An amateur astronomer discovers an interstellar comet on its way to our Sun.
Scientists say it might even rain on the exoplanet, dubbed K2-18b.
- Two new studies, from independent teams of researchers, say that it's extremely likely that the exoplanet's atmosphere contains water vapor.
- Scientists are able to make these kinds of determinations by pointing telescopes at distant stars and measuring subtle changes in light as exoplanets pass in front of the star.
- Scientists will likely get a better look at K2-18b when NASA launches the powerful James Webb Space Telescope in 2021.
Existential dread, meet astronomical wonder.
- The universe is huge, and we're not. This fact has given rise to countless existential crises.
- You don't have to be left in dread after looking at the night sky, however.
- Astronomer Michelle Thaller has an excellent meditation on why the vastness of space can be revitalizing.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
We still don't have proof of intelligent life beyond that on Earth.
- One of the biggest questions is whether we are alone in the universe — could there be other intelligent life, besides us, out there? Currently, we don't have any evidence aliens exist.
- There may have been a chance for a civilization to start billions of years before life began on Earth — one that is far more advanced, technologically speaking, than us. However, they're not making it very obvious. We have no proof of this.
- If such an advanced civilization exists, though, it probably relies on solar energy to fuels its everyday activities.