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First stars formed even later than previously thought

2 September 2016 Astronomy Now

ESA’s Planck satellite has revealed that the first stars in the universe started forming later than previous observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background indicated. This new analysis also shows that these stars were the only sources needed to account for reionising atoms in the cosmos, having completed half of this process when the universe had reached an age of 700 million years.

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Supermassive black holes banish matter into cosmic voids

26 February 2016 Astronomy Now

On the largest scales, galaxies and everything they contain are concentrated into filaments that stretch around the edge of enormous voids. Data from the Illustris project, a large computer simulation of the evolution and formation of galaxies, suggests that the black holes at the centre of every galaxy are helping to send matter into the loneliest places in the universe.

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A cold cosmic mystery solved

20 April 2015 Astronomy Now

Since its discovery over a decade ago on a map of the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang, astronomers have puzzled over the so-called Cold Spot — possibly the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity. Now, a team led by researchers from the University of Hawaii may have found an explanation for its existence.