Astrophysics News

Astronomers Discover Super-Jupiter Exoplanet around an Evolved Star

May 26, 2015

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Astronomers Discover Kepler-432

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered two new giant exoplanets around an evolved star. There are 565 exoplanets currently known that are as massive as Jupiter or bigger, about one third of the total known, confirmed exoplanet population. About one quarter of the massive population orbits very close to its star, with […]

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Rare Quasar Quartet Reveals Massive Structure in Distant Universe

May 22, 2015

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Quasar Quartet Reveals Rare Massive Structure in Distant Universe

Astronomers have discovered four active black holes situated in close proximity to one another in the distant universe, surrounded by a giant nebula of cool dense gas. Using the W.M. Keck observatory in Hawaii, a group of astronomers led by Joseph Hennawi of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have discovered the first quadruple quasar: […]

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Hubble Uncovers New Clues about a Hefty, Rapidly Aging Star

May 22, 2015

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Hubble Observations of NaSt1

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. Nicknamed it “Nasty 1,” a play on its catalog name of NaSt1, the star may represent a brief transitory stage in the evolution […]

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Keck Spectroscopy Confirmation of Large, Diffuse Galaxies in the Coma Cluster

May 21, 2015

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Confirmation of the Existence of Large Diffuse Galaxies in the Coma Cluster

In a newly published study, astronomers detail the discovery of large, diffuse galaxies in the Coma Cluster. A fluffy galaxy is hard to find, but that didn’t stop a Yale astronomer and an international research team from identifying the fluffiest galaxies in the universe. These “ultra diffuse” galaxies are located about 300 million light years […]

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Kepler and Swift Capture Early Moments of Baby Supernovae

May 21, 2015

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NASA Views Early Moments of Baby Supernovae

NASA’s Kepler and Swift spacecraft provides new insight into what triggers a Type Ia supernova, allowing astronomers to better calibrate Type Ia supernovae as standard candles – which may eventually lead to a better understand the mysteries of dark energy. Astronomers are going gaga over newborn supernova measurements taken by NASA’s Kepler and Swift spacecraft, […]

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Evidence of a New Type of Star Cluster

May 18, 2015

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Evidence for a Dark Side to NGC5128

Using data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered a new class of “dark” globular star clusters around Centaurus A. These star clusters contain much more mass and may either harbor unexpected amounts of dark matter, or contain massive black holes. Globular star clusters are huge balls of thousands of stars that orbit most […]

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Hubble Reveals Diffusion of Stars Through the Core of the Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae

May 15, 2015

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Astronomers Measure the Rate of Diffusion of Stars Through the Core of the Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae

New images from the Hubble Space Telescope show for the first time snapshots of white dwarf stars beginning their 40-million-year migration from the crowded center of an ancient star cluster to the less populated suburbs. White dwarfs are the burned-out relics of stars that rapidly lose mass, cool down and shut off their nuclear furnaces. […]

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Strangulation is the Primary Mechanism for Star Formation Shut Down

May 14, 2015

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Strangulation Primary Mechanism for Galaxy Star Formation Shut Down

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, astronomers from the University of Cambridge detail why certain galaxies can longer produce stars. As murder mysteries go, it’s a big one: how do galaxies die and what kills them? A new study, published today in the journal Nature, has found that the primary cause of galactic […]

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Kepler Finds Evidence of Daily Weather Cycles on Exoplanets

May 13, 2015

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Kepler Finds Evidence of Weather Cycles on Exoplanets

Using Kepler data, researchers from the University of Toronto reveal evidence of daily weather cycles on six extra-solar planets. Toronto, Ontario – “Cloudy for the morning, turning to clear with scorching heat in the afternoon.” While this might describe a typical late-summer day in many places on Earth, it may also apply to planets outside […]

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LBT Reveals Lava Lake on Jupiter’s Moon Io

May 12, 2015

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LBT Reveals Lava Lake on Io

The Large Binocular Telescope provides the first detailed observations of a lava lake on Jupiter’s moon Io. With the first detailed observations of a lava lake on a moon of Jupiter, the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Arizona places itself as the forerunner of the next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes. The applied high-resolution imaging […]

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The Changing Frequency of Galaxy Collisions

May 11, 2015

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New Theoretical Framework for Calculating the Frequency of Galaxy Mergers

New research from the Illustris project examines the changing frequency of galaxy collisions, as the universe evolves from the big bang to the present day. Our knowledge of the big bang has increased dramatically in the past decade, as satellites and ground-based studies of the cosmic microwave background have refined parameters associated with the very […]

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Halo Around the Andromeda Galaxy is Larger Than Previously Thought

May 8, 2015

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Hubble Reveals Giant Halo Around the Andromeda Galaxy

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered that the immense halo of gas enveloping the Andromeda galaxy is about six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than previously thought. The dark, nearly invisible halo stretches about a million light-years from its host galaxy, halfway to our own Milky Way galaxy. This finding promises […]

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NASA’s NuSTAR Finds Evidence of a Lopsided Star Explosion

May 8, 2015

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Hubble Views Supernova 1987A

By mapping the radioisotope titanium-44, NASA’s NuStar reveals evidence of an asymmetrical explosion from supernova 1987A and helps to explain the mechanics of SN 1987A and of core-collapse supernovae in general. NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has found evidence that a massive star exploded in a lopsided fashion, sending ejected material flying in […]

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ALMA Discovers a Globular Cluster about to be Born

May 7, 2015

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First Known Example of a Globular Cluster about to be Born

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, astronomers have discovered what may be the first known example of a globular cluster about to be born. Globular clusters – dazzling agglomerations of up to a million ancient stars – are among the oldest objects in the universe. Though plentiful in and around many galaxies, newborn examples are […]

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Astrophysicists Examine the Possibility of Planets Forming around HL Tauri

May 6, 2015

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ALMA View of Protoplanetary Disc around HL Tauri

A newly published study examines the concentric gaps in the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star HL Tau, revealing the possibility of planets forming within the system. A recent and famous image from deep space marks the first time we’ve seen a forming planetary system, according to a study by University of Toronto astrophysicists. The […]

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Astronomers Discover the Farthest Galaxy to Date

May 6, 2015

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Hubble Discovers Distant Luminous Galaxy

An international team of astronomers has pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5% of its present age, revealing a galaxy that existed over 13 billion years ago. The team discovered an exceptionally luminous galaxy more than 13 billion years in the past and determined its […]

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Astrophysicists Show Water Could Have Been Abundant in the early Universe

May 4, 2015

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Water Could Have Been Abundant in the Early Universe

New theoretical work from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that water vapor could have been abundant in the early universe. Cambridge, Massachusetts – How soon after the Big Bang could water have existed? Not right away, because water molecules contain oxygen and oxygen had to be formed in the first stars. Then that oxygen […]

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