Astrophysics News

Astronomers Discover a Cosmic Particle Accelerator in Abell 3411 and 3412

January 13, 2017

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Astronomers Discover Powerful Cosmic Double Whammy

Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other telescopes, a team of astronomers has discovered a cosmic one-two punch unlike any ever seen before. The phenomena occurred in a pair of colliding galaxy clusters called Abell 3411 and Abell 3412. This result shows that an eruption from a supermassive black hole combined with […]

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Astronomers Discover Giant Halos Around Early Galaxies

January 12, 2017

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Photons Struggle to Escape Distant Galaxies

Using the Isaac Newton Telescope, a team of astronomers has discovered giant halos of photons around early Milky Way type galaxies. In order to understand how our own Milky Way galaxy formed and evolved, astronomers rely on observing distant galaxies. As their light takes billions of years to reach us, telescopes can be used as […]

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UCLA Study Shows the Moon is Older Than Previously Thought

January 12, 2017

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Study Shows the Moon is Older Than Prevoiusly Thought

By analyzing minerals brought back by the 1971 Apollo mission, a new study from UCLA shows that the moon is 40 million to 140 million years older than scientists previously thought. A UCLA-led research team reports that the moon is at least 4.51 billion years old, or 40 million to 140 million years older than […]

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Astronomers Identify the Home Galaxy of a Fast Radio Burst

January 11, 2017

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Galaxy of a Fast Radio Burst Identified

For the first time, a team of astronomers has pinpointed the location of a “fast radio burst” and have used this to identify its home galaxy. The galaxy, located over 3 billion light years away, is small, a so-called dwarf galaxy, and very different to our own Milky Way. Also, a persistent, compact radio source […]

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Astronomers Reveal Farthest Stars in Milky Way Were Ripped from Another Galaxy

January 11, 2017

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Farthest Stars in Milky Way Might Be Ripped from Another Galaxy

New research reveals that five of the 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy were ripped from another galaxy – the Sagittarius dwarf. The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way’s spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those […]

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Hubble Detects ‘Exocomets’ Plunging Into Young Star HD 172555

January 10, 2017

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Hubble Reveals Exocomets Plunging into a Young Star

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered comets plunging into young star HD 172555, which resides 95 light-years from Earth. The exocomets — comets outside our solar system — were not directly seen around the star, but their presence was inferred by detecting gas that is likely the vaporized remnants of their icy nuclei. HD 172555 […]

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Astronomers Reveal Powerful Outflows in Ultraluminous Galaxies

January 10, 2017

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Molecular Outflows in Local ULIRGs

A new study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics finds that ultra-luminous galaxies can expel as much as a thousand solar-masses per year. Galaxies evolve over billions of years in part through the activity of star formation and their supermassive nuclear black holes, and also by mergers with other galaxies. Some features of galaxies, in […]

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Hubble Views Shadow Caused by Possible Planet Encircling TW Hydrae

January 9, 2017

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Hubble Views 'Shadow Play' Caused by Possible Planet

A team of astronomers view a shadow sweeping around a gas-and-dust disk encircling the young star TW Hydrae. Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They’re so small and faint that it’s hard to spot them. But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a […]

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Chandra’s Newest Image Reveals Black Hole Treasure Trove

January 5, 2017

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Chandra Deep Field South Deepest X-ray Image Ever Reveals Black Hole Treasure Trove

An unparalleled image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory gives astronomers the best look yet at the growth of black holes over billions of years beginning soon after the Big Bang. This is the deepest X-ray image ever obtained, made with over 7 million seconds of observing time with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. These data give […]

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Astronomers Determine Orbit of Proxima Centauri

December 29, 2016

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Orbit of Proxima Centauri Determined After 100 Years

Using ESO’s planet-hunting HARPS instrument, astronomers have the strongest evidence to date that Proxima Centauri orbits Alpha Centauri A and B. Interest in our neighboring Alpha Centauri star system has been particularly high since the recent discovery of an Earth-mass planet, known as Proxima b, orbiting the system’s third star — and the closest star […]

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Band 5 Receivers Improve ALMA’s Ability to Search for Water in the Universe

December 29, 2016

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ALMA’s Ability to Search for Water in the Universe Improved

With the newly installed Band 5 receivers, ALMA has now opened its eyes to a whole new section of this radio spectrum, creating exciting new observational possibilities and improving the telescope’s ability to search for water in the Universe. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has begun observing in a new range of […]

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Astronomers Release the Largest Digital Sky Survey

December 27, 2016

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Pan-STARRS Releases Largest Digital Sky Survey

The Pan-STARRS project is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). “The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Dr. Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has […]

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A New Approach to Detecting Earth-Like Worlds

December 26, 2016

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Searching a Sea of ‘Noise’ to Find Exoplanets

Researchers from Yale University have developed a new approach to detect distant planets and refine the search for worlds similar to Earth. The new approach, outlined in a study published December 20 in The Astronomical Journal, relies on mathematical methods that have their foundations in physics research. Rather than trying to filter out the signal […]

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Hubble Views Two Festive-Looking Emission Nebulae

December 26, 2016

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Festive Nebulae Light Up Milky Way Galaxy Satellite

The Hubble Space Telescope captured two festive-looking emission nebulae conjoined so they appear as one. The sheer observing power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is rarely better illustrated than in an image such as this. This glowing pink nebula, named NGC 248, is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, just under 200,000 light-years away […]

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Statistical Analysis Shows Unexpected Interaction Between Dark Matter and Ordinary Matter

December 15, 2016

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Statistical Analysis Shows an Unexpected Interaction Between Dark Matter and Ordinary Matter

A newly published statistical analysis of mini-spiral galaxies shows an unexpected interaction between dark matter and ordinary matter. The research shows that where the relationship is obvious and cannot be explained in a trivial way within the context of the Standard Model, these objects may serve as “portals” to a completely new form of Physics […]

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Hubble Reveals a Black Hole Ripping Apart a Passing Star

December 12, 2016

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Spinning Black Hole Swallowing Star Explains Superluminous Event

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers reveal a rapidly spinning black hole ripping apart a passing star that came too close. An extraordinarily brilliant point of light seen in a distant galaxy, and dubbed ASASSN-15lh, was thought to be the brightest supernova ever seen. But new observations from several observatories, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space […]

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Kepler Reveals Solar-Like Oscillations in Other Stars

December 9, 2016

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Asteroseismology of the Hyades with K2

Using the refurbished Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers studied solar-like oscillations in the Hyades open star cluster in Taurus. Our Sun vibrates due to pressure waves generated by turbulence in its upper layers (the layers dominated by convective gas motions). Helioseismology is the name given to the study of these oscillations, which can shed light on […]

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Distant Galaxy SPT 0346-52 Churning Out Stars at Remarkable Rate

December 8, 2016

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SPT 0346-52 Distant Galaxy Churning Out Stars at Remarkable Rate

Using several telescopes including Chandra, astronomers have shown that a galaxy in the early Universe called SPT0346-52 is undergoing an extraordinary burst of star formation. The absence of X-rays from Chandra shows that there is no actively growing, supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy. This means that the rate amount of infrared […]

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