Astrophysics News

Astronomers Discover Two Distinct Families of Exocomets Around Beta Pictoris

October 24, 2014

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Tthe Most Complete Census of Comets Around Another Star

Astronomers make the most complete census of comets around another star, revealing that individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris belong to two distinct families of exocomets. The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. A French […]

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NASA Maps of Titan Reveal Large Patches of Trace Gases

October 24, 2014

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New Maps of Saturn's Moon Titan Reveal Large Patches of Trace Gases

Researchers investigating the chemical make-up of Titan’s atmosphere have discovered large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles Saturn’s moon Titan. New maps of Saturn’s moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to […]

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Astronomers Create 3D Map of the Distant Universe

October 24, 2014

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A 3D Map of the Adolescent Universe

Using a new technique similar to x-ray computer-tomographic imaging, a team of astronomers has created the first three-dimensional map of the adolescent Universe – just 3 billion years after the Big Bang. Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice […]

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Small-Scale Jets from the Solar Chromosphere Are Possible Sources of the Solar Wind

October 22, 2014

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Astronomers Detect Sources of the Solar Wind

In a newly published study, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveal the detection of intermittent, small-scale jets from the solar chromosphere and their possible contribution to the stellar wind. The solar chromosphere is the region between the Sun’s surface and its hot, million-degree corona. Within this complex interface zone, only a few thousand […]

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Fermi Detects Hints of Starquakes in Magnetar ‘Storm’

October 22, 2014

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Fermi Discovers Signs of Starquakes in Magnetar Storm

Using data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered underlying signals related to the rapid-fire “storm” of high-energy blasts detected in 2009 from a highly magnetized neutron star. Such signals were first identified during the fadeout of rare giant flares produced by magnetars. Over the past 40 years, giant flares have been observed […]

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Research Shows Black Holes Can Block the Formation of New Stars

October 21, 2014

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Study Reveals Black Holes Can Block the Formation of New Stars

A new study from Johns Hopkins University reveals that massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, providing crucial new evidence that it is these jets of “radio-frequency feedback” streaming from mature galaxies’ central black holes that prevent hot free gas from cooling and […]

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New Optical Device to Speed the Search for Earth-Like Exoplanets

October 21, 2014

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New Optical Device Should Speed the Search for Earth-Like Exoplanets

A new laser-based technology known as the green astro-comb will allow astronomers to determine whether distant exoplanets they discover are rocky Earth-like worlds or less dense gas giants like Jupiter. Astronomers Chih-Hao Li and David Phillips of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics want to rediscover Venus—that familiar, nearby planet stargazers can see with the naked […]

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Scientists Simulate Astrophysical Jets

October 20, 2014

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Cosmic Jets of Young Stars Formed by Magnetic Fields

Using laser light and intense magnetic fields, an international team of scientists has simulated astrophysical jets in a laboratory environment for the first time. Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe’s most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. Now, […]

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Astronomers Discover New Clues to the Mystery of Coronal Heating

October 20, 2014

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Tiny Nanoflares Heat the Sun's Corona

Using observations from the recently launched Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, astronomers found new clues to the mystery of coronal heating. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Why is the Sun’s million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun’s surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a team led by Paola Testa of the […]

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Hubble Finds Small Galaxy More Than 13 Billion Light-Years Away

October 17, 2014

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Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy More Than 13 Billion Light Years Away

Using the gravitational lensing power of galaxy cluster Abell 2744, Hubble has detected one of the farthest, faintest, and smallest galaxies ever seen. The small galaxy is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away. This galaxy offers a peek back to the very early formative years of the universe and may just be […]

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Mysterious Signal – A Potential Indication of Dark Matter

October 16, 2014

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Mysterious Signal Sheds Light on Dark Matter Evidence of Axions

New research from the University of Leicester provides the first potential indication of the direct detection of Dark Matter. Space scientists at the University of Leicester have detected a curious signal in the X-ray sky – one that provides a tantalizing insight into the nature of mysterious Dark Matter. The Leicester team has found what […]

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Slow-Growing Galaxies Help Reveal How the Very First Stars in Our Universe Formed

October 16, 2014

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Study Measures Rates at which Galaxies Sextans A and ESO 146-G14 Create Stars

Using data from the Herschel mission, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, astronomers make some of the most accurate measurements yet of the rates at which small, sluggish galaxies create stars. What makes one rose bush blossom with flowers, while another remains barren? Astronomers ask a similar question of galaxies, wondering how […]

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