Astrophysics News

New Technique Analyzes Clouds Around Exoplanets

March 3, 2015

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New Technique Allows Analysis of Clouds around Exoplanets

Research from MIT details a new technique that analyzes data from NASA’s Kepler space observatory to determine the types of clouds on planets that orbit other stars. Meteorologists sometimes struggle to accurately predict the weather here on Earth, but now we can find out how cloudy it is on planets outside our solar system, thanks […]

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Astrophysicists Investigate Where Stars Form in Merging Galaxies

February 27, 2015

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The Spatial Extent of Induced Star Formation

Researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics simulated galaxy collisions under a wide range of conditions in order to investigate the question of where the induced star formation is located. Collisions between galaxies, and even less dramatic gravitational encounters between them, are recognized as triggering star formation. Observations of luminous galaxies, powered by starbursts, are […]

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First Time Solutions Provide New Insight in Black Hole Collisions

February 27, 2015

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New Insight Found in Black Hole Collisions

In a new study, astrophysicists provide for the first time solutions to decades-old equations that describe conditions as two black holes in a binary system orbit each other and spiral in toward a collision. New research by Dr. Michael Kesden, assistant professor of physics at UT Dallas, and his colleagues provides revelations about the most […]

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Astronomers Discover Ultraluminous Quasar with a 12 Billion Solar Mass Black Hole

February 26, 2015

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Researchers Discover Brightest Quasar in the Early Universe

A newly published study details the discovery of the brightest quasar in the early universe, powered by the most massive black hole yet known at that time. The international team led by astronomers from Peking University in China and from the University of Arizona announce their findings in the scientific journal Nature on Thursday. The […]

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A Possible Solution to the Mystery of the Origin of Matter in the Universe

February 26, 2015

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New Image of the Pillars of Creation

A new study from UCLA physicists offers a possible solution to the mystery of the origin of matter in the universe. Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of particles, or matter, and not antiparticles, or antimatter. That asymmetry, which favors matter to a very […]

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Chandra Discovers Intermediate-Mass Black Hole in Spiral Galaxy NGC 2276

February 26, 2015

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Astronomers Discover a New Object in Galaxy NGC 2276

Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered a newly cosmic object that may help provide answers to some long-standing questions about how black holes evolve and influence their surroundings. “In paleontology, the discovery of certain fossils can help scientists fill in the evolutionary gaps between different dinosaurs,” said Mar Mezcua of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center […]

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Nova Delphini 2013 Produces a Large Amount of Lithium

February 25, 2015

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Classical Nova Explosions are Major Lithium Factories in the Universe

Using the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS), a team of astronomers observed Nova Delphini 2013 and discovered that the outburst is producing a large amount of lithium. A team of astronomers from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Osaka Kyoiku University, Nagoya University, and Kyoto Sangyo University observed Nova Delphini 2013 (Figure 1, […]

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The Formation of a Quadruple Star System

February 20, 2015

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Astronomers View the Formation of a Quadruple Star System

Astronomers have discovered a nearby stellar nursery where quadruplets are being born. More than half of all stars are in multiple systems: binary stars, or even triplets or quadruplets, that orbit one another. No one is quite sure how or why they form, but the effects can be significant, for example influencing the character of […]

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NuSTAR and XMM-Newton Telescopes Give Shape to Black Hole Winds

February 20, 2015

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NuSTAR and XMM-Newton Telescopes Reveal Furious Black Hole Winds

Using NASA’s NuSTAR and ESA’s XMM-Newton telescopes astronomers have measured the strength of ultra-fast winds from a supermassive black hole, proving that the winds are powerful enough to inhibit the host galaxy’s ability to make new stars. NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds […]

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Dark Matter Influences Supermassive Black Hole Growth

February 19, 2015

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Dark Matter Guides Growth of Supermassive Black Holes

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the ROSAT X-ray satellite’s all-sky survey, researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics detail a distinct relationship between the mass of a dark matter halo and the mass of a black hole. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Every massive galaxy has a black hole at its center, and […]

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NASA’s Van Allen Probes Capture the Effects of a Solar Shockwave

February 19, 2015

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Van Allen Probes Capture the Effects of a Solar Shockwave

NASA’s Van Allen Probes have captured the effects of a solar shockwave on Earth’s radiation from beginning to end for the first time. On October 8, 2013, an explosion on the sun’s surface sent a supersonic blast wave of solar wind out into space. This shockwave tore past Mercury and Venus, blitzing by the moon […]

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The Closest Known Flyby of a Star to Our Solar System

February 18, 2015

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Astronomers Identify the Closest Known Flyby of a Star to Our Solar System

A newly published study from the University of Rochester details the closest known flyby of a star to our solar system – a dim star that passed through the Oort Cloud 70,000 years ago. A group of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile and South Africa have determined that 70,000 years ago a recently discovered […]

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Two Merging Stars Destined to Ignite a Vast Supernova Explosion

February 18, 2015

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Two White Dwarf Stars Destined to Merge

A newly published study reveals that two massive stars at the heart of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428 should merge in 700 million years, triggering a type Ia supernova event. Astronomers using ESO facilities in combination with telescopes in the Canary Islands have identified two surprisingly massive stars at the heart of the planetary nebula […]

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Disproving the Predicted Brown Dwarf around V471 Tau

February 18, 2015

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The SPHERE Instrument Attached to the VLT

Using the new extreme-AO instrument SPHERE, researchers image the prototype eclipsing post-common envelope binary V471 Tau in search of the brown dwarf that is believed to be responsible for variations in its eclipse arrival times. The new SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has been used to search for a brown dwarf expected to […]

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CfA Astronomers Examine the Dynamics of Collapsing Cores and Star Formation

February 16, 2015

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Study Reveals  Dynamics of Collapsing Cores and Star Formation

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics measures the velocity distribution of the gas in a pre-stellar core, revealing the dynamics of collapsing cores and star formation. Stars like the Sun begin their lives as cold, dense cores of dust and gas that gradually collapse under the influence of gravity until nuclear fusion is […]

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Astronomers Discover a Rare Planet, Kepler-432b

February 13, 2015

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Astronomers Discover Rare Planet

Astronomers have discovered a rare red planet that has the six times the mass of Jupiter, but is about the same size. Two research groups of Heidelberg astronomers have independently of each other discovered a rare planet. The celestial body, called Kepler-432b, is one of the most dense and massive planets known so far. The […]

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NASA’s Chandra Views Supernova Remnant G299

February 13, 2015

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Chandra Views Supernova Remnant G299

This new image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows supernova remnant G299.2-2.9. Because the debris fields of exploded stars, known as supernova remnants, are very hot, energetic, and glow brightly in X-ray light, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has proven to be a valuable tool in studying them. The supernova remnant called G299.2-2.9 (or G299 for […]

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