Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics News

Astronomers Detect Pluto-Size Objects around a Sun-Like Star

December 12, 2014

0 Comments

Astronomers Detect Pluto-Size Objects swarming Around an Adolescent Sun

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have detected Pluto-size objects around an adolescent Sun-like star. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Scientists used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to make detailed observations of the protoplanetary disk surrounding the star known as HD 107146, detecting an unexpected increase in the concentration […]

Continue reading...

Astronomers Detect Magnetic Fields on Solar-Type Stars

December 12, 2014

0 Comments

Astronomers Study the Magnetic Fields Stars

A team of astronomers that has just completed the most extensive polarization survey of stars to date, detecting magnetic fields on sixty-seven stars with twenty-one of them being classified as solar-type. That is about four times as many solar-type stars as had been previously classified. The Sun rotates slowly, about once every 24 days at […]

Continue reading...

New Observations Confirm Variability of Young Stellar Objects

December 5, 2014

0 Comments

Rho Ophiuchi

Using the Spitzer Space Telescope to monitor the variability of light from 882 previously identified young stellar objects, astronomers confirm that probably all YSOs are variable at infrared wavelengths to some degree, and moreover that the younger, more deeply embedded stars often have longer and larger intensity variations, consistent with the current disk evolution picture. […]

Continue reading...

Astronomers Develop a New Method to Evaluate the Turbulence of the Hot Intracluster Gas

December 1, 2014

0 Comments

New Method to Evaluate the Turbulence of the Hot Intracluster Gas

Using data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have pioneered a new method to evaluate the turbulence of the hot intracluster gas. Most galaxies lie in clusters, groupings of a few to many thousands of galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy itself is a member of the “Local Group,” a […]

Continue reading...

Astronomers Use Ground-Based Telescope to Measure Super-Earth Transit

December 1, 2014

0 Comments

Astronomers Measure Super-Earth Transit Using a Ground-Based Telescope

Using the 2.5-meter Nordic Optical Telescope, astronomers have measured transit of exoplanet 55 Cancri e – this is the first time that a super-Earth transit has been measured from a ground-based telescope. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Astronomers have measured the passing of a super-Earth in front of a bright, nearby Sun-like star using a ground-based telescope […]

Continue reading...

Scientists Use Meteorite to Measure Ancient Solar Nebula Magnetic Fields

November 21, 2014

0 Comments

Solar Nebula Magnetic Fields Recorded in the Semarkona Meteorite

Scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have succeeded in determining ancient solar nebula magnetic field strength by measuring the field recorded in chondrules from the Semarkona meteorite. Astronomical observations of young protostars indicate that early planetary systems evolved from the dust in a protoplanetary disk very quickly – in under five million years. Such […]

Continue reading...

The Future of Astrophysical Neutrino Measurements

November 17, 2014

0 Comments

The Future of Neutrino Cosmology

An international team of scientists has published an extensive report on the future of astrophysical neutrino measurements, discussing how facilities that measure the microwave background will in the next decade also enable scientists to study the nature of neutrinos, and lead to fundamental insights into the basic laws of nature. One of the most remarkable […]

Continue reading...

New Research Reveals the Role of Magnetic Fields in Star Formation

November 10, 2014

0 Comments

Scientists Reveal Role of Magnetic Fields in Star Formation

Using the Submillimeter Array to study the magnetic field in a massive star cluster, astronomers were able to determine the properties of the magnetic field and the role they play in star formation. Massive stars tend to form in clusters as the gas and dust in molecular clouds collapses and fragments under the influence of […]

Continue reading...

Heritage of Water Ice in the Solar System

November 3, 2014

0 Comments

Water in Our Solar System Derives in Large Part from Interstellar Water

New research from astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that water in our solar system almost certainly derives in large part from interstellar water, rather than forming locally, and that consequently other stellar systems would be expected to contain water as well. Water, the key ingredient for life, is not only abundant on […]

Continue reading...

Hinode Satellite Views Solar Eclipse

October 28, 2014

2 Comments

Satellite Captures Footage of Solar Eclipse

The Hinode satellite was able to capture x-ray footage of last week’s solar eclipse. Cambridge, Massachusetts – The moon passed between the Earth and the sun on Thursday, October 23. While avid stargazers in North America looked up to watch the spectacle, the best vantage point was several hundred miles above the North Pole. The […]

Continue reading...

Chandra Confirms Active Galactic Nuclei Downsizing

October 27, 2014

2 Comments

Modest AGN Tend to Peak Later in Cosmic History

A new study of 209 galaxies in the early universe with X-ray bright supermassive black holes reveals that more modest active galactic nuclei (AGN) tend to peak later in cosmic history, and that obscured and unobscured AGN evolve in similar ways. Supermassive black holes containing millions or even billions of solar-masses of material are found […]

Continue reading...

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

October 22, 2014

0 Comments

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 […]

Continue reading...

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

October 21, 2014

2 Comments

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 […]

Continue reading...

Astronomers Discover New Clues to the Mystery of Coronal Heating

October 20, 2014

0 Comments

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 […]

Continue reading...

Herschel Observations and Simulations of the Debris Disk Around Tau Ceti

October 14, 2014

0 Comments

Herschel Views the Debris Disc of Solar Analogue Tau Ceti

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics studied the debris disc around τ Ceti, revealing that a Jupiter-mass planet could not be present in this system – making it less than ideal as a Solar system analog. Although thousands of exoplanets and hundreds of planetary systems (stars with multiple exoplanets) are now known, astronomers still […]

Continue reading...