Astrophysics & Cosmology

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Symmetry: The Universe's Earliest Moments

How is it possible to look at the earliest moments of the universe? Physicists have their ways—and what they find out will tell us a lot about how the universe works today and how it will unfold in the future.

Home Computers Discover Gamma-ray Pulsars

As volunteers for a project called Einstein@Home, citizen scientists unleashed the unused cycles of their home computers on data from the Large Area Telescope, the SLAC-operated main instrument of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and found four new pulsars.

Mock Data, Real Science

In scientific circles, “mock” is not always a four-letter word. To test that they’re interpreting their massive amounts of data correctly, astrophysicists create even more data: “mock” data. And while that may be counterintuitive at first, it actually makes a surprising amount of sense.

Cosmos Seeded with Heavy Elements During Violent Youth

Traces of iron spread smoothly throughout a massive galaxy cluster tell the 10 billion-year-old story of exploding supernovae and fierce outbursts from supermassive black holes sowing heavy elements throughout the early cosmos.

The Universe Through Fermi's Eyes

On June 11, 2008, what was then the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope rode a Delta II rocket into low-Earth orbit. After two months of tests and checks and calibrations, on August 11, 2008, NASA declared GLAST open for business as astrophysics' premier eye on the gamma-ray sky. Five years, a name change, a near miss with a defunct Soviet spy satellite, and countless surprises later, the spacecraft now known as the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is still going strong, with another five-year mission stretching ahead of it.