Explaining Black Holes in Five Ways

Research astronomer Varoujan Gorjian (whose team at NASA is called Structure of the Universe Group) explains Black Holes to five different individuals whose understanding exists at five different levels: a five-year old, a teenager, a grad student studying astronomy, and an expert. In the fascinating video for WIRED, super-personable Gorjian begins by explaining how gravity works and ends up discussing low-luminosity active galactic nuclei. While …

Communicating From the Far Side of the Moon

The far side of the moon (often mistakenly referred to as the “dark side” of the moon) never faces Earth due to the sphere’s elliptical orbit and synchronous rotation. For the first time, information—including a photograph—has been transmitted from the hemisphere by way of China’s National Space Administration’s Yutu-2 rover. While this might not seem like that big of a deal, it marks significant achievements and technological …

Comet, Meteor or Alien Spacecraft

Since its first sighting in 2017, “Oumuamua” has puzzled scientists and researchers. Its strange propulsion-like movement and determined trajectory call into question whether the long, flat object is merely a comet or a meteorite—despite that being the more mundane, and maybe likely, conclusion. The way the object sped up as it passed the sun has researchers most puzzled. “Lightsails,” the solar-powered starships that Breakthrough Starshot plans …