The birth of massive galaxies, according to galaxy formation theories, begins with the buildup of a dense, compact core that is ablaze with the glow of millions of newly formed stars. Evidence of this early construction phase, however, has eluded astronomers until now. Astronomers identified a dense galactic core, dubbed "Sparky," using a combination of data from Hubble and Spitzer, other space telescopes, and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Hubble photographed the emerging galaxy as it looked 11 billion years ago, just 3 billion years after the birth of our universe in the big bang.
Astronomy: Collision history written in rock
Nature 512, 7515 (2014). doi:10.1038/512350c
Meteorites recovered in California have yielded details about their collision-filled journey from the Solar System's asteroid belt.The fragments (pictured) originated from a meteoroid whose fiery descent lit up the night sky over San Francisco in 2012. Peter Jenniskens of NASA's Ames Research
Astrobiology: Cosmic prestige
Nature 512, 7515 (2014). doi:10.1038/512368a
Author: Mario Livio
Mario Livio welcomes a lucid description of attempts to evaluate how special humans are.