They say variety is the spice of life, and now new discoveries from Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that a certain elemental 'variety'--sulfur--is indeed a 'spice' that can perhaps point to signs of life.

These findings from the researchers' lab simulations reveal that sulfur can significantly impact observations of far-flung planets beyond the solar system; the results have implications for the use of sulfur as a sign for extraterrestrial life, as well as affect how researchers should interpret data about planetary atmospheres.

The ice giant Uranus' unusual attributes have long puzzled scientists. All of the planets in our Solar System revolve around the Sun in the same direction and in the same plane, which astronomers believe is a vestige of how our Solar System formed from a spinning disc of gas and dust. Most of the planets in our Solar System also rotate in the same direction, with their poles orientated perpendicular to the plane the planets revolve in. However, uniquely among all the planets, Uranus' is tilted over about 98 degrees.

Astronomers have found the best evidence for the perpetrator of a cosmic homicide: a black hole of an elusive class known as "intermediate-mass," which betrayed its existence by tearing apart a wayward star that passed too close.

Weighing in at about 50,000 times the mass of our Sun, the black hole is smaller than the supermassive black holes (at millions or billions of solar masses) that lie at the cores of large galaxies, but larger than stellar-mass black holes formed by the collapse of a massive star.

New data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have provided the strongest evidence yet for mid-sized black holes in the Universe. Hubble confirms that this "intermediate-mass" black hole dwells inside a dense star cluster.

In Jessica Barnes' palm is an ancient, coin-sized mosaic of glass, minerals and rocks as thick as a strand of wool fiber. It is a slice of Martian meteorite, known as Northwest Africa 7034 or Black Beauty, that was formed when a huge impact cemented together various pieces of Martian crust.

Nearly a millennium and a half ago, red light streaked the night sky over Japan. Witnesses compared it to the tail of a pheasant -- it appeared as a fan of beautiful red feathers stretched across the sky. Since the event, scientists have studied the witness accounts written in the year 620 A.D. and speculated about what the cosmic phenomenon could have actually been. Now, researchers from The Graduate University for Advanced Studies may have found the answer.

They published their results on March 31, 2020 in the Sokendai Review of Culture and Social Studies.

Astronomers obtained the first resolved image of disturbed gaseous clouds in a galaxy 11 billion light-years away by using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The team found that the disruption is caused by young powerful jets ejected from a supermassive black hole residing at the center of the host galaxy. This result will cast light on the mystery of the evolutionary process of galaxies in the early Universe.

ANN ARBOR--Eighty-five percent of the universe is composed of dark matter, but we don't know what, exactly, it is.

A new study from the University of Michigan, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and University of California, Berkeley has ruled out dark matter being responsible for mysterious electromagnetic signals previously observed from nearby galaxies. Prior to this work there were high hopes that these signals would give physicists hard evidence to help identify dark matter.

An unidentified X-ray signature recently observed in nearby galaxies and galaxy clusters is not due to decay of dark matter, researchers report. The findings rule out previously proposed interpretations of dark matter particle physics. Dark matter (DM) constitutes more than 80% of the matter in the Universe and its gravitational pull is responsible for binding galaxies and galaxy clusters together.

ITHACA, N.Y. - Cornell University astronomers have created five models representing key points from our planet's evolution, like chemical snapshots through Earth's own geologic epochs.

The models will be spectral templates for astronomers to use in the approaching new era of powerful telescopes, and in the hunt for Earth-like planets in distant solar systems.

Kanazawa, Japan - The expansion of the Universe has occupied the minds of astronomers and astrophysicists for decades. Among the cosmological models that have been suggested over the years, Lambda cold dark matter (LCDM) models are the simplest models that can provide elegant explanations of the properties of the Universe, e.g., the accelerated expansion of the late Universe and structural formations. However, the LCDM model suffers from several theoretical difficulties, such as the cosmological constant problem.

The single-cell organism known as slime mould (Physarum polycephalum) builds complex web-like filamentary networks in search of food, always finding near-optimal pathways to connect different locations.

In shaping the Universe, gravity builds a vast cobweb-like structure of filaments tying galaxies and clusters of galaxies together along invisible bridges of gas and dark matter hundreds of millions of light-years long. There is an uncanny resemblance between the two networks, one crafted by biological evolution, the other by the primordial force of gravity.

Almost 35 years ago, scientists made the then-radical proposal that colossal hydrogen bombs called novae go through a very long-term life cycle after erupting, fading to obscurity for hundreds of thousands of years and then building back up to become full-fledged novae once more. A new study is the first to fully model the work and incorporate all of the feedback factors now known to control these systems, backing up the original prediction while bringing new details to light.

The hypothesis that the Solar System was born from a gigantic cloud of gas and dust was first floated in the second half of the eighteenth century. It was proposed by German philosopher Immanuel Kant and developed by French mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace. It is now a consensus among astronomers. Thanks to the enormous amount of observational data, theoretical input and computational resources now available, it has been continually refined, but this is not a linear process.

Astronomers have captured new, detailed maps of three nearby interstellar gas clouds containing regions of ongoing high-mass star formation. The results of this survey, called the Star Formation Project, will help improve our understanding of the star formation process.