Astronomy & Space



Newfound exoplanet may turn to dust

A planet’s dust cloud may explain strange patterns of light from its star. Read >>

Water, organic molecules on Mercury

Mercury, where surface temperatures can reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit, would not be a likely spot to find water ice. James W. Head III, professor of geological sciences, calls Thursday’s news from NASA a stunning announcement Read >>

First-ever Hyperspectral Images of Earth’s Auroras: New camera provides tantalizing clues of new atmospheric phenomenon

The spectacular night-sky displays known as the Northern Lights just got more spectacular! The staff at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory, together with colleagues from Russia, Ukraine and Canada, has for the first time imaged Earth’s auroras with unprecedented clarity—simultaneously capturing multiple spectral bands of light at once. Read >>

Split-Personality Elliptical Galaxy Holds a Hidden Spiral

Most big galaxies fit into one of two camps: pinwheel-shaped spiral galaxies and blobby elliptical galaxies. Spirals like the Milky Way are hip and happening places, with plenty of gas and dust to birth new stars. Ellipticals are like cosmic retirement villages, full of aging residents in the form of red giant stars. Now, astronomers have discovered Read >>

The Wild Life of Aging Stars (and Planets): Leaving home, exchanging partners, and taking part in violent collisions

Scientists from Technion and the University of Colorado, Boulder have taken a closer look at how stars systems and their planets grow old together Read >>

Low-mass planets make good neighbours for debris discs

Astronomers using the Herschel Space Observatory have detected massive debris discs around two nearby stars hosting low-mass planets. The discovery suggests that debris discs may survive more easily in planetary systems without high-mass planets. Read >>

Innovative energy project set to use cosmic rays for monitoring

A research consortium involving Bath has won government and industry funding to develop a novel technique using cosmic rays for monitoring storage sites for carbon dioxide (CO2). Read >>

UCLA researchers find evidence for water ice deposits and organic material on Mercury

Planetary scientists have identified water ice and unusually dark deposits within permanently shadowed areas at Mercury's north pole. Read >>

New Black Hole Discovered in Our Galaxy

A tsunami of high-energy X-rays streaming toward Earth from a rare X-ray nova has revealed the presence of a previously unknown black hole located toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Read >>

First light from a super-Earth spotted

Detection reveals a searing planet. Read >>

The Great Space Coaster: Expansion of the Universe Now Measured in an Era before Dark Energy Takes Over

For the past five-billion years, the expansion of the universe has been powered by a mysterious repulsive force known as "dark energy." Now, thanks to a new technique for measuring the three-dimensional structure of the distant universe, scientists in an international team within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), including an astronomer at Penn State University, have made the first measurement of the rate of this cosmic expansion as it was just three-billion years after the Big Bang. Read >>

When Galaxies Eat Galaxies

Gravity Lenses Suggest Big Collisions Make Galaxies Denser Read >>

Armchair astronomers find planet in four-star system

A joint effort of citizen scientists and professional astronomers has led to the first reported case of a planet orbiting twin suns that in turn is orbited by a second distant pair of stars. Read >>

Waterloo researcher helps make new discoveries about black holes

For the first time, researchers have determined where the energetic jets of matter and radiation that some black holes emit originate and how their existence relies on the speed at which the black holes spin. Read >>

Opening new windows on the Universe

Advances in telescope technology being developed at Cambridge will drive a revolutionary period of discovery in astronomy. Read >>

Protoplanet Vesta: Forever young?

Like a movie star constantly retouching her makeup, the protoplanet Vesta is continually stirring its outermost layer and presenting a young face. Read >>

“Extremely little” telescope discovers pair of odd planets

A planet’s dust cloud may explain strange patterns of light from its star. Read >>

U-M astrophysicists help open eye of world's most powerful digital camera

The Dark Energy Camera, mounted on the Victor M. Blanco telescope in the mountains of northern Chile, has been called the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created, and the world's most powerful digital camera. Read >>

With some help from Stanford and SLAC, an orbiting telescope sees the universe's X-rays

A NASA orbiting telescope able to view the cosmos through the lens of hard X-rays has launched, and several members of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, a joint SLAC-Stanford effort, are eager to take in the sights. Read >>

Scientists 'hear a star scream as it gets devoured' by a lurking supermassive black hole

Led by researchers at the University of Michigan, the team documented the event with the Suzaku and XMM-Newton orbiting X-ray telescopes. These instruments picked up semi-regular blips in the light from a numerically-named galaxy 3.9 billion light years away in the northern constellation Draco the dragon. Read >>

Explosion of galaxy formation lit up early universe

New data from the South Pole Telescope indicates that the birth of the first massive galaxies that lit up the early universe was an explosive event, happening faster and ending sooner than suspected. Read >>

