Astronomers upgrade their cosmic light bulbs 30 March 2015, 12:00 pm In a new report, scientists show that using a particular class of type Ia supernovae that occur near youthful stars can improve measurements of cosmic distances.
As stars form, magnetic fields influence regions big and small 30 March 2015, 6:26 pm Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn't the only force at work. Both turbulence and magnetic fields battle gravity, either by stirring things up or by channeling and restricting gas flows, respectively. New research focusing on magnetic fields shows that they influence star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year.
Comet dust: Planet Mercury's 'invisible paint' 30 March 2015, 6:24 pm Scientists have long puzzled over the planet Mercury's excessively dark surface. New research suggests that carbon from passing comets could be the planet's mystery darkening agent.
Earthlike 'Star Wars' Tatooines may be common 30 March 2015, 2:25 pm Luke Skywalker's home in "Star Wars" is the desert planet Tatooine, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars. So far, only uninhabitable gas-giant planets have been identified circling such binary stars, and many researchers believe rocky planets cannot form there. Now, mathematical simulations show that Earthlike, solid planets such as Tatooine likely exist and may be widespread.
Dark matter even darker than once thought 26 March 2015, 8:22 pm Astronomers have studied how dark matter in clusters of galaxies behaves when the clusters collide. The results show that dark matter interacts with itself even less than previously thought, and narrows down the options for what this mysterious substance might be.
Best view yet of dusty cloud passing galactic center black hole 26 March 2015, 1:59 pm The best observations so far of the dusty gas cloud G2 confirm that it made its closest approach to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way in May 2014 and has survived the experience. The new result shows that the object appears not to have been significantly stretched. It is most likely to be a young star with a massive core that is still accreting material.
A new spin on Saturn's peculiar rotation 25 March 2015, 8:23 pm The precise measurement of Saturn's rotation has presented a great challenge to scientists, as different parts of this sweltering ball of hydrogen and helium rotate at different speeds whereas its rotation axis and magnetic pole are aligned. A new method leads to a new determination of Saturn's rotation period and offers insight into the internal structure of the planet, its weather patterns, and the way it formed.
Supermassive black hole clears star-making gas from galaxy's core 25 March 2015, 8:18 pm A new study provides the first observational evidence that a supermassive black hole at the center of a large galaxy can power huge, wide-angled outpourings of material from deep inside the galaxy's core. These outflows remove massive quantities of star-making gas, thus influencing the size, shape and overall fate of the host galaxy.
NASA satellites catch 'growth spurt' from newborn protostar 24 March 2015, 11:36 pm Using data from orbiting observatories and ground-based facilities, astronomers have discovered an outburst from a star thought to be in the earliest phase of its development. The eruption, scientists say, reveals a sudden accumulation of gas and dust by an exceptionally young protostar known as HOPS 383.
NASA studies the sun in soft x-rays 24 March 2015, 11:36 pm At any given moment, our sun emits a range of light waves far more expansive than what our eyes alone can see: from visible light to extreme ultraviolet to soft and hard X-rays. In 2012 and 2013, a detector was launched on a sounding rocket for a 15 minute trip to look at a range of sunlight previously not well-observed: soft X-rays.