Astronomy

Astronomy News -- ScienceDaily Astronomy news. New! Earth-like extrasolar planet found; double helix nebula; supermassive black holes, astronomy articles, astronomy pictures. Updated daily.

  • Challenging existing models of black holes
    on January 19, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    A new study expands the scientific community's understanding of black holes in our galaxy and the magnetic fields that surround them. […]

  • North, east, south, west: The many faces of Abell 1758
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Resembling a swarm of flickering fireflies, this beautiful galaxy cluster glows intensely in the dark cosmos, accompanied by the myriad bright lights of foreground stars and swirling spiral galaxies. A1758N is a sub-cluster of Abell 1758, a massive cluster containing hundreds of galaxies. Although it may appear serene in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, the sub-cluster actually comprises two even smaller structures currently in the turbulent process of merging. […]

  • Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Dust is everywhere -- not just in your attic or under your bed, but also in outer space. To astronomers, dust can be a tool to study the history of our universe, galaxy, and Solar System. For example, observations indicate that type II supernovae -- explosions of stars more than ten times as massive as the Sun -- produce copious amounts of dust, but how and when they do so is not well understood. […]

  • Neutron-star merger yields new puzzle for astrophysicists
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten - much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. New observations indicate that the gamma ray burst unleashed by the collision is more complex than scientists initially imagined. […]

  • Middle-aged sun observed by tracking motion of Mercury
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun's gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, scientists have indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury's orbit. […]

  • Odd behavior of star reveals lonely black hole hiding in giant star cluster
    on January 17, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Astronomers using ESO's MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the sun -- the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster and the first found by directly detecting its gravitational pull. […]

  • Hubble weighs in on mass of 3 million billion suns
    on January 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    In 2014, astronomers found an enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion suns -- so it's little wonder that it has earned the nickname of "El Gordo" ("the Fat One" in Spanish)! Known officially as ACT-CLJ0102-4915, it is the largest, hottest, and brightest X-ray galaxy cluster ever discovered in the distant Universe. […]

  • How massive can neutron stars be?
    on January 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Astrophysicists set a new limit for the maximum mass of neutron stars: It cannot exceed 2.16 solar masses. […]

  • Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
    on January 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Statistical analysis of supermassive black holes suggests that the spin of the black hole may play a role in the generation of powerful high-speed jets blasting radio waves. By analyzing nearly 8000 quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, research team found that the oxygen emissions are 1.5 times stronger in radio loud quasars than in radio quiet quasars. This implies that spin is an important factor in the generation of jets. […]

  • X-ray navigation could open up new frontiers for robotic spacecraft
    on January 12, 2018 at 3:39 am

    In a technology first, a team of engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space -- a capability that could revolutionize NASA's ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond. […]

  • Supermassive black hole caught burping -- twice
    on January 11, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Astronomers have caught a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy snacking on gas and then "burping" -- not once, but twice. […]

  • Magnified and stretched out image of extremely distant galaxy
    on January 11, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    An intensive survey deep into the universe by NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes has yielded the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack: the farthest galaxy yet seen in an image that has been stretched and amplified by a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. […]

  • Archeology of our Milky Way's ancient hub
    on January 11, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    A new analysis of about 10,000 normal Sun-like stars in the Milky Way's bulge reveals that our galaxy’s hub is a dynamic environment of variously aged stars zipping around at different speeds. […]

  • No planets needed for rings around stars: Disk patterns can self-generate
    on January 11, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    A new study shows rings, arcs and spirals in disks around stars may not be caused by planets. They may self-generate. […]

  • Brown dwarfs found sprinkled among newborn stars in Orion Nebula
    on January 11, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Astronomers have uncovered the largest known population of brown dwarfs sprinkled among newborn stars in the Orion Nebula. […]

  • Citizen scientists discover five-planet system
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    In its search for exoplanets -- planets outside of our solar system -- NASA's Kepler telescope trails behind Earth, measuring the brightness of stars that may potentially host planets. The instrument identifies potential planets around other stars by looking for dips in the brightness of the stars that occur when planets cross in front of, or transit, them. Typically, computer programs flag the stars with these brightness dips, then astronomers look at each one and decide whether or not they truly could host a planet candidate. […]

