Like cosmic lighthouses sweeping the universe with bursts of energy, pulsars have fascinated and baffled astronomers since they were first discovered 50 years ago. In two studies, international teams of astronomers suggest that recent images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory of two pulsars -- Geminga and B0355+54 -- may help shine a light on the distinctive emission signatures of pulsars, as well as their often perplexing geometry.
New images have revealed otherwise invisible details of our Sun, including a new view of the dark, contorted center of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth. The images are the first ever made of the Sun with a facility where ESO is a partner. The results are an important expansion of the range of observations that can be used to probe the physics of our nearest star.
A team astrophysicists has observed the unexplained fading of an interacting binary star, one of the first discoveries using the Sarah L. Krizmanich Telescope.
It’s the big astrophysical whodunnit. Across the Universe, galaxies are being killed and the question scientists want answered is, what’s killing them?
49 Lib, a relatively bright star in the southern sky, is twelve billion years old rather than just 2.3 billion. For many decades, researchers were stumped by conflicting data pertaining to this celestial body, because they had estimated it as much younger than it really is. Determining its age anew, astronomers have now successfully resolved all inconsistencies.
The beautiful spiral galaxy visible in the center of the image is known as RX J1140.1+0307, a galaxy in the Virgo constellation imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and it presents an interesting puzzle. At first glance, this galaxy appears to be a normal spiral galaxy, much like the Milky Way.
Galaxies are merging all the time, even our own galaxy, the Milky Way. But how these mergers occur isn't entirely clear. An American astrophysicist will use a National Science Foundation grant to find and characterize supermassive black holes associated with merging galaxies.
Astronomers are conducting a search for planets in the nearby star system Alpha Centauri. Such planets could be the targets for an eventual launch of miniature space probes by the Breakthrough Starshot initiative.
Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic 'spitball.'
The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy stream of stars extending one million light-years across space, or 10 times the width of our galaxy.
Astronomers have discovered giant halos around early Milky Way type galaxies, made of photons (elementary particles of light) that have struggled to escape them.
A groundbreaking new optical device to correct images of the Sun distorted by multiple layers of atmospheric turbulence, is providing scientists with the most precisely detailed, real-time pictures to date of solar activity occurring across vast stretches of the star's surface.