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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: 23 hours 33 min ago

Saturn's moon Titan sports Earth-like features

Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:04pm
Using the now-complete Cassini data set, astronomers have created a new global topographic map of Saturn's moon Titan that has opened new windows into understanding its liquid flows and terrain.

Special star is a Rosetta Stone for understanding the sun's variability and climate effect

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:40pm
Scientists have found a star that can help shed light on the physics underlying the solar dynamo. Researchers combined observations from the Kepler spacecraft with ground-based observations as far back as 1978, thereby reconstructing a 7.4-year cycle in this star. The star is almost identical to the Sun, except for the chemical composition. That makes it a Rosetta Stone for the study of stellar dynamos.

Weighing massive stars in nearby galaxy reveals excess of heavyweights

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 3:31pm
Astronomers have revealed an 'astonishing' overabundance of massive stars in a neighboring galaxy. The discovery, made in the gigantic star-forming region 30 Doradus in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, has 'far-reaching' consequences for our understanding of how stars transformed the pristine Universe into the one we live in today.

NASA's Webb Telescope to investigate mysterious brown dwarfs

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 1:16pm
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Astronomers are hopeful that the powerful infrared capability of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will resolve a puzzle as fundamental as stargazing itself -- what IS that dim light in the sky? Brown dwarfs muddy a clear distinction between stars and planets, throwing established understanding of those bodies, and theories of their formation, into question.

Tabby's Star: Alien megastructure not the cause of dimming of the 'most mysterious star in the universe'

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 10:11am
Scientists are one step closer to solving the mystery behind the 'most mysterious star in the universe.'

Supermassive black holes control star formation in large galaxies

Mon, 01/01/2018 - 2:48pm
Young galaxies blaze with bright new stars forming at a rapid rate, but star formation eventually shuts down as a galaxy evolves. A new study shows that the mass of the black hole in the center of the galaxy determines how soon this 'quenching' of star formation occurs.

Scientists describe how solar system could have formed in bubble around giant star

Sat, 12/23/2017 - 1:48pm
Scientists have laid out a comprehensive theory for how our solar system could have formed in the wind-blown bubbles around a giant, long-dead star. The study addresses a nagging cosmic mystery about the abundance of two elements in our solar system compared to the rest of the galaxy.

Star in the constellation Pisces is 'eating' planets

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 4:07pm
Astronomers have discovered that a distant star called RZ Picseum in the constellation Pisces is crushing one or more planets into its orbit into a vast cloud of gas and dust.

'Cosmic lantern' could help us further understand the fate of the universe

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 10:13am
New research has provided a deeper insight into emission line galaxies, used in several ongoing and upcoming surveys, to help us further understand the composition and fate of the universe.

Powerful new tool for looking for life beyond Earth

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 12:20pm
NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments.

The Halloween asteroid prepares to return in 2018

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 10:05pm
There is one year to go until asteroid 2015 TB-145 approaches Earth once again, just as it did in 2015 around the night of Halloween, an occasion which astronomers did not pass up to study its characteristics. This dark object measures between 625 and 700 meters, its rotation period is around three hours and, in certain lighting conditions, it resembles a human skull.

NASA solves how a Jupiter jet stream shifts into reverse

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 9:13am
Speeding through the atmosphere high above Jupiter's equator is an east-west jet stream that reverses course on a schedule almost as predictable as a Tokyo train's. Now, a research team has identified which type of wave forces this jet to change direction.

The missing link between exploding stars, clouds, and climate on Earth

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 9:13am
The study reveals how atmospheric ions, produced by the energetic cosmic rays raining down through the atmosphere, helps the growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei -- the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere.

Star mergers: A new test of gravity, dark energy theories

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:13pm
Observations and measurements of a neutron star merger have largely ruled out some theories relating to gravity and dark energy, and challenged a large class of theories.

Orbital mayhem around a red dwarf

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:03pm
In the collective imagination, planets of a solar system all circle around their star, in the equatorial plane of the star. The star also spins, and its spin axis is aligned with the spin axes of the planetary orbits, giving the impression of a well-ordered system. But nature is capricious, as astronomers just found out: they detected a planetary system turned upside down.

Black hole pair born inside a dying star?

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:03pm
Researchers are investigating the properties of gravitational waves and binary black holes to see if they formed inside a collapsing star.

Alien object 'Oumuama was a natural body visiting from another solar system

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:01pm
Scientists have investigated a mysterious object that passed close to Earth after arriving from deep interstellar space.

Better way to weigh millions of solitary stars

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 4:40pm
Astronomers have come up with a new and improved method for measuring the masses of millions of solitary stars, especially those with planetary systems.

Six-decade-old space mystery solved with shoebox-sized satellite called a CubeSat

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 4:32pm
A 60-year-old mystery about the source of energetic, potentially damaging particles in Earth's radiation belts has been solved using data from a shoebox-sized satellite built and operated by students. The satellite is called a CubeSat.

Artificial intelligence, NASA data used to discover eighth planet circling distant star

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 2:14pm
Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.