and Leonard Susskind (Stanford University) answer questions about the latest theories about what happens when matter falls into a black hole,.

Spotlight Live: Black Holes & Our Cosmic Evolution

Black hole
Sep 05, 2013

Billions of years ago, a subset of galaxies in the relatively young universe were producing new stars at a rate of 1,000 per year. 

Black Holes Revisited

Black hole
Sep 05, 2013

Andrea Merloni, Priyamvada Natarajan, Tommaso Treu and John Wise discuss the latest findings about black holes, including new questions about how supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies came into existence.

Dark Energy Projects Up and Running

Aug 09, 2013

The race to discover the nature of dark energy has begun. An update to accompany the roundtable discussion, "Mapping the Expansion of the Universe."

Spotlight Live: Dark Energy – On the Brink of Discovery?

Aug 08, 2013

On August 22, three leading members of the new dark energy collaboration answered your questions about the dark energy and the expansion of the universe.

Revealing Dark Energy's Hold on the Universe

Artist's conception of dark energy, gravity
Aug 08, 2013

A new collaboration aims to learn how dark energy is driving the accelerated expansion of the universe.

The Brain or the Universe – Where Does Math Come From?

Aug 07, 2013

What are the origins of math? Is math an inherent part of our reality, or merely something the brain uses to cope with, and explain, our environment? Four scientists discuss (and debate) the merits of both viewpoints.

Spotlight Live: The Brain or the Universe – Where Does Math Come From?

Aug 02, 2013

The Brain or the Universe – Where Does Math Come From? On August 7, 2013, three leading scientists - two neuroscientists and one astrophysicist -– answered your questions about this debate during a live Google Hangout.

A New Baby Picture of the Universe

Cosmic Microwave Background
Jul 31, 2013

On Wednesday July 31, three leading Planck scientists answered your questions about the new measurements of the cosmic microwave background.


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