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 …

Stephen Hawking’s Last Book Offers Brief Answers to Big Questions

In his collection of final thoughts, published 16 October, physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking addresses nothing less than the future of humanity. The book, called Brief Answers to the Big Questions, emphasizes the importance of regulating artificial intelligence, implementing clean nuclear fusion power and preparing for asteroid collision. He also predicted that gene editing tools will create an advanced race of superhumans—and so much more. In many …

Assembling an Image of the Shadow of a Black Hole

In a mind-boggling excerpt from Seth Fletcher’s book Einstein’s Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable (published by Ecco), the author probes the meticulous process behind the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). In fact, a series of collaborative data sets collected in 2017 by eight telescopes around the planet, the EHT aims to create an image of the shadow of a …