For their latest discovery, astronomers have found a low-mass, low-density planet with a punctuality problem. The new planet, called PH3c, is located 2,300 light years from Earth and has an atmosphere loaded with hydrogen and helium. Its inconsistency kept it from being picked up by automated computer algorithms that search stellar light curves and identify regular dips caused by objects passing in front of stars.
The universe is an infinite sea of galaxies, which are majestic star-cities. When galaxies group together in massive clusters, some of them can be ripped apart by the gravitational tug of other galaxies. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to probe the massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744 — nicknamed Pandora's Cluster — have found forensic evidence of galaxies torn apart long ago. It's in the form of a phantom-like faint glow filling the space between the galaxies. This glow comes from stars scattered into intergalactic space as a result of a galaxy's disintegration.
Astronomers have long sought to understand exactly how the universe evolved from its earliest history to the cosmos we see around us in the present day. In particular, the way that galaxies form and develop is still a matter for debate. Now a group of researchers have used the collective efforts of the hundreds of thousands of people that volunteer for the Galaxy Zoo project to shed some light on this problem. They find that galaxies may have settled into their current form some two billion years earlier than previously thought.
Scientists have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disk of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago.
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature of 31 articles describing the data gathered by Planck over 15 months of observations and released by ESA and the Planck Collaboration in March 2013. This series of papers presents the initial scientific results extracted from this first Planck dataset.
Astronomers get an unprecedented view of the fireball from an exploding star. Also China takes another step in its plans to send taikonauts to the Moon, and Antares rocket explodes seconds after launch.
The following statement is from William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, regarding the mishap that occurred at Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia during the attempted launch of Orbital Sciences Corp's Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 6:22 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has spied a new crater on the lunar surface; one made from the impact of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission.
Researchers are finding ways to understand some of the mysteries of space without leaving earth. Using high-intensity lasers focused on targets smaller than a pencil's eraser, they conducted experiments to create colliding jets of plasma knotted by plasma filaments and self-generated magnetic fields, reaching pressures a billion times higher than seen on earth.
A newly found pulsar, the brightest ever seen, raises questions about a mysterious category of cosmic objects called ultraluminous X-ray sources. A member of the team that announced the discovery now discusses the likelihood of additional ultra-bright pulsars and considers how astrophysicists will align this new find with their understanding of how pulsars work.