‘Alien megastructure’ could explain mysterious new Kepler results

Strange signals from a distant star are defying natural explanation. There is a remote chance that they could be from an ‘alien megastructure’

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Gravitational waves discovery gives Nobel prize committee another headache

If confirmed, the detection by physicists of primordial gravitational waves created in the first moments after the big bang, reported on Monday, will go down in the annals of science as a fundamental breakthrough in our understanding of how the universe began.

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What does the discovery of gravitational waves say about inflation and the big bang?

Gravitational waves are ripples that carry energy across the universe. They were predicted to exist by Albert Einstein in 1916 as a consequence of his General Theory of Relativity. Although there is strong circumstantial evidence for their existence, gravitational waves have not been directly detected before. This is because they are minuscule – a million times smaller than an atom. They are like tiny waves on a lake – from far away, the lake's surface looks glassy smooth; only up very close can the details of the surface be seen.

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Have U.S. scientists found the Big Bang's biggest secret and the final key to relativity?

There is intense speculation among cosmologists that a US team is on the verge of confirming they have detected "primordial gravitational waves" – an echo of the big bang in which the universe came into existence 14bn years ago.

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Echoes of the big bang? South pole telescope detects 'primordial gravitational waves'

There is intense speculation among cosmologists that a US team is on the verge of confirming they have detected "primordial gravitational waves" – an echo of the big bang in which the universe came into existence 14bn years ago.

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Stargazers should bundle up for best look at Geminid meteor shower

NASA says the Geminids will be the most intense meteor shower of the year – and almost everyone can see it

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If it survives close encounter with the sun, Comet ISON will light up morning skies until mid-December

If it survives a potentially disastrous encounter with the sun this week, Comet ISON will put on an impressive early morning display in the run up to Christmas. But anyone hoping for a Bethlehem-style celestial sign on the big day will be disappointed. The comet will probably be too faint to see with a naked eye by then.

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Keep calm and wait for the 1-ton satellite to crash to Earth

The European GOCE satellite is falling uncontrollably to Earth but no one need worry too much

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Scientists debate new equation for estimating alien life across the universe

How many other inhabited planets are there? It's a question that fascinates scientists and lay people alike. A new equation may help weigh up the possibility

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Watch: Milky Way's supermassive black hole is killing a ginormous gas cloud

Supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy has a gas cloud in its gravitational clutches – but the gas cloud isn't giving up without a fight

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Sabre rocket engine could open up access to space as never before

A £60m pledge from the UK government puts Reaction Engines' Sabre rocket on course to change space exploration forever

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NASA Cassini probe to photograph Earth from 898 million miles away

Nasa's Cassini spacecraft will take an image of Earth from 1.44bn kilometres away. From there, our planet will look like the expected images of alien earths around other stars

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NASA data reveal high risk of harmful radiation exposure on any manned Mars missions

New Nasa data shows radiation doses would be so high on a manned Mars mission that we must now debate the ethics of deep space exploration – or wait decades to develop safer technology

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NASA's Kepler telescope is in trouble, but it doesn't end the search for another Earth

Even if Nasa's Kepler space telescope is coming to the end of its mission, the search for other Earths will continue

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Planck spacecraft's map of 'almost perfect' universe could point to new physics

Today is a great day. The European Space Agency has released the most precise map so far of the oldest light in the universe. The best news is that is reveals an 'almost perfect universe'. By that they mean it almost conforms to expectations – but not quite.

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