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Basic Space

Basic Space

Space and astrophysics research made simple

The Closest You'll Ever Get to Being in Space

Being a student of Imperial College has a few perks. Our campus is on the same road as three of the biggest museums in London: the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert, and the Science Museum...

October 30, 2011 — Kelly Oakes

Blue stragglers formed by engulfing red giants

Unusual stars known as blue stragglers have been causing trouble for astronomers since they were first seen in 1953: they are hotter and brighter than they should be, and much younger too...

October 28, 2011 — Kelly Oakes

In praise of the Tevatron

Tomorrow, the Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermilab will shut down. The end will be no song and dance: the accelerator operators will simply stop putting new protons and antiprotons into the machine...

September 29, 2011 — Kelly Oakes

Faster-than-light neutrinos show science in action

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past 24 hours, you've probably heard about the neutrinos that turned up at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy a few nanoseconds earlier than they were supposed to, in a feat that would have required them to travel faster than the speed of light.The story has been covered by many news outlets already, and, while some headlines may have raised a few eyebrows, most of the coverage has been suitably cautious...

September 23, 2011 — Kelly Oakes

An impossible star?

In the beginning, the only elements that existed were hydrogen, helium and very small amounts of lithium. All of the other elements in the period table came later and, rather than forming out of the primordial soup of sub-atomic particles that existed shortly after the big bang, the elements from lithium up to and including iron, were made in the nuclear furnaces at the centres of stars...

September 23, 2011 — Kelly Oakes

Double checking our cosmic tape measure

In the late 90s there was a race going on between two astronomy collaborations. Both were on the verge of making a discovery that would change the field of cosmology forever, though they may not have realised it at the time...

August 18, 2011 — Kelly Oakes

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