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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: 9 hours 15 min ago

Looking for signs of the Big Bang in the desert

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:39pm
The silence of an immense desolate land in which to search for reverberations coming from the time at which everything began. The Simons Observatory will be built in the Chilean Atacama desert at an altitude of several thousand meters for the purposes of studying primordial gravitational waves which originated in the first instants of the Big Bang.

Comet 67P is constantly undergoing a facelift

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:25pm
Changes that the Rosetta spacecraft discovered on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, including the collapse of entire cliffs, were likely driven by seasonal events, according to a new study.

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:03am
What sounds like a stomach-turning ride at an amusement park might hold the key to unraveling the mysterious mechanism that causes beams of radio waves to shoot out from pulsars -- super-magnetic rotating stars in our galaxy.

Breaking the supermassive black hole speed limit

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:03am
A new computer simulation helps explain the existence of puzzling supermassive black holes observed in the early universe. The simulation is based on a computer code used to understand the coupling of radiation and certain materials.

Mars volcano, Earth's dinosaurs went extinct about the same time

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:27am
Arsia Mons produced one new lava flow at its summit every 1 to 3 million years during the final peak of activity, about 50 million years ago. The last volcanic activity there ceased about 50 million years ago -- around the time of Earth's Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, when large numbers of our planet's plant and animal species (including dinosaurs) went extinct.

Does Mars have rings? Not right now, but maybe one day

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:27am
Researchers have developed a model that suggests that debris that was pushed into space from an asteroid or other body slamming into Mars around 4.3 billion years ago and alternates between becoming a planetary ring and clumping up to form a moon.

Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:26am
The inner Van Allen belt has less radiation than previously believed, according to a recent study. Observations from NASA's Van Allen probes show the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are actually much rarer and harder to find than scientists expected. This is good news for spacecraft that are orbiting in the region and can be damaged by high levels of radiation.

NASA's Swift mission maps a star's 'death spiral' into a black hole

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 4:23pm
Astronomers measured the light produced when a sun-like star wandered too close to a 3-million-solar-mass black hole similar to the one at the center of our own galaxy.

Hubble's glittering frisbee galaxy

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:03pm
Hubble caught a cross-section of NGC 1448, a spiral galaxy located about 50 million light-years from Earth.

New Hubble mosaic of the Orion Nebula

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 2:05pm
In the search for rogue planets and failed stars astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have created a new mosaic image of the Orion Nebula. During their survey of the famous star formation region, they found what may be the missing piece of a cosmic puzzle; the third, long-lost member of a star system that had broken apart.

Scientists make the case to restore Pluto's planet status

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 1:12pm
Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth's moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of 'planet.'

The rotation axes of stars tell us about how they were born

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:26am
Using asteroseismology, an international research team has discovered a surprising alignment of the rotation axes of stars in open clusters, shedding light on the conditions in which stars are formed in our galaxy. Using data from Nasa’s Kepler mission, this result was obtained by studying a group of red giants in two old open clusters in the Milky Way.

Gigantic Jupiter-type planet reveals insights into how planets evolve

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 9:30am
A team of astrophysicists studying an enormous and bizarre young planet approximately 300 lights years from Earth has gained a rare glimpse into the final stages of planetary evolution. While astronomers think the vast majority of planets outside our solar system are inside their star system's vast dusty debris disk, this strange planet is far beyond the disk.

Dark matter less influential in galaxies in early universe

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 2:38pm
New observations indicate that massive, star-forming galaxies during the peak epoch of galaxy formation, 10 billion years ago, were dominated by baryonic or 'normal' matter. This is in stark contrast to present-day galaxies, where the effects of mysterious dark matter seem to be much greater. This surprising result was obtained using ESO's Very Large Telescope and suggests that dark matter was less influential in the early universe than it is today.

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.