Three scientists share Nobel prize in physics for work on black holes

Roger Penrose (left), who receives half the prize; and Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel, who share the other half. Composite: UCLA/MPE/EPA

Three scientists have won the 2020 Nobel prize in physics for their work on black hole formation and the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.

Mars covered in toxic chemicals that can wipe out living organisms, tests reveal

Mars is bathed in ultra violet light which turns the Martian soil sterile. Photograph: Reuters

Discovery has major implications for hunt for alien life on the red planet as it means any evidence is likely to be buried deep underground

Nasa shortlists four astrophysics missions for 2025 launch

The Andromeda galaxy, the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way.

NASA has shortlisted four proposals for its next astrophysics missions, due for launch in 2025. The agency has funding to fly two of them, and the four will now each receive funds for a nine-month period of technical study. The two missions will be chosen next year.

Biggest cosmic explosion ever detected left huge dent in space

Galaxy clusters are among the largest structures in the universe, containing thousands of individual galaxies, dark matter and hot gas. At the heart of the Ophiuchus cluster there is a large galaxy that contains a supermassive black hole with a mass equivalent to 10 millions suns.

Solar Orbiter spacecraft will capture the sun's north and south poles

The Solar Orbiter spacecraft, a joint Nasa and European Space Agency (ESA) mission, is set to be launched from Cape Canaveral just after 4am UK time on Monday morning, and will reach its vantage point above the planetary plane by the end of 2021.

Telescope captures most detailed pictures yet of the sun

First observations from Inouye telescope bring previously hazy star into sharp focus.
The striking images reveal a surprising level of structure hidden within the churning plasma exterior, bringing a previously hazy impression of the sun’s patchwork surface sharply into focus for the first time.

Black hole at centre of galaxy is getting hungrier, say scientists

Scientists say Milky Way’s Sagittarius A* has been more active in recent months. Unseeable and inescapable, black holes already rank among the more sinister phenomena out in the cosmos. So it may come as disconcerting news that the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way appears to be growing hungrier.