  • Faint galactic glow: Intriguing organic molecule benzonitrile in interstellar space
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Astronomers have made the first definitive interstellar detection of benzonitrile, an intriguing organic molecule that helps to chemically link simple carbon-based molecules and truly massive ones known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This discovery is a vital clue in a 30-year-old mystery: identifying the source of a faint infrared glow that permeates the Milky Way and other galaxies. […]

  • Astronomers to build space telescope to explore nearby stars
    on January 11, 2018 at 3:05 am

    A new mission will launch a small satellite telescope into space to study the environment in other solar systems around the Galaxy's most common type of star. […]

  • A repeating fast radio burst from an extreme environment
    on January 10, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    New detections of radio waves from a repeating fast radio burst have revealed an astonishingly potent magnetic field in the source's environment, indicating that it is situated near a massive black hole or within a nebula of unprecedented power. […]

  • Swarm of hydrogen clouds flying away from center of the Milky Way
    on January 10, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a grand exodus of more than 100 hydrogen clouds streaming away from the center of the Milky Way and heading into intergalactic space. […]

  • NASA's newly renamed Swift Mission spies a comet slowdown
    on January 10, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    NASA's Swift spacecraft, now renamed the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory after the mission's late principal investigator, has detected the most dramatic change in a comet's rotation ever seen. […]

  • New stellar streams confirm 'melting pot' history of the galaxy
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Where do the stars in our Galaxy come from? All the stars we see in the night-time sky belong to our Milky Way galaxy, and while most stars were likely born here, in the Milky Way, many appear to have originated in other galaxies and migrated to our shores. Tell-tale evidence comes from streams of stars created when small galaxies interact with the Milky Way. […]

  • Astronomers detect 'whirlpool' movement in earliest galaxies; swirling gases soon after Big Bang
    on January 10, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the universe. These 'newborns' -- observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago -- spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way. This is the first time that it has been possible to detect movement in galaxies at such an early point in the universe's history. […]

  • Black hole breakthrough: New insight into mysterious jets
    on January 10, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Advanced simulations created with one of the world's most powerful supercomputers show the jets' streams gradually change direction in the sky, or precess, as a result of space-time being dragged into the rotation of the black hole. […]

  • Planets around other stars are like peas in a pod
    on January 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    A study of 909 planets and 355 stars reveals that, unlike our solar system, other planetary systems are distinguished by strict regularity. […]

  • Black hole research could aid understanding of how small galaxies evolve
    on January 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Scientists have solved a cosmic mystery by finding evidence that supermassive black holes prevent stars forming in some smaller galaxies. […]

  • Extra-terrestrial Hypatia stone rattles solar system status quo
    on January 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Analyses on a small pebble found in south-west Egypt cast significant questions on a widely-held view about the primitive pre-solar dust cloud which our Sun, Earth and other planets were formed from. Researchers found exotic micro-mineral compounds in the 'Hypatia' stone that are not known to occur on Earth, elsewhere in our solar system, or in known meteorites or comets. […]

  • Saturn's moon Titan sports Earth-like features
    on January 7, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Using the now-complete Cassini data set, astronomers have created a new global topographic map of Saturn's moon Titan that has opened new windows into understanding its liquid flows and terrain. […]

  • Special star is a Rosetta Stone for understanding the sun's variability and climate effect
    on January 5, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Scientists have found a star that can help shed light on the physics underlying the solar dynamo. Researchers combined observations from the Kepler spacecraft with ground-based observations as far back as 1978, thereby reconstructing a 7.4-year cycle in this star. The star is almost identical to the Sun, except for the chemical composition. That makes it a Rosetta Stone for the study of stellar dynamos. […]

  • Weighing massive stars in nearby galaxy reveals excess of heavyweights
    on January 4, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Astronomers have revealed an 'astonishing' overabundance of massive stars in a neighboring galaxy. The discovery, made in the gigantic star-forming region 30 Doradus in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, has 'far-reaching' consequences for our understanding of how stars transformed the pristine Universe into the one we live in today. […]