Stephen Hawking Stephen Hawking

An image from the European Southern Observatory shows the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri — which appears so large because of the telescope optics and photographic emulsion — taken from photos in the Digitized Sky Survey 2. Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to Earth's solar system. ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/Davide De Martin hide caption

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ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/Davide De Martin

This artist's impression shows the surroundings of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the active galaxy NGC 3783 in the southern constellation of Centaurus. M. Kornmesser/ESO hide caption

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M. Kornmesser/ESO

British cosmologist Stephen Hawking gives a talk to workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 9. Eric Reed/Cedars-Sinai/AP hide caption

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Eric Reed/Cedars-Sinai/AP