Some of the galaxies in our universe are veritable star nurseries. For example, our own Milky Way produces, on average, at least one new star every year. Others went barren years ago, now producing few if any new stars. Why that happens is a question that has dogged astronomers for years. But now, more than 20 years of research has culminated in what might be the answer to that elusive question.
A handful of new stars are born each year in the Milky Way, while many more blink on across the universe. But astronomers have observed that galaxies should be churning out millions more stars, based on the amount of interstellar gas available. This study explains why galaxies don't churn out as many stars as they should.
Growing up as a planet with more than one parent star has its challenges. Though the planets in our solar system circle just one star -- our sun -- other more distant planets, called exoplanets, can be reared in families with two or more stars. Researchers wanting to know more about the complex influences of multiple stars on planets have come up with two new case studies: a planet found to have three parents, and another with four.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft about to orbit the giant asteroid Ceres. Also; claims dark matter may be responsible for mass extinction events on Earth, and a monster black hole near the dawn of time challenges physics.
Like the lost little puppy that wanders too far from home, astronomers have found an unusually small and distant group of stars that seems oddly out of place. The cluster, made of only a handful of stars, is located far away, in the Milky Way's 'suburbs.' It is located where astronomers have never spotted such a small cluster of stars before.
Meteorologists sometimes struggle to accurately predict the weather here on Earth, but now we can find out how cloudy it is on planets outside our solar system, thanks to new research.
Dust plays an extremely important role in the universe -- both in the formation of planets and new stars. But the earliest galaxies had no dust, only gas. Now an international team of astronomers has discovered a dust-filled galaxy from the very early universe. The discovery demonstrates that galaxies were very quickly enriched with dust particles containing elements such as carbon and oxygen, which could form planets.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned new images captured on approach to its historic orbit insertion at the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn will be the first mission to successfully visit a dwarf planet when it enters orbit around Ceres on Friday, March 6.