Astrophysics News

Astronomers Reveal Colliding Galaxy Clusters

December 2, 2016

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Galaxy 3C438

A team of astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have concluded that the hot gas in the cluster around galaxy 3C438 is the result of a collision between two clusters of galaxies. Galaxy clusters contain a few to thousands of galaxies and are the largest bound structures in the Universe. Most galaxies are members […]

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Astronomers Reveal Potential Localized Dust Enrichment from Massive Star Clusters

December 1, 2016

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ALMA Reveals Potential Localized Dust Enrichment from Massive Star Clusters in II Zw 40

New observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array are helping to confirm a long-standing theory that stars are copious producers of heavy elements. Galaxies are often thought of as sparkling with stars, but they also contain gas and dust. Now, a team led by UCLA astronomers has used new data to show that stars are […]

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VLT Observations Reveal First Signs of a Strange Quantum Effect

November 30, 2016

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First Signs of Weird Quantum Property of Empty Space?

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarization of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence. A team led by Roberto Mignani from […]

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NASA’s Chandra Views a Stellar Circle of Life, Cygnus X-3

November 28, 2016

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Chandra Views a Stellar Circle of Life

A newly published study reveals that the supernova explosion that formed either the black hole or neutron star in Cygnus X-3 kicked the binary system away from its original birthplace, estimating that Cygnus X-3 must have been thrown out at speeds between 400,000 and 2 million miles per hour. A snapshot of the stellar life […]

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No Change in Global Star Formation Process

November 18, 2016

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Star Formation in the Early Universe

New research of the gas content in galaxies so distant their light has been traveling for about ten billion years suggests that the processes converting gas into stars is about the same back then as in the local universe. The first stars appeared about one hundred million years after the big bang, and ever since […]

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Astronomers Measure Kepler 11145123 with Unprecedented Precision

November 17, 2016

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Astronomers Measure the Shape of Kepler 11145123

In a newly published study, scientists from the Max Planck Institute and the University of Göttingen measure the shape of Kepler 11145123 with unprecedented precision. Stars are not perfect spheres. While they rotate, they become flat due to the centrifugal force. A team of researchers around Laurent Gizon from the Max Planck Institute for Solar […]

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NASA’s SOFIA Set To Study New Frontiers in the Solar System and Beyond

November 16, 2016

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SOFIA Observatory Expanding New Frontiers in the Solar System and Beyond

NASA’s SOFIA flying Observatory set to study planets, comets and asteroids orbiting other stars and supermassive black holes. NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, will soon be studying Neptune’s giant moon, Triton, and following-up on Hubble’s recent sighting of water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa. According to recently completed plans for the 2017 observing […]

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GASS 3505: A Hydrogen Rich, Passive Galaxy

November 15, 2016

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Hydrogen Rich Passive Galaxy GASS-3505

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that the star formation in GASS 3505 is very weak, less than about 0.1 solar-masses per year. Cold gas in the form of neutral hydrogen atoms provides the reservoir for star formation in galaxies from the distant to the nearby Universe. Understanding how it accretes onto […]

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Astronomers Explain Mysterious Dimming of Markarian 1018

November 10, 2016

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Markarian 1018 Black Hole Dims Brilliant Galaxy

By combining data from Chandra, VLT and several other telescopes, astronomers reveal that the dimming of Markarian 1018 arises from the black hole at the center being deprived of enough fuel to illuminate its surroundings. Astronomers may have solved the mystery of the peculiar volatile behavior of a supermassive black hole at the center of […]

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Spitzer and Swift Observe Microlensing Event, Pinpoint Brown Dwarf

November 10, 2016

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NASA Pinpoints Elusive Brown Dwarf

Using NASA’s Spitzer and Swift Space Telescopes, astronomers discovered a brown dwarf when it and its star passed between Earth and a much more distant star in our galaxy. This passing created a microlensing event, where the gravity of the system amplified the light of the background star over the course of several weeks. In […]

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ESO Views Protoplanetary Discs Being Shaped by Newborn Planets

November 9, 2016

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ESO’s SPHERE Instrument Reveals Protoplanetary Discs Being Shaped by Newborn Planets

Using data from the SPHERE instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers reveal protoplanetary discs being shaped by newborn planets. Sharp new observations have revealed striking features in planet-forming discs around young stars. The SPHERE instrument, mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has made it possible to observe the complex dynamics of young solar […]

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Astronomers Study the Pulsar Wind Nebula Created by PSR B0355+54

November 7, 2016

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Pulsar Wind Nebulae

A team of astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has modeled the detailed shape of the pulsar wind nebula created by PSR B0355+54. Neutron stars are the detritus of supernova explosions, with masses between one and several suns and diameters only tens of kilometers across. A pulsar is a spinning neutron star with a […]

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Astronomers Discover a”Nearly Naked” Supermassive Black Hole

November 3, 2016

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Researchers Discover a Nearly Naked Supermassive Black Hole

Using the Very Long Baseline Array a team of astronomers has discovered the shredded remains of a galaxy that passed through a larger galaxy, leaving only the smaller galaxy’s nearly-naked supermassive black hole to emerge and speed away at more than 2,000 miles per second. The galaxies are part of a cluster of galaxies more […]

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Slow-Blue Nuclear Hypervariables in PanSTARRS-1

November 1, 2016

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Nuclear Hypervariables in PanSTARRS-1

Astronomers have used a sky survey to identify a class of blue, hypervariable galaxies; the origin of the variability is uncertain but might in some cases be due to microlensing. Extreme variability in the intensity of the optical light of galaxies, by factors of two or more, is of great interest to astronomers. It can […]

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Astronomers Discover a Young Triple Protostar System

October 27, 2016

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A Triple Protostar System

A team of astronomers has seen a dusty disk of material around a young star fragmenting into a multiple-star system for the first time. Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array revealed the process in action. “This new work directly supports the conclusion that there are two […]

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Astronomers Find Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars

October 26, 2016

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Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars Discovered

A new survey by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope indicates that halos around quasars are far more common than expected. The properties of the halos in this surprising find are also in striking disagreement with currently accepted theories of galaxy formation in the early Universe. An international collaboration of astronomers, led by […]

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Astronomers Discover Potential New Hunting Ground for Exoplanets

October 24, 2016

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NASA, Citizen Scientists Discover Potential New Hunting Ground for Exoplanets

A group of citizen scientists and professional astronomers have discovered a star surrounded by the oldest known circumstellar disk — a primordial ring of gas and dust that orbits around a young star and from which planets can form as the material collides and aggregates. Led by Steven Silverberg of University of Oklahoma, the team […]

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Astronomers Reveal That Uranus May Have Two Undiscovered Moons

October 21, 2016

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New Study Suggests Uranus May Have Two Undiscovered Moons

New research suggests that there could be two previously undiscovered moonlets orbiting near Uranus’ rings. Rob Chancia, a University of Idaho doctoral student, spotted key patterns in the rings while examining decades-old images of Uranus’ icy rings taken by Voyager 2 in 1986. He noticed the amount of ring material on the edge of the […]

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