Cosmic swirly straws: Galaxies fed by funnels of fuel 24 May 2013, 9:48 pm Computer simulations of galaxies growing over billions of years have revealed a likely scenario for how they feed: a cosmic version of swirly straws. The results show that cold gas -- fuel for stars -- spirals into the cores of galaxies along filaments, rapidly making its way to their "guts." Once there, the gas is converted into new stars, and the galaxies bulk up in mass.
Detection of the cosmic gamma ray horizon: Measures all the light in the universe since the Big Bang 24 May 2013, 4:46 pm Radiation from all galaxies that ever existed suffuses the universe with a diffuse extragalactic background light (EBL). Measuring the EBL is as fundamental to cosmology as measuring heat from the Big Bang (cosmic microwave background) at radio wavelengths. Researchers describe the best measurement yet of the evolution of the EBL over the past 5 billion years, based on observations from radio waves to gamma rays from NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescopes.
Hubble reveals the Ring Nebula’s true shape 23 May 2013, 5:32 pm The Ring Nebula's distinctive shape makes it a popular illustration for astronomy books. But new observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of the glowing gas shroud around an old, dying, sun-like star reveal a new twist.
Hidden population of exotic neutron stars 23 May 2013, 5:25 pm Magnetars -- the dense remains of dead stars that erupt sporadically with bursts of high-energy radiation -- are some of the most extreme objects known in the Universe. A major campaign using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other satellites shows magnetars may be more diverse -- and common -- than previously thought.
Spectacular stellar nursery: ESO's Very Large Telescope celebrates 15 years of success 23 May 2013, 2:29 pm With this new view of a spectacular stellar nursery ESO is celebrating 15 years of the Very Large Telescope — the world's most advanced optical instrument. This picture reveals thick clumps of dust silhouetted against the pink glowing gas cloud known to astronomers as IC 2944. These opaque blobs resemble drops of ink floating in a strawberry cocktail, their whimsical shapes sculpted by powerful radiation coming from the nearby brilliant young stars.
Forecast for Saturn's moon Titan: Wild weather could be ahead 22 May 2013, 7:32 pm Saturn's moon Titan might be in for some wild weather as it heads into its spring and summer, if two new models are correct. Scientists think that as the seasons change in Titan's northern hemisphere, waves could ripple across the moon's hydrocarbon seas, and hurricanes could begin to swirl over these areas, too. The model predicting waves tries to explain data from the moon obtained so far by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Both models help mission team members plan when and where to look for unusual atmospheric disturbances as Titan summer approaches.
Model of Sun's magnetic field created 22 May 2013, 7:11 pm Researchers have uncovered an important mechanism behind the generation of astrophysical magnetic fields such as that of the Sun.
NASA's IRIS mission readies for a new challenge 21 May 2013, 7:43 pm NASA is getting ready to launch a new mission, a mission to observe a largely unexplored region of the solar atmosphere that powers its dynamic million-degree outer atmosphere and drives the solar wind. In late June 2013, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. IRIS will advance our understanding of the interface region, a region in the lower atmosphere of the sun where most of the sun's ultraviolet emissions are generated. Such emissions impact the near-Earth space environment and Earth's climate.