Plenty of dark matter near the Sun

Astronomers at the University of Zürich and the ETH Zürich, together with other international researchers, have found large amounts of invisible "dark matter" near the Sun. Read >>

McGill researcher helps NASA open a new window on the universe

Galactic Science Team Leader Victoria Kaspi ensures cutting-edge NuSTAR telescope points to the most exotic objects in the Milky Way Read >>

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope report the earliest spiral galaxy ever seen

This distant spiral galaxy is being observed as it existed roughly three billion years after the Big Bang, and light from this part of the universe has been traveling to Earth for about 10.7 billion years. Read >>

A far-off solar system

Researchers measure the orientation of a multiplanet system and find it very similar to our own solar system. Read >>

Solar Corona Revealed in Super-High-Definition

Today, astronomers are releasing the highest-resolution images ever taken of the Sun's corona, or million-degree outer atmosphere, in an extreme-ultraviolet wavelength of light. Read >>

Astronomers discover Houdini-like vanishing act in space

Astronomers report a baffling discovery never seen before: An extraordinary amount of dust around a nearby star has mysteriously disappeared. Read >>

Stanford professor oversees development of asteroid early-detection system

The Sentinel Space Telescope will map the approximately half million large asteroids that populate the inner solar system. The observations could be used to identify threats decades in advance of an impending collision. Read >>

1000 Days of Infrared Wonders

For the last 1000 days the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC), aboard NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, has been operating continuously to probe the universe from its most distant regions to our local solar neighborhood. Read >>

Hubble Reveals a New Type of Planet

Our solar system contains three types of planets: rocky, terrestrial worlds, gas giants, and ice giants. Observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have added a new type of planet to the mix. Read >>

Rogue stars ejected from the galaxy found in intergalactic space

Vanderbilt astronomers report in the May issue of the Astronomical Journal that they have identified a group of more than 675 stars on the outskirts of the Milky Way that they argue are hypervelocity stars that have been ejected from the galactic core. Read >>

You're beautiful, Vesta

NASA's UCLA-led Dawn mission shows protoplanet's surprising surface Read >>

New Cosmological Insights from the South Pole Telescope

Analysis of data from the 10-meter South Pole Telescope (SPT) is providing new support for the most widely accepted explanation of dark energy - the mysterious force that is responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe. Read >>

When Dark Energy Turned On

Astronomers announced today that they have made the most accurate measurement yet of galaxy distances in the faraway universe, giving an unprecedented look at the time when dark energy turned on. Read >>

Now, brought to the big screen by physicists at SLAC: the universe

Dramatic 3-D videos, created from actual data, show the origins of the universe. Now playing on screens at SLAC, as well as museums in San Francisco and New York. Read >>

A half-billion stars and galaxies from NASA’s WISE mission revealed — many for first time

A new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky with more than a half-billion stars, galaxies and other objects captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission was unveiled by NASA Wednesday. Read >>

Important Clue Uncovered for the Origins of a Type of Supernovae Explosion

Pitt team used Sloan Digital Sky Survey to determine that the merger of double white dwarfs is a plausible explanation for Type Ia supernovae Read >>

Researchers say galaxy may swarm with 'nomad planets'

Nomad planets don't circle stars, but may carry bacterial life, say researchers from Kavli Institute. Read >>

Fastest wind from stellar mass black hole discovered

The fastest wind ever discovered blowing off a disk around a stellar-mass black hole has been observed by a team of astronomers that includes a University of Michigan doctoral student. Read >>

Plasmas Torn Apart

Caltech researchers make discovery that hints at origin of phenomena like solar flares Read >>

New Computer Model Explains Lakes and Storms on Titan

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a computer model of Titan's atmosphere and methane cycle that, for the first time, explains many of these phenomena in a relatively simple and coherent way. Read >>

First Earth-Sized Planets Found

Astronomers using NASA's Kepler mission have detected two Earth-sized planets orbiting a distant star. Read >>

Disaster looms for gas cloud falling into Milky Way’s central black hole

The normally quiet neighborhood around the massive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is being invaded by a gas cloud that is destined in just a few years to be ripped, shredded and largely eaten. Read >>

Record massive black holes discovered lurking in monster galaxies

University of California, Berkeley, astronomers have discovered the largest black holes to date — two monsters with masses equivalent to 10 billion suns that are threatening to consume anything, even light, within a region five times the size of our solar system. Read >>

Caltech-Led Team of Astronomers Finds 18 New Planets

Discovery is the largest collection of confirmed planets around stars more massive than the sun Read >>

Strange New "Species" of Ultra-Red Galaxy Discovered

In the distant reaches of the universe, almost 13 billion light-years from Earth, a strange species of galaxy lay hidden. Read >>

Survey gives clues to origin of Type Ia supernovae

These stellar explosions helped astronomers conclude more than a decade ago that dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the universe Read >>

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