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Astronomy news. New! Earth-like extrasolar planet found; double helix nebula; supermassive black holes, astronomy articles, astronomy pictures. Updated daily.
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MUSE probes uncharted depths of Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 9:02am
Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile have conducted the deepest spectroscopic survey ever. They focused on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, measuring distances and properties of 1600 very faint galaxies including 72 galaxies that have never been detected before. This wealth of new information is giving astronomers insight into star formation in the early Universe.

Why is massive star formation quenched in galaxy centers?

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:33pm
A new study proposes that one of the reasons that slows down the rate at which massive stars form in galaxies is the existence of relatively large magnetic fields. Research has revealed that this process occurs around the center of the galaxy NGC 1097.

Infant stars found surprisingly near galaxy's supermassive black hole

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:32pm
ALMA has revealed the telltale signs of eleven low-mass stars forming perilously close -- within three light-years -- to the Milky Way's supermassive black hole.

First proper motions measured of stars in a small galaxy outside the Milky Way

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 12:47pm
By combining data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia mission, astronomers have been able to measure the proper motion of 15 stars in the Sculptor Galaxy, the first such measurement outside the Milky Way. Analysis shows an unexpected preference in the direction of movement, which suggests that the standard theoretical models used to describe the motion of stars and dark matter halos in other galaxies might be invalid.

All missions on board for NASA heliophysics research

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 12:47pm
Scientists have been studying the near-Earth environment for the better part of a century, but many mysteries -- like where the energetic particles that pervade the area originate and become energized -- still remain. In a new type of collaborative study, scientists combined data from 16 separate NASA and Los Alamos National Laboratory spacecraft to understand how a particle phenomenon in the magnetic environment around Earth occurs. These events, called substorms, can cause auroras, disrupt GPS communications and, at their most intense, damage power grids.

Earthworms can reproduce in Mars soil simulant

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 9:15am
Two young worms are the first offspring in a Mars soil experiment. A biologist found them in a Mars soil simulant that he obtained from NASA. At the start he only added adult worms. The experiments are crucial in the study that aims to determine whether people can keep themselves alive at the red planet by growing their own crops on Mars soils.

How the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 1:13pm
For the first time, a science experiment has measured Earth's ability to absorb neutrinos -- the smaller-than-an-atom particles that zoom throughout space and through us by the trillions every second at nearly the speed of light. The experiment was achieved with the IceCube detector, an array of 5,160 basketball-sized sensors frozen deep within a cubic kilometer of very clear ice near the South Pole.

Frictional heat powers hydrothermal activity on Enceladus

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 12:59pm
A computer simulation shows how icy moon heats water in a porous rock core. This study also offers among others an answer to the long-standing question of where the energy that can support water in liquid form on a small, cryovulcanic moon far from the sun comes from.

Dark matter and dark energy: Do they really exist?

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 11:30am
Researchers have hypothesized that the universe contains a 'dark matter.' They have also posited the existence of a 'dark energy.' These two hypotheses account for the movement of stars in galaxies and for the accelerating expansion of the universe. But, according to a researcher, these concepts may be no longer valid: the phenomena can be demonstrated without them. This research exploits a new theoretical model based on the scale invariance of the empty space.

Unexpected atmospheric vortex behavior on Saturn's moon Titan

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:15pm
Recently reported unexpected behavior on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is due to its unique atmospheric chemistry. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, is bigger than the planet Mercury, and is the only moon in our solar system to have a substantial atmosphere.

Astronomers reveal nearby stars that are among the oldest in our galaxy

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 2:14pm
Astronomers have discovered some of the oldest stars in our Milky Way galaxy by determining their locations and velocities.

First interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 12:09pm
For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object.

Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 11:13am
Life on Earth might have originated from tiny organisms brought to our planet in streams of fast-moving space dust, according to a new study.

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.