Astronomy January 2021

ASY210101-C
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Buy More, Save More: 2 Back Issues – Save 5% (use code: MAGAZINES5) 3-4 Back Issues – Save 10% (use code: MAGAZINES10) 5+ Back Issues – Save 15% (use code: MAGAZINES15) FEATURES10 THE BEGINNINGSIt began with a bangOur universe’s earliest moments are the hardest to explore. But they hold the...
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Buy More, Save More:

  • 2 Back Issues – Save 5% (use code: MAGAZINES5)
  • 3-4 Back Issues – Save 10% (use code: MAGAZINES10)
  • 5+ Back Issues – Save 15% (use code: MAGAZINES15)

FEATURES

10 THE BEGINNINGS
It began with a bang
Our universe’s earliest moments are the hardest to explore. But they hold the key to understanding the cosmos.

DAN HOOPER

14
Inflating the universe
In a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, our universe underwent a growth-spurt that shaped the structure we see today.

BRIAN KEATING

18
The emergence of matter
The universe forged the first elements within minutes of its birth through the process of Big Bang nucleosynthesis.
CHRISTOPHER CONSELICE

21
The cosmic dark ages
For millennia, a hydrogen fog permeated the universe,trapping light.

DANA NAJJAR

24
The first stars are born
They lived fast, died young, and seeded the cosmos with material for future generations.
MICHAEL E. BAKICH

28 LIVING IN
THE UNIVERSE
How to build a galaxy

About 13 billion years ago, our galaxy formed in the wake of the Big Bang.
MICHAEL E. BAKICH

32
Sky This Month
Twilight observing time.
MARTIN RATCLIFFE
AND ALISTER LING

34
Star Dome and
Paths of the Planets

RICHARD TALCOTT;
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ROEN KELLY

40
Our solar system’s origin
Researchers know how the Sun shines — but how did it form?
MICHAEL E. BAKICH

43
The origins of life on Earth
An asteroid impact may have killed the dinosaurs, but earlier cosmic strikes could have helped spawn life in the first place.

DAVID A. KRING

46
Looking for life in the universe
Possibilities for extraterrestrial life seem limitless, but a few scientific rules can help us find
it.

MORGAN L. CABLE

50 THIS IS THE END
The Big Crunch vs. the Big Freeze
Astronomers once thought the universe could collapse into a
Big Crunch. Now most agree it will end with a Big Freeze.

ERIC BETZ

53
The mystery of dark energy
The universe isn’t just expanding, it’s accelerating.
BRUCE DORMINEY

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Astronomy January 2021
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