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Planetary System. Eclipse of the Sun. The Moon. The Zodiacal Light. Meteoric Shower. From Yaggy’s Geographical Study, 1887. Courtesy the David Rumsey Map Collection

History of science
Naming the Universe

How the quick thinking of internationally minded astronomers avoided stamping the solar system with petty European rivalries

Stephen Case

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field of nearly 10,000 galaxies, taken in 2004. The snapshot includes galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes and colours. The smallest, reddest galaxies may be among the most distant known, existing when the Universe was just 800 million years old. Photo courtesy NASA, ESA, and S Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team

Monsters in the dark

The Universe’s biggest galaxies could hold the key to the birth of the cosmos. Why are these behemoths so hard to find?

Matthew Bothwell

The 29 May 1919 solar eclipse taken by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington (1882-1944), confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The stars near the Sun appear slightly shifted because their light is curved by its gravitational field. Príncipe Island, Gulf of Guinea. Royal Astronomical Society/Science Photo Library

History of science
Curving the Universe

A century ago, a team of scientists chased the arc of starlight across a total eclipse to prove Einstein right on relativity

Matthew Stanley

Europa as photographed by the Galileo spacecraft. Photo courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Our aquatic universe

We know that the Universe is awash with watery moons and planets. How can we pinpoint which of them could support life?

Tim Folger

Illustration by Matt Murphy at Handsome Frank

Universe in a bubble

Maybe we don’t have to speculate about what life is like inside a bubble. It might be the only cosmic reality we know

J Richard Gott

Artwork illustrating the concept of an alternate ‘bubble’ universe in which our universe (left) is not the only one. Some scientists think that bubble universes may pop into existence all the time, and occasionally nudge ours. NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)