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Astronomy news. New! Earth-like extrasolar planet found; double helix nebula; supermassive black holes, astronomy articles, astronomy pictures. Updated daily.
Updated: 10 hours 42 min ago

Taking a spin on plasma space tornadoes with NASA observations

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 2:17pm
Tornado-like swirls of space plasma create tumultuous boundaries in the near-Earth environment, letting dangerous high-energy particles slip into near Earth space, new NASA mission results show.

Lava or not, exoplanet 55 Cancri e likely to have atmosphere

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 11:37am
Twice as big as Earth, the super-Earth 55 Cancri e was thought to have lava flows on its surface. Now, a new analysis finds this planet likely has an atmosphere whose ingredients could be similar to those of Earth's atmosphere, but thicker.

Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 1:09pm
The gas composition of a planet's atmosphere generally determines how much heat gets trapped in the atmosphere. For the dwarf planet Pluto, however, the predicted temperature based on the composition of its atmosphere was much higher than actual measurements taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. A new study proposes a novel cooling mechanism controlled by haze particles to account for Pluto's frigid atmosphere.

Listening for gravitational waves using pulsars

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 9:25am
When galaxies collide, their central black holes tend to spiral toward each other, releasing gravitational waves in their cosmic dance. To explore this uncharted area of gravitational wave science, researchers look a natural experiment in the sky called a pulsar timing array. Pulsars are dense remnants of dead stars that regularly emit beams of radio waves, which is why some call them "cosmic lighthouses."

Closest temperate world orbiting quiet star discovered

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 9:17am
A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the solar system by a team using ESO's unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life.

Zwicky Transient Facility sees 'first light'

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 3:55pm
A new robotic camera that can capture hundreds of thousands of stars and galaxies in a single shot has taken its first image -- an event astronomers refer to as 'first light.' The camera is the centerpiece of a new automated sky survey called the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF).

Gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes will be spotted within 10 years

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:36pm
New research predicts that gravitational waves generated by the merger of two supermassive black holes -- the strongest gravitational waves in the universe -- will be detected within 10 years. The study is the first to use real data, rather than computer simulations, to predict when such an observation will be made.

Duo of titanic galaxies captured in extreme starbursting merger

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:36pm
Astronomers have uncovered the never-before-seen close encounter between two astoundingly bright and spectacularly massive galaxies in the early universe.

Stellar explosions and cosmic 'recipe' for nearby universe

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:36pm
Thanks to an in-depth look into the composition of gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster, Japan's Hitomi mission has given scientists new insights into the stellar explosions that formed its chemical elements.

Anatomy of a cosmic snake reveals structure of distant galaxies

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:11am
We have a fair understanding of star formation, from the interstellar matter to the diffuse clouds whose gravitational contraction gives birth to stars. But observations of distant galaxies have questioned this picture, the size and mass of these distant stellar nurseries exceeding that of their local counterparts. Astrophysicists have tackled this inconsistency and found the first answers thanks to the observation of the cosmic snake.

Expanding light echo spotted around supernova

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 2:10pm
Hubble images reveal an expanding shell of light from a supernova explosion sweeping through interstellar space three years after the stellar blast was discovered. The "echoing" light looks like a ripple expanding on a pond. The supernova, called SN 2014J, was discovered on Jan. 21, 2014.

Dawn spacecraft explores dwarf planet Ceres' interior evolution

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 1:57pm
Surface features on Ceres -- the largest world between Mars and Jupiter -- and its interior evolution have a closer relationship than one might think. A recent study analyzed Ceres' surface features to reveal clues about the dwarf planet's interior evolution.

Astronomers discover a star that would not die

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 1:18pm
Astronomers have made a bizarre discovery; a star that refuses to stop shining.

Cosmos code helps probe space oddities

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:29pm
Cosmos code testbed helps develop new techniques for computational astrophysics. CosmosDG utilizes discontinuous Gelarkin methods, which improved accuracy over previous versions by several orders of magnitude.

Shocking results of galaxy-cluster collisions

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:28pm
Combining new images from the Very Large Array with X-Ray and visible-light images reveals the spectacular, energetic outcome when clusters of hundreds of galaxies each collide with each other.

Red giant star gives a surprising glimpse of the sun's future

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 9:28am
Astronomers have for the first time observed details on the surface of an aging star with the same mass as the sun. ALMA's images show that the star is a giant, its diameter twice the size of Earth's orbit around the sun, but also that the star's atmosphere is affected by powerful, unexpected shock waves.

One of the oldest objects in the universe observed

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 11:23am
Astronomers report that they have detected the second most distant dusty, star-forming galaxy ever found in the universe -- born in the first one billion years after the Big Bang. It is the oldest object ever detected by the LMT.

Forest of molecular signals in star forming galaxy

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 9:00am
Astronomers have found a rich molecular reservoir in the heart of an active star-forming galaxy with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Among eight clouds identified at the center of the galaxy NGC 253, one exhibits very complex chemical composition, while in the other clouds many signals are missing. This chemical richness and diversity shed light on the nature of the baby boom galaxy.

Next Mars rover will have 23 'eyes'

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:30pm
NASA's Mars 2020 mission will have more "eyes" than any rover before it: a grand total of 23, to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments. They will provide dramatic views during the rover's descent to the Red Planet.

First direct measurements of high energy electrons in space

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:58am
The CALET Cosmic Ray experiment has successfully carried out the high-precision measurement of cosmic-ray electron spectrum up to 3 tera electron volts (TeV) by using the CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) on the Japanese Experimental Module, the Exposed Facility on the International Space Station.