Astronomy News

Astronomers Reveal the Rotation of the Hot Gas Around the Milky Way

July 27, 2016

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Astronomers Reveal the Dizzying Spin of the Milky Way’s Halo

A team of astronomers has discovered that the hot gas in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy’s disk, which contains our stars, planets, gas, and dust. This new knowledge sheds light on how individual atoms have assembled into stars, planets, and […]

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Researchers Investigate the Lack of Large Impact Craters on Ceres

July 27, 2016

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The Missing Large Impact Craters on Ceres

Ceres’ lack of giant impact basins presents a puzzle to scientists. They expected to observe more large craters on the dwarf planet than have been found by NASA’s Dawn mission. Researchers are investigating a variety of processes that might have caused the appearance of the largest basins to be softened or erased over time. Ceres […]

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Astronomers Reveal ‘Orphaned Protostars’

July 26, 2016

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Astronomers Study Protostars at Low Extinction in Orion A

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics concludes that ten protostellar candidates are indeed protostars even though they are not presently embedded in a cloud. Stars form as gravity contracts the gas and dust in an interstellar cloud until clumps develop that are dense enough to coalesce into stars. Precisely how this happens, however, […]

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Spitzer Provides Astronomers with a New Way to See the Milky Way’s Giant Black Hole

July 26, 2016

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Astronomers See the Milky Way's Giant Black Hole with New Eyes

Astronomers are using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to further explore Sagittarius A*. At the center of our Milky Way galaxy lies a cosmic beast called Sagittarius A*. This supermassive black hole packs about four million sun-masses into a volume roughly the size of our solar system. Recently, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope began exploring this exotic […]

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New View of Saturn’s A and F Rings

July 25, 2016

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New Cassini View of Saturn's A and F Rings

The Cassini Spacecraft gives us another interesting view of Saturn. Saturn’s A and F rings appear bizarrely warped where they intersect the planet’s limb, whose atmosphere acts here like a very big lens. In its upper regions, Saturn’s atmosphere absorbs some of the light reflected by the rings as it passes through. But absorption is […]

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New Deep View of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds

July 25, 2016

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Low Surface Brightness Imaging of the Magellanic System

This newly released ESO image reveals a new view of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Each of the thousands of spots in this new image represents a distant star, and the glittering blue holes reveal glimpses of our neighboring galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Although this image looks as if it was […]

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Hubble Telescope Views Remnants of a Dead Star

July 25, 2016

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Hubble Views Remnants of a Dead Star DEM L316A

This newly released Hubble image captures the remnants of a long-dead star. These rippling wisps of ionized gas, named DEM L316A, are located some 160,000 light-years away within one of the Milky Way’s closest galactic neighbors — the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The explosion that formed DEM L316A was an example of an especially energetic […]

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Hubble Unveils Galaxies Near and Far

July 21, 2016

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New Hubble Image

Using gravitational lensing, the Hubble Space Telescope unveils a very cluttered-looking universe filled with galaxies near and far. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the TV series “Star Trek” has captured the public’s imagination with the signature phrase, “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope doesn’t “boldly go” deep […]

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WISE Reveals the X-Shaped Bulge of the Milky Way

July 19, 2016

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X Shape Marks Milky Way’s Central Bulge of Stars

Using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, astronomers reveal that the Milky Way’s central bulge of stars forms an “X” shape. The unconventional collaboration started in May 2015 when Dustin Lang, an astronomer at the Dunlap Institute of the University of Toronto, posted galaxy maps to Twitter, using data from WISE’s two […]

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Cassini Image Shows Saturn’s Rings with Dione and Epimetheus

July 18, 2016

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New Cassini Image Shows Dione and Epimetheus

This newly released Cassini image shows Saturn’s rings with Dione and Epimetheus off in the distance. Saturn’s main rings, along with its and moons, are much brighter than most stars. As a result, much shorter exposure times (10 milliseconds, in this case) are required to produce an image and not saturate the detectors of the […]

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ALMA Detects Water Snowline Around Young Star V883 Orionis

July 18, 2016

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Water Snowline Around Young Star V883 Orionis

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of astronomers has made the first ever resolved observation of a water snow line within a protoplanetary disc. This line marks where the temperature in the disc surrounding a young star drops sufficiently low for snow to form. A dramatic increase in the brightness of the […]

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Hubble Reveals the Vibrant Core of Galaxy NGC 3125

July 18, 2016

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Hubble Views Galaxy NGC 3125

This newly released Hubble image reveals the vibrant core of the galaxy NGC 3125, which is located 50 million light-years away. Discovered by John Herschel in 1835, NGC 3125 is a great example of a starburst galaxy — a galaxy in which unusually high numbers of new stars are forming, springing to life within intensely […]

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NASA’s Top 10 Pluto Pics from the New Horizons Spacecraft

July 15, 2016

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Global Mosaic of Pluto in True Color

One year ago, NASA’s New Horizons mission made history by exploring Pluto and its moons – giving humankind our first real look at this fascinating world on the frontier of our solar system. Since those amazing days in July 2015 the New Horizons spacecraft has transmitted numerous images and many other kinds of data home […]

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Chandra Reveals Evidence for Violent Stellar Merger

July 15, 2016

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Astronomers Find Evidence for Violent Stellar Merger

Using data from Chandra, astronomers have the strongest evidence to date that violent stellar mergers produce pencil-thin jets. This result has implications for estimating the number of such mergers that may detected with gravitational wave observatories. Gamma-ray bursts, or GRBs, are some of the most violent and energetic events in the Universe. Although these events […]

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A Quiet Space in the Core of the Perseus Cluster

July 15, 2016

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Astronomers Study the Quiet Intracluster Medium in the Core of the Perseus Cluster

Using the Hitomi satellite astronomers find that turbulence in the central region of the Perseus cluster is low, implying that errors in previous measurements of the masses of galaxy clusters using X-ray observations are small. Most galaxies lie in clusters, groupings of a few to many thousands of galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy itself is […]

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New Map Measures the Effects of Dark Energy in the Expansion of the Universe

July 14, 2016

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Astronomers Measure Dark Energy

A new study details the results from the largest-ever, three-dimensional map of distant galaxies. The map is one of the most precise measurements yet of the dark energy currently driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe. “We have spent five years collecting measurements of 1.2 million galaxies over one quarter of the sky to map […]

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Kepler Shows Warm Jupiters Not As Lonely As Expected

July 14, 2016

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Warm Jupiters Not As Lonely As Expected

Astronomers have used data from the Kepler Space Telescope to give the clearest understanding yet of a class of exoplanets called Warm Jupiters, revealing that many have unexpected planetary companions. The team’s analysis, published July 10th in the Astrophysical Journal, provides strong evidence of the existence of two distinct types of Warm Jupiters, each with […]

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Astronomers Prove the Existence of a “Gravitational Vortex” Around a Black Hole

July 13, 2016

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XMM-Newton Proves the Existence of a "Gravitational Vortex" Around a Black Hole

Using data from XMM-Newton and NuSTAR, astronomers have proved the existence of a “gravitational vortex” around a black hole. This new discovery, aided by NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission, solves a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years, and will allow them to map the behavior of matter very close […]

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