Michelle Starr, ScienceAlert

Michelle Starr


Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Recent articles by Michelle:

Glistening 'Gel-Like' Substance on Far Side of The Moon Finally Identified

A peculiar "gel-like" substance the Chinese Yutu-2 rover discovered in a small impact crater on the far side of the Moon last year has now been identified. According to analysis of the images, and comparison with Apollo samples here on Earth, it's → Read More

Tranquil Planetary System Just 11 Light-Years Away Raises Hopes of Habitability

Finding a potentially habitable exoplanet isn't as easy as you might think. Orbiting at a temperate distance from the host star is just the first step. Size and composition also play a role - as does the level of flare activity in the star. And all o → Read More

A Vast Stream of Flowing Stars Is Evidence of The Milky Way's Violent History

When you go outside and look at the sky on a clear night, it seems like nothing else could be as serene and peaceful. But many of those seemingly peaceful stars are evidence of a turbulent history - and now we're learning to unlock their secrets. → Read More

Physicists Discover Exotic, New 'Tetraquark' Particle We've Never Seen Before

There's a new exotic subatomic particle on the atom smasher. Physicists working with CERN's Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration have found a new form of the elusive four-quark particle called a tetraquark that they have never seen befor → Read More

Astronomers Spot a Planet Unlike Any We've Seen Before Orbiting a Distant Star

Some 730 light-years away, around a star that's a lot like our Sun, astronomers have found a really weird exoplanet. → Read More

This Absolute Monster of a Black Hole Eats The Equivalent of a Sun a Day

One of the largest known black holes in the Universe has turned out to have an appetite to match its prodigious size. New measurements reveal that it's an absolute chonk, clocking in at around 34 billion times the mass of the Sun - and it devours alm → Read More

Physicists Have Observed Light Flowing Like a River, And It's Beautiful

Picture in your mind the delta of a river - the way the main channel splits into smaller rivulets and tributaries. Something similar occurs in waves as they propagate through a certain kind of medium: the path of the wave splits, breaking up into sma → Read More

A Massive Star Has Disappeared From a Distant Galaxy, And No One's Sure Where It Went

Massive stars aren't like your car keys. They're not going to disappear under a pile of mail on your kitchen counter, or end up in the washing machine. But a massive star that astronomers were observing for a decade now appears to be totally missing. → Read More

Astronomers Have Located The Centre of The Solar System to Within 100 Metres

When you picture the Solar System in your head, most people would think of the Sun, stolid and stationary in the centre, with everything else whizzing about around it. But every body in the Solar System also exerts its own gravitational tug on the → Read More

Neptune Rains Diamonds, And Now We Might Finally Know How

Deep within the hearts of Neptune and Uranus, it could be raining diamonds. Now, scientists have produced new experimental evidence showing how this could be possible. → Read More

A Vast Garden of Soft Corals Has Been Discovered Off The Coast of Greenland

Deep in the cold, dark water, on the seafloor west of Greenland, a quiet ecosystem thrives. For the first time, a garden of soft corals and sponges has been found in these waters, sprawling across an area a little bigger than the City of San Jose. → Read More

Dolphins Are So Smart They're Learning Tool-Use From Their Friends

The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins of Shark Bay in Western Australia have an unusual way of obtaining food. → Read More

In The Depths of Space, Hubble Sees a Cosmic Bat Beat Its Wings

In a giant cloud of gas and dust 1,400 light-years away, twin shadows stretch across space from a star, like the vast wings of a colossal cosmic bat. Now astronomers have caught these shadows beating - and they're not sure what's causing it. → Read More

After 50 Years, Experiment Finally Shows Energy Could Be Extracted From a Black Hole

A 50-year-old theoretical process for extracting energy from a rotating black hole finally has experimental verification. → Read More

There's a New Photo Circulating of The Loch Ness Monster, But Guess What

A new photo showing a mystery creature swimming in Loch Ness has sparked new interest in Nessie, the long-necked plesiosaur-like cryptid rumoured to inhabit the loch's dark and enigmatic depths. → Read More

Europa Could Actually Be The Best Place to Look For Alien Life in Our Solar System

The search for extraterrestrial life is increasingly homing in on the Solar System's ocean worlds, and there's new evidence that Jupiter's moon Europa should be the first port of call. According to new modelling, Europa's subsurface oceans should be → Read More

Astronomers Detect First-Ever Mystery Object in The 'Mass Gap' of Cosmic Collisions

In August of last year, the LIGO and Virgo collaborations made a first-of-its-kind gravitational wave detection - what seemed to be a black hole swallowing up a neutron star. Now LIGO has confirmed the event, giving it the name GW190814. And it loo → Read More

Mesmerising New Hubble Image Details The Enigmatic Knife Edge Galaxy

Picture a spiral galaxy. You're probably imagining something like Messier 34 - long, spiralling arms sweeping away from a brightly glowing centre, speckled with glittering star clusters and punctuated with dark streaks of dust. → Read More

The Moon Is Lopsided, And New Research Could Finally Explain Why

The Moon may be Earth's closest cosmic neighbour - and the only extraterrestrial body humans have ever set foot on - but there's a lot about it we don't understand. And one of the biggest mysteries is why its two sides are so significantly different. → Read More

Rogue 'Missing Link' Black Holes Could Be Zooming Around The Universe as We Speak

Throughout the Universe, there are numerous examples of galaxies coming together in colossal mergers, a billion-year process that smears stars and gas across the surrounding space. For the most part, we know how this plays out - but we don't quite kn → Read More