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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: 1 hour 51 sec ago

Scientists identify a black hole choking on stardust

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 2:38pm
Scientists using the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASASSN) have identified a black hole, choking on stardust. Data suggest black holes swallow stellar debris in bursts.

Relativistic electrons uncovered with NASA's Van Allen Probes

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:55pm
Earth's radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet, were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behavior is still not completely understood. Now, new observations from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission show that the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are not present as much of the time as previously thought.

Starquakes reveal surprises about birth of stars in our galaxy

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 2:14pm
A study of the internal sound waves created by starquakes, which make stars ring like a bell, has provided unprecedented insights into conditions in the turbulent gas clouds where stars were born 8 billion years ago.

Radiation from nearby galaxies helped fuel first monster black holes

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 1:50pm
Researchers have shown how supermassive black holes may have formed in the early universe. They suggest that radiation from a neighboring galaxy could have shut down star-formation in a black-hole hosting galaxy, allowing the nascent black hole to rapidly put on weight.

Star discovered whipping around a black hole twice an hour

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 1:49pm
Astronomers have found evidence for a star that whips around a black hole about twice an hour. This may be the tightest orbital dance ever witnessed for a black hole and a companion star.

Looking for signs of the first stars

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 11:06am
It may soon be possible to detect the universe's first stars by looking for the blue colour they emit on explosion.

NASA's Kepler provides another peek at ultra-cool neighbor

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 10:41am
On Feb. 22, astronomers announced that the ultra-cool dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, hosts a total of seven Earth-size planets that are likely rocky, a discovery made by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in combination with ground-based telescopes. NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope also has been observing this star since December 2016. Today these additional data about TRAPPIST-1 from Kepler are available to the scientific community.

NASA Mars Orbiter tracks back-to-back regional storms

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 10:36am
A regional dust storm currently swelling on Mars follows unusually closely on one that blossomed less than two weeks earlier and is now dissipating, as seen in daily global weather monitoring by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Cassini reveals strange shape of Saturn's moon Pan

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 10:32am
New images of Saturn's tiny moon, Pan, were taken on March 7, 2017, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. These images are the closest images ever taken of Pan and will help to characterize its shape and geology.

New NASA radar technique finds lost lunar spacecraft

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 10:27am
A new technological application of interplanetary radar has successfully located spacecraft orbiting the moon -- one active, and one dormant. This new technique could assist planners of future moon missions.

Why the discovery of a bevy of quasars will boost efforts to understand galaxies' origins

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:35am
Late last year, an international team including researchers announced the discovery of more than 60 extremely distant quasars, nearly doubling the number known to science - and thus providing dozens of new opportunities to look deep into our universe's history.

Hubble hones in on a hypergiant's home

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:35am
This beautiful Hubble image reveals a young super star cluster known as Westerlund 1, only 15,000 light-years away in our Milky Way neighborhood, yet home to one of the largest stars ever discovered.

First public data released by hyper suprime-cam Subaru Strategic Program

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 8:42am
The first massive data set of a 'cosmic census' has been released using the largest digital camera on the Subaru Telescope. With its beautiful images now available for the public at large, figuring out the fate of the Universe has come one step closer.

Hubble dates black hole's last big meal

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 1:27pm
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found that the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy ate its last big meal about 6 million years ago, when it consumed a large clump of infalling gas. After the meal, the engorged black hole burped out a colossal bubble of gas weighing the equivalent of millions of suns, which now billows above and below our galaxy's center.

Could fast radio bursts be powering alien probes?

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:04pm
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has looked for many different signs of alien life, from radio broadcasts to laser flashes, without success. However, newly published research suggests that mysterious phenomena called fast radio bursts could be evidence of advanced alien technology. Specifically, these bursts might be leakage from planet-sized transmitters powering interstellar probes in distant galaxies.

Studying magnetic space explosions with NASA missions

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:04pm
Magnetic explosions happen constantly all across the universe, and new results with NASA's ARTEMIS mission help explain how near-Earth explosions convert energy into heat and propel particles toward Earth.

New survey finds 'Peter Pan' radio galaxies that may never grow up

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 12:18pm
A team of astronomers has doubled the number of known young, compact radio galaxies -- galaxies powered by newly energized black holes. The improved tally will help astronomers understand the relationship between the size of these radio sources and their age, as well as the nature of the galaxy itself. In particular, it will help astronomers understand why there are so many more young radio galaxies than old.

Ancient stardust sheds light on the first stars

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 8:10am
Astronomers have used ALMA to detect a huge mass of glowing stardust in a galaxy seen when the Universe was only four percent of its present age. This galaxy was observed shortly after its formation and is the most distant galaxy in which dust has been detected. This observation is also the most distant detection of oxygen in the Universe. These new results provide brand-new insights into the birth and explosive deaths of the very first stars.

Research uncovers potential health risks of travel to Mars

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 8:10am
Using mice transplanted with human stem cells, a research team has demonstrated for the first time that the radiation encountered in deep space travel may increase the risk of leukemia in humans.

Iota orionis: Pulsating beacon of a constellation

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 2:16pm
Using the world's smallest astronomical satellites, researchers have detected the biggest stellar heartbeat ever. Astronomers are hopeful that this discovery will provide the initiative to search for other such systems, creating a fundamental shift in how we study the evolution of massive stars. This is important, since massive stars are laboratories of elements essential to human life.