Astronomy & Space News

  • The sleeping giant NGC 4889 harbors a dark secret
    11 February 2016, 8:13 pm
    The placid appearance of NGC 4889 can fool the unsuspecting observer. But the elliptical galaxy, seen in a new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, harbors a dark secret. At its heart lurks one of the most massive black holes ever discovered.
  • A star's moment in the spotlight
    10 February 2016, 5:06 pm
    A newly formed star lights up the surrounding clouds in this new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. Dust particles in the vast clouds that surround the star HD 97300 diffuse its light, like a car headlight in enveloping fog, and create the reflection nebula IC 2631. Although HD 97300 is in the spotlight for now, the very dust that makes it so hard to miss heralds the birth of additional future stars.
  • Scientists discover hidden galaxies behind the Milky Way
    9 February 2016, 7:20 pm
    Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have been studied for the first time, shedding light on a mysterious gravitational anomaly dubbed the Great Attractor. Despite being just 250 million light years from Earth, the new galaxies had been hidden from view until now by our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Using CSIRO's Parkes radio telescope equipped with an innovative receiver, an international team of scientists were able to see through the Milky Way, into a previously unexplored region of space.
  • Artistic space odyssey to broadcast people's messages to the stars
    8 February 2016, 5:25 pm
    Messages from around the world are to be beamed into space at the speed of light as part of a cultural project to create a celestial time capsule.
  • 'Cannibalism' between stars
    5 February 2016, 8:45 pm
    Stars do not accumulate their final mass steadily, but in a series of violent events manifesting themselves as sharp stellar brightening. Stellar brightening can be caused by fragmentation due to gravitational instabilities in massive gaseous disks surrounding young stars, followed by migration of dense gaseous clumps onto the star, according to a new theory.
  • Turbulent times: When stars approach
    4 February 2016, 5:20 pm
    Astrophysicists are using new methods to simulate the common-envelope phase of binary stars, discovering dynamic irregularities that may help to explain how supernovae evolve.
  • A violent wind blown from the heart of a galaxy tells the tale of a merger
    4 February 2016, 3:49 pm
    Astronomers have revealed the detailed structure of a massive ionized gas outflow streaming from the starburst galaxy NGC 6240. The light-collecting power and high spatial resolution of Subaru Telescope made it possible to study, for the first time, the complex structure of one of the largest known superwinds being driven by starbirth -- and star death.
  • New study challenges Jupiter's role as planetary shield, protecting Earth from comet impacts
    3 February 2016, 5:09 pm
    Not only is the 'Jupiter as shield' concept, implying that the planet shields Earth from comet impacts, not true, but perhaps Jupiter's most important role in fostering the development of life on Earth was just the opposite -- delivering the volatile materials from the outer Solar System needed for life to form. This new simulation study, and the previously underestimated role that Saturn may have also played in the evolution of life on Earth.
  • Galactic center's gamma rays unlikely to originate from dark matter, evidence shows
    3 February 2016, 5:09 pm
    Studies by two independent groups from the US and the Netherlands have found that gamma ray signals from the inner galaxy come from a new source rather than from the collision of dark matter particles. The new source is likely to be rapidly rotating pulsars, rather than the as-yet undetected invisible dark matter particles thought to make up 85 percent of the mass in the Universe.
  • Bright sparks shed new light on the dark matter riddle
    1 February 2016, 4:35 pm
    The origin of matter in the universe has puzzled physicists for generations. Today, we know that matter only accounts for 5 percent of our universe; another 25 percent is constituted of dark matter. And the remaining 70 percent is made up of dark energy. Dark matter itself represents an unsolved riddle.

 

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Copyright © 2016 Alfonso Fernandez-Barandiaran