universe stories

 
The universe is a big place. Strictly speaking, it's the biggest place there is. And since so many bits of it are so far away from us, it's hard to get a sense of the overall structure. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been working hard to detect and measure everything out there it possibly can, and the latest release is a breathtaking 3D map.
 
Eventually, the universe is going to die. It's not going to be soon, but it's going to happen, and when it does, our top priority should definitely be to have a computer that can survive it. Theoretical physicists have speculated that we can do this with something called a time crystal, and they may have just figured out how to actually make one.
 
This is a picture of a small patch of sky, taken by the European Southern Observatory's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA). With the exception of a few stars, every single pixel of light in this image represents an entire galaxy, and you're looking at more than 200,000 of them.
 
It's not easy to figure out how far away other galaxies are. Astronomers have to be exceptionally clever to calculate distances to objects that are billions and billions of light years away, and they might now have a brand new measuring tool that involves supermassive black holes and radiating gas clouds. Sexy.

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