Astrophysics News

Transforming Mini-Neptunes into Habitable Super-Earths

January 29, 2015

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Transforming Mini-Neptunes into Super-Earths

A new study from the University of Washington details how strong irradiation from the host star can cause planets known as mini-Neptunes in the habitable zone to shed their gaseous envelopes and become potentially habitable worlds. Two phenomena known to inhibit the potential habitability of planets — tidal forces and vigorous stellar activity — might […]

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Titan Exposed to the Full Force of the Solar Wind

January 29, 2015

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Cassini Views Titan Fully Exposed to Solar Wind

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has observed Titan in the supersonic and super-Alfvénic solar wind, revealing that Titan’s interaction with the solar wind is in many ways similar to unmagnetized planets Mars and Venus and active comets in spite of the differences in the properties of the solar plasma in the outer solar system. Titan is large […]

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New VLT Image of Cometary Globule CG4

January 28, 2015

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Cometary Globule CG4

This newly released image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows cometary globule CG4, which is located about 1300 light-years from Earth. Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Although it appears to be big and bright in this […]

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A New Way to Detect the Early Stages of Massive Star Formation

January 28, 2015

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Citizen Scientists Find Mystery Objects in Space

Using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, volunteers discovered a new way to detect the early stages of massive star formation. Sometimes it takes a village to find new and unusual objects in space. Volunteers scanning tens of thousands of starry images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, using the Web-based Milky Way Project, recently stumbled […]

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HESS Discovers New Gamma Ray Sources in Large Magellanic Cloud

January 27, 2015

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New Gamma Ray Sources Discovered in Large Magellanic Cloud

The H.E.S.S. telescope system has discovered three extremely luminous gamma-ray sources in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Once again, the gamma ray observatory H.E.S.S. has demonstrated its detecting capabilities: in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the High Energy Stereoscopic System discovered most luminous high-energy gamma-ray sources. These are three objects of different type: a powerful pulsar wind […]

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Ring System Around J1407b is Roughly 200 Times Larger Than Saturn’s Rings

January 27, 2015

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Gigantic Ring System Larger Than Saturn’s

A new study from astronomers at the Leiden Observatory reveals details about the gigantic ring system around J1407b. Astronomers at the Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, and the University of Rochester, USA, have discovered that the ring system that they see eclipse the very young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions, much larger and heavier […]

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Kepler-444: An Ancient Extrasolar System with Five Sub-Earth-Size Planets

January 27, 2015

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Astronomers Discover an Ancient Extrasolar System with Five Sub-Earth-Size Planets

Using data from the Kepler spacecraft, astronomers have discovered a compact system of five transiting planets with sizes between those of Mercury and Venus. They validate this system as a true five-planet system orbiting the target star and provide a detailed characterization of its planetary and orbital parameters based on an analysis of the transit […]

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Research Shows a Significant Increase in the Amount of Water “Pouring” Out of Comet 67P

January 26, 2015

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Rosetta Comet Pouring More Water Into Space

Data from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft revelas that there has been a significant increase in the amount of water “pouring” out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet on which the Rosetta mission’s Philae lander touched down in November 2014. There has been a significant increase in the amount of water “pouring” out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet […]

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CID-42: A Recoiling, Supermassive Black Hole?

January 23, 2015

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CID-42 A Recoiling Black Hole

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics provides new insights from deep VLA data on the potentially recoiling black hole CID-42 in the COSMOS field. When galaxies collide, the central supermassive black holes that reside at their cores will end up orbiting one another in a binary pair, at least according to current simulations. […]

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Evidence of Weibel-Generated Magnetic Fields

January 22, 2015

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Scientists Peer into Cosmic Magnetic Fields

Using a proton probe to directly image electromagnetic fields, scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory present evidence of Weibel-generated magnetic fields that grow in opposing, initially unmagnetized plasma flows from laser-driven laboratory experiments. The generation of cosmic magnetic fields has long intrigued astrophysicists. Since it was first described in 1959, a phenomenon known as […]

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Yale Astronomers Identify the First “Changing Look” Quasar

January 22, 2015

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Black Hole Creates Changing Look Quasar

A team of astronomers from Yale University have identified the first “changing look” quasar, a gleaming object in deep space that appears to have its own dimmer switch. The discovery may offer a glimpse into the life story of the universe’s great beacons. Quasars are massive, luminous objects that draw their energy from black holes. […]

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Milky Way Could Be a “Galactic Transport System”

January 21, 2015

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Milky Way Could Be a Giant Wormhole

A newly published theory reveals that the Milky Way could contain a space-time tunnel, and that the tunnel could even be the size of the galaxy itself. Based on the latest evidence and theories our galaxy could be a huge wormhole (or space-time tunnel, have you seen “Interstellar?”) and, if that were true, it would […]

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Magnetic Fields in Dark Clouds Help Form Massive Stars

January 20, 2015

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Astronomers Observe Polarized Dust Emission of Two Dark Clouds

A new study shows for the first time that high magnetization sets the stage for the formation of massive stars with 8 solar masses or more. Magnetic fields in massive dark clouds are strong enough to support the regions against collapse due to their own gravity. A study lead by researchers at the Max Planck […]

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A Significant Step Towards Explaining the Cosmic Origins of the Seeds of Galaxies

January 16, 2015

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3D Simulation Shows Small Protostellar-Like Core Can Grow into a Supermassive Black Hole

In a new study, astronomers from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics found that a small protostellar-like core of only 0.1 solar-masses can develop in only a few years from a suitable environment and then can grow into a supermassive black hole in only millions of years. Supermassive black holes with millions or billions of solar-masses of […]

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Astrophysicists Believe There Are More Planets in Our Solar System

January 15, 2015

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New Research Suggests That There Are More Planets in Our Solar System

Numerical calculations made by researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge reveal that there could be at least two unknown planets hidden well beyond Pluto. If confirmed, this hypothesis would revolutionize solar system models. Astronomers have spent decades debating whether some dark trans-Plutonian planet remains to be discovered within the […]

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New Exoplanet-Hunting Facility (NGTS) Achieves First Light

January 14, 2015

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New Exoplanet-Hunting Telescopes

The Next-Generation Transit Survey has achieved first light and will focus on discovering Neptune-sized and smaller planets, with diameters between two and eight times that of Earth. The Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is a wide-field observing system made up of an array of twelve telescopes, each with an aperture of 20 centimeters [1]. This new […]

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Understanding the Gravitational Evolution of Dark Matter Halos

January 13, 2015

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Decoding the Gravitational Evolution of Dark Matter Halos

A newly published study allows the distribution of dark matter halos to be more accurately predicted by using a detailed comparison between theory and simulations. Researchers at Kavli IPMU and their collaborators have revealed that considering environmental effects such as a gravitational tidal force spread over a scale much larger than a galaxy cluster is […]

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