Astronomy News

Hubble Image Reveals ‘Stellar Fireworks’ in Kiso 5639

June 28, 2016

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Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in 'Skyrocket' Galaxy

New research shows that a stellar fireworks show is lighting up one end of galaxy Kiso 5639. Astronomers suggest that the frenzied star birth is sparked by intergalactic gas raining on one end of the galaxy as it drifts through space. Fireworks shows are not just confined to Earth’s skies. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has […]

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Astronomers Measure the Intrinsic Shape of the Milky Way’s Black Hole

June 28, 2016

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Measuring the Shape of the Milky Way's Black Hole

A newly published study details how astronomers successfully measured the intrinsic shape of Sagittarius A* at 3.5-mm wavelength. At the heart of our galaxy’s center is Sgr A*, a supermassive black hole containing about four million solar-masses of material. Sgr A* is relatively faint, unlike the supermassive black holes in some other galaxies. This is […]

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Low-Mass Black Hole May Represent New Population

June 27, 2016

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Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population

By combining data from Chandra and several other telescopes, astronomers have identified the true nature of an unusual source in the Milky Way galaxy. This object contains a very quiet black hole, a few times the Sun’s mass, about 7,200 light years from Earth. This discovery implies that there could be many more black holes […]

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Hubble Reveals the Iridescent Interior of NGC 1569

June 27, 2016

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Hubble Views the Iridescent Interior of NGC 1569

This newly released Hubble image reveals the iridescent interior of one of the most active galaxies in our local neighborhood — NGC 1569, a small galaxy located about eleven million light-years away in the constellation of Camelopardalis (The Giraffe). This galaxy is currently a hotbed of vigorous star formation. NGC 1569 is a starburst galaxy, […]

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New Horizons Reveals a ‘Super Grand Canyon’ on Charon

June 24, 2016

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Astronomers Discover "Super Grand Canyon" on Pluto’s Moon Charon

Images from NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft reveal an unusual canyon system that’s far longer and deeper than the Grand Canyon. The inset above magnifies a portion of the eastern limb in the global view of Charon at left, imaged by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft several hours before its closest approach on July 14, 2015. A […]

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Astronomers Discover X-Ray Echoes from a Black Hole That Shattered a Passing Star

June 23, 2016

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X-ray Echoes of a Shredded Star Provide Close-up of Black Hole

Using data from the Swift Satellite, astronomers have identified the reflections of X-ray flares erupting from a star that was shattered by a black hole. Some 3.9 billion years ago in the heart of a distant galaxy, the intense tidal pull of a monster black hole shredded a star that passed too close. When X-rays […]

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Hubble Telescope Confirms New Dark Spot on Neptune

June 23, 2016

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New Dark Spot on Neptune Confirmed

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has confirmed the presence of a dark vortex in the atmosphere of Neptune. Though similar features were seen during the Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune in 1989 and by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994, this vortex is the first one observed on Neptune in the 21st century. The discovery was […]

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NASA Juno Mission Trailer – Jupiter: Into the Unknown

June 22, 2016

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NASA Juno Mission Trailer

This short video details NASA’s Juno Mission as it prepares to explore uncharted territory this July. Secrets lie deep within Jupiter, shrouded in the solar system’s strongest magnetic field and most lethal radiation belts. On July 4, 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will plunge into uncharted territory, entering orbit around the gas giant and passing closer […]

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Shadow Below – New Cassini Image of Saturn

June 21, 2016

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New Cassini Image of the Planet Saturn

This newly released Cassini image of Saturn was captured this past March. As Saturn’s northern hemisphere summer approaches, the shadows of the rings creep ever southward across the planet. Here, the ring shadows appear to obscure almost the entire southern hemisphere, while the planet’s north pole and its six-sided jet stream, known as “the hexagon,” […]

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XMM-Newton Reveals the First ‘Wind Nebula’ Around a Magnetar

June 21, 2016

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Astronomers Find Wind Nebula Around a Magnetar

Using the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, a team of astronomers has discovered a vast cloud of high-energy particles around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star for the first time. The find offers a unique window into the properties, environment and outburst history of magnetars, which are the strongest magnets in the universe. A neutron star is the […]

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ALMA Reveals Methanol in the TW Hydrae Protoplanetary Disk

June 20, 2016

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New Study Shows Comets are Forming in Distant Solar System

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have discovered the organic molecule methyl alcohol (methanol) in the protoplanetary disk around the star TW Hydrae. This is the first such detection of the compound in a young planet-forming disk, and points to a region where comets are forming. Astronomers announced that they have found the […]

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Astronomers Confirm Youngest Known Transiting Exoplanet

June 20, 2016

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New Study Confirms Youngest Transiting Exoplanet to Date

Using the MEarth-North and MEarth-South arrays, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the youngest known planet, only 11 million years old, which transits its star once every 5.4 days. The existence of this infant world was first detected by NASA’s Kepler K2 mission. “Young stars tend to be very blotchy, with starspots that can mimic […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – The Stars of the Large Magellanic Cloud

June 20, 2016

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Hubble Views Stars of the Large Magellanic Cloud

This newly released Hubble image shows the globular cluster NGC 1854, a gathering of white and blue stars in the southern constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish). NGC 1854 is located about 135,000 light-years away, in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), one of our closest cosmic neighbors and a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The […]

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Astronomers Find an Unexpected Amount of Giant Planets in Star Cluster Messier 67

June 17, 2016

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Unexpected Excess of Giant Planets in Star Cluster Messier 67

A team of astronomers reveals that there are far more planets of the hot Jupiter type than expected in star cluster Messier 67. The surprising discovery was obtained using a number of telescopes and instruments, among them the HARPS spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The denser environment in a cluster will cause […]

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Did LIGO Find Dark Matter?

June 16, 2016

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Gravitational Waves Detected

When it was announced that LIGO detected gravitational waves this past February, astrophysicists wondered about something else: Had the experiment found the “dark matter” that makes up most of the mass of the universe? http://www.mpg.de-streaming-eu.s3.amazonaws.com/de/forschung/Gravitationswellen_Hires_GW151226_HD.mp4 This simulation of the binary black-hole coalescence GW151226 shows two black holes of 14 and 8 solar masses orbiting each […]

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Young Star FU Orionis May Hold Clues to Planet Formation

June 15, 2016

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FU Orionis May Reveal Clues to Planet Formation

By combining data from two telescopes collected over a 12-year interval, astronomers were able to gain a unique perspective on FU Orionis. In 1936, the young star FU Orionis began gobbling material from its surrounding disk of gas and dust with a sudden voraciousness. During a three-month binge, as matter turned into energy, the star […]

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LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves Again

June 15, 2016

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LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves for the Second Time

The twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has detected gravitational waves for the second time. The signal was produced by two black holes colliding 1.4 billion light years away. For the second time, scientists have directly detected gravitational waves — ripples through the fabric of space-time, created by extreme, cataclysmic events in the distant universe. […]

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Newly Discovered Kepler-1647 Is The Largest Planet That Orbits Two Suns

June 14, 2016

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Newly Discovered Kepler-1647 Is The Largest Planet That Orbits Two Suns

Using the Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have identified the largest planet to date around a double-star system. If you cast your eyes toward the constellation Cygnus, you’ll be looking in the direction of the largest planet yet discovered around a double-star system. It’s too faint to see with the naked eye, but a team led […]

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