Astrophysics News

Early Chemistry of a Star’s Protoplanetary Disc Shapes Life-Friendly Atmospheres

April 23, 2014

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A new study reveals that the chemistry of a star’s protoplanetary disc could influence the later composition of planetary atmospheres. Born in a disc of gas and rubble, planets eventually come together as larger and larger pieces of dust and rock stick together. They may be hundreds of light-years away from us, but astronomers can […]

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Astronomers Reveal Relationship Between the Color of a Galaxy and the Size of Its Bulge

April 22, 2014

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Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to group together over half a million galaxies of all different colors, shapes, and masses, new research reveals a relatively simple relationship between the color of a galaxy and the size of its bulge – the more massive the bulge the redder the galaxy. The universe we […]

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Researchers Reveal New Method for Studying Binary Star Systems

April 22, 2014

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Using data from the Kepler spacecraft, researchers from the University of Washington confirm the first “self-lensing” binary star system. What looked at first like a sort of upside-down planet has instead revealed a new method for studying binary star systems, discovered by a University of Washington student astronomer. Working with UW astronomer Eric Agol, doctoral […]

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Nearly Completed VPHAS+ Catalog to Include 300 Million Stars

April 18, 2014

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Nearly completed, the VPHAS+ catalog will include stars and nebulae that are as much as 1500 times fainter than the ones in the older catalog, as well as much improved images of all objects. Atomic hydrogen is the lightest and by far most abundant element in the universe. When it is exposed to ultraviolet light, […]

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Kepler Discovers Earth-Size Planet Orbiting a Star in the ‘Habitable Zone’

April 18, 2014

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Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone,” confirming that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other stars and signaling a significant step closer to finding a world similar to Earth. Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in […]

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Scientists Reveal Neutron Star Glitches Have a Minimum Size

April 17, 2014

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New research reveals that sudden speed jumps in the rotational velocity of pulsars have a minimum size, and that they are caused not by the unpinning and displacement of just one sub-surface superfluid vortex, but by billions. A team of astronomers, including Danai Antonopoulou and Anna Watts from the Anton Pannekoek Institute of Astronomy (UvA), […]

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Supercomputers Help Researchers Understand Black Holes

April 15, 2014

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Using supercomputers like Stampede at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and Kraken at the National Institute for Computational Sciences, researchers try to predict and better understand the observational signatures of events like black holes devouring stars. Somewhere in the cosmos an ordinary galaxy spins, seemingly at slumber. Then all of a sudden, WHAM! A flash […]

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Researchers Develop Model to Reconstruct Spatial Structure of Molecule Clouds

April 11, 2014

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A team of astronomers from the Max Planck Institute and Monash University has developed a new model to reconstruct spatial structure of molecule clouds. Astronomers have found a new way of predicting the rate at which a molecular cloud – a stellar nursery – will form new stars. Using a novel technique to reconstruct a […]

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Astronomers Detect Dramatic Flow of Rapidly Moving Molecular Gas in Abell 1835

April 11, 2014

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Using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ALMA radio array, astronomers have detected a flow of about ten billion solar-masses of rapidly moving molecular gas in galaxy cluster Abell 1835. Galaxy clusters are groupings of several to thousands of galaxies. Most galaxies are members of a cluster. In our own case, the Milky Way is […]

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Supernova Remnant G352.7-0.1 Displays Several Unusual Properties

April 11, 2014

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Astronomers have discovered that supernova remnant G352.7-0.1 is sweeping up a remarkable amount of material as it expands, an amount equivalent to about 45 times the mass of the Sun. Supernovas are the spectacular ends to the lives of many massive stars. These explosions, which occur on average twice a century in the Milky Way, […]

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Researchers Discover the First Exomoon Candidate

April 11, 2014

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By using gravitational microlensing and taking advantage of chance alignments between stars, an international team of researchers has spotted the first signs of an exomoon. Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system’s pantheon of moons. Are there are other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun? NASA-funded […]

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Astronomers Make the Most Precise Measurement Yet of the Expanding Universe

April 8, 2014

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Using 140,000 distant quasars, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have made the most precise measurement to date of the expanding Universe. The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), pioneered the use of quasars to map density variations in intergalactic gas at high redshifts, […]

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