Astronomy News & Research
|The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile has taken this beautiful image, dappled with blue stars, of one of the most star-rich open clusters currently known -- Messier 11, also known as NGC 6705 or the Wild Duck Cluster. ...> Full Article|
|On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series of explosions was as much as 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded. ...> Full Article|
|On Sept. 30, 2014, a sounding rocket will fly up into the sky -- past Earth's atmosphere that obscures certain wavelengths of light from the sun -- for a 15-minute journey to study what heats up the sun's atmosphere. This is the fourth flight for the Very high Angular Resolution Ultraviolet Telescope, or VAULT, will launch from the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico. ...> Full Article|
|Certain primordial stars -- those 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our sun, or solar masses -- may have died unusually. In death, these objects -- among the universe's first generation of stars -- would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind. ...> Full Article|
|The pattern of nitrogen in biomolecules like proteins, which differ greatly from that seen in other parts of the solar system, could have been generated by the interactions of light from the early sun with nitrogen gas in the nebula, long before Earth formed. ...> Full Article|
|Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Cornell University and the University of Cologne have for the first time detected a carbon-bearing molecule with a 'branched' structure in interstellar space. ...> Full Article|
|Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work found that much of our solar system's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. ...> Full Article|
|Astronomers usually have to peer very far into the distance to see back in time, and view the Universe as it was when it was young. This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of galaxy DDO 68, otherwise known as UGC 5340, was thought to offer an exception. This ragged collection of stars and gas clouds looks at first glance like a recently-formed galaxy in our own cosmic neighborhood. But, is it really as young as it looks? ...> Full Article|
A pioneering new study has shown that water found on Earth predates the formation of the Sun -- raising hopes that life could exist on exoplanets, the planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy.
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Researchers found water vapor and hydrogen in the atmosphere of the exoplanet HAT P-11b, thanks to analyses of observations by three different NASA telescopes. This discovery marks the smallest planet for which scientists have been able to identify some chemical components of its atmosphere. The finding suggests that astronomers' ideas about how the planets formed appear to hold true for other planetary systems, as they do in our own.
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|New modeling studies demonstrate that most of the stars we see were formed when unstable clusters of newly formed protostars broke up. These protostars are born out of rotating clouds of dust and gas, which act as nurseries for star formation. Rare clusters of multiple protostars remain stable and mature into multi-star systems. The unstable ones will eject stars until they achieve stability and end up as single or binary stars. ...> Full Article|
In a new study, researchers point out that the elemental abundance of the most iron-poor star can be explained by elements ejected from supernova explosions of the universe's first stars. This reveals that massive stars, which are several tens of times more immense than the Sun, were present among the first stars.
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|Astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Kepler Space Telescope have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapour on a planet outside our Solar System. The planet, known as HAT-P-11b, is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest exoplanet ever on which water vapour has been detected. The results will appear in the online version of the journal Nature on Sept. 24 2014. ...> Full Article|
Strong solar flares can bring down communications and power grids on Earth. By demonstrating how these gigantic eruptions are caused, Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich physicists are laying the foundations for future predictions.
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|A new study provides evidence that plasma bubbles may have contributed to the communications outages during the battle of Takur Ghar and presents a new computer model that could help predict the impact of such bubbles on future military operations. ...> Full Article||