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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: 15 hours 25 min ago

NASA telescope reveals largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around single star

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 1:09pm
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

Surprising dunes on comet Chury

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 8:28am
Surprising images from the Rosetta spacecraft show the presence of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet Chury. Researchers have studied the available images and modeled the outgassing of vapor to try to explain the phenomenon. They show that the strong pressure difference between the sunlit side of the comet and that in shadow generates winds able to transport grains and form dunes.

Possible dark matter ties in Andromeda Galaxy

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 8:23am
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Brightest neutron star yet has a multipolar magnetic field

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 4:15pm
Scientists have identified a neutron star that is consuming material so fast it emits more x-rays than any other. Its extreme brightness can only be explained if the star has a complex multipolar magnetic field, the researchers say.

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 1:07pm
New planetary formation models indicate that there may be an undiscovered population of gas giant planets orbiting around Sun-like stars at distances similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn.

Experiments call origin of Earth's iron into question

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 11:07am
New research reveals that the Earth's unique iron composition isn't linked to the formation of the planet's core, calling into question a prevailing theory about the events that shaped our planet during its earliest years.

Mapping the family tree of stars

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 7:16pm
Astronomers are borrowing principles applied in biology and archaeology to build a family tree of the stars in the galaxy. By studying chemical signatures found in the stars, they are piecing together these evolutionary trees looking at how the stars formed and how they are connected to each other. The signatures act as a proxy for DNA sequences. It's akin to chemical tagging of stars and forms the basis of a discipline astronomers refer to as Galactic archaeology.

Why are there different 'flavors' of iron around the Solar System?

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 1:47pm
New work shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

Examining exploding stars through the atomic nucleus

Sun, 02/19/2017 - 4:51pm
Imagine being able to view microscopic aspects of a classical nova, a massive stellar explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star (about as big as Earth), in a laboratory rather than from afar via a telescope. Cosmic detonations of this scale and larger created many of the atoms in our bodies. A safe way to study these events in laboratories on Earth is to investigate the exotic nuclei or 'rare isotopes' that influence them.

Hubble spotlights a celestial sidekick

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 4:09pm
Technically, this picture is merely a sidekick of the actual object of interest -- but space is bursting with activity, and this field of bright celestial bodies offers plenty of interest on its own.

Minor planet named Bernard

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 9:59am
A minor planet in the Solar System will officially be known as Bernardbowen from today after Australian citizen science project theSkyNet won a competition to name the celestial body.

Radial acceleration relation found in all common types of galaxies

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 1:25am
The distribution of normal matter precisely determines gravitational acceleration in all common types of galaxies, a team of researchers reports. This provides further support that the relation is tantamount to a new natural law, the researchers say.

Planeterrella recreates Earth's vivid lightshows in miniature

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:08am
A new device has been built to recreate Earth's auroras and other space phenomena in miniature. The planeterrella is one of just a handful in the United States.

Astronomers propose a cell phone search for galactic fast radio bursts

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 4:28pm
Fast radio bursts seem to come from distant galaxies, but there is no obvious reason that, every once in a while, an FRB wouldn't occur in our own Milky Way galaxy too. If it did, astronomers suggest that it would be 'loud' enough that a global network of cell phones or small radio receivers could 'hear' it.

The heart of a far-off star beats for its planet

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 1:05pm
For the first time, astronomers have observed a star pulsing in response to its orbiting planet. The star, which goes by the name HAT-P-2, is about 400 light years from Earth and is circled by a gas giant measuring eight times the mass of Jupiter -- one of the most massive exoplanets known today.

New delta Scuti: Rare pulsating star 7,000 light years away is one of only seven in Milky Way

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 1:05pm
The newest delta Scuti (SKOO-tee) star in our night sky is so rare it's only one of seven identified by astronomers in the Milky Way. The star -- like our sun -- is in the throes of stellar evolution, to conclude as a dying ember in millions of years. Until then, the exceptional star pulsates brightly, expanding and contracting from heating and cooling of hydrogen burning at its core.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx takes its first image of Jupiter

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 1:05pm
This image was taken at 3:38 a.m. EST on Feb. 9, 2017, when the spacecraft was 75 million miles (120 million kilometers) from Earth and 419 million miles (675 million kilometers) from Jupiter. With an exposure time of two seconds, the image renders Jupiter overexposed, but allows for enhanced detection of stars in the background.

Black-hole-powered jets forge fuel for star formation

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 1:05pm
Astronomers have discovered a surprising connection between a supermassive black hole and the galaxy where it resides. Powerful radio jets from the black hole - which normally suppress star formation - are stimulating the production of cold gas in the galaxy's extended halo of hot gas. This newly identified supply of cold, dense gas could eventually fuel future star birth as well as feed the black hole itself.

Team makes planet hunting a group effort, finds more than 100 candidates

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 1:11pm
An international team of astronomers released the largest-ever compilation of exoplanet-detecting observations made using a technique called the radial velocity method. They demonstrated how these observations can be used to hunt for planets by detecting more than 100 potential exoplanets, including one orbiting the fourth-closest star to our own Solar System, which is about 8.1 light years away from Earth.

Hubble sees spiral in Andromeda

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 2:11pm
The Andromeda constellation is one of the 88 modern constellations and should not be confused with our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. The Andromeda constellation is home to the pictured galaxy known as NGC 7640.