In search of the biggest bangs after the Big Bang

On 2 December 2015 the European Space Agency ESA will launch the satellite LISA Pathfinder, an important technology demonstration mission for measuring the gravitational waves in space predicted by Einstein. With gravitational waves scientists expect to be able to make new discoveries about objects such as compact binary stars and merging supermassive black holes, which are responsible for the biggest bangs after the Big Bang. And completely new fundamental physics is also on the horizon.         More

Black holes behave like Matryoshka dolls

  An international team of astrophysicists has established that supermassive black holes behave like small stellar black holes. They made their discovery by observing a supermassive black hole that has torn apart a star, causing a surge of gas towards it. Normally such a change in the gas flow takes too long to detect. But this time the transition from a steady flow to a surge of gas happened abruptly, enabling the researchers to detect a jet blasting from the supermassive black hole. This neatly fits the pattern found near small black holes. The results appear  in Science today.         More

Dark matter or the smell of sulphur?

An international team of astronomers has found a new explanation for enigmatic X-rays in clusters of galaxies, the largest bound objects in the Universe. These X-rays, at very specific energies, may come from an electric charge exchange between cold hydrogen gas and bare sulphur ions. Previously these X-rays were attributed to sterile neutrinos, a possible form of dark matter. The new charge exchange model offers a more natural and less exotic explanation for these X-rays. The research results appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters.         More

Gelderland invests in space cluster

The Province of Gelderland will invest € 195.000 in the formation of a Smart Space Cluster, which will develop innovative products for space. The cluster - in which SRON partakes - consists of aerospace companies and research institutes which will work together. The state of the art technology will have to be applied in healthcare, food production and the construction and manufacturing sector as well.        Read more (in dutch)

Count down has started for balloon mission on Antarctica

Today two SRON-researchers have arrived at Antarctica, to assist with the preperations for the NASA balloon mission STO-2. In the second half december this ballon will take the infrared detectors from SRON/TU Delft to the stratosphere, to study the birth of stars and planets from the edge of space. Systems engineer Wouter Laauwen will blog on his time at Antarctica on a regular basis.        Read more (in dutch)