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Science Daily

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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: 21 hours 45 min ago

Relationships between chemicals found on comets

Sat, 12/03/2016 - 3:45pm
A new study has revealed similarities and relationships between certain types of chemicals found on 30 different comets, which vary widely in their overall composition compared to one another. The research is part of ongoing investigations into these primordial bodies, which contain material largely unchanged from the birth of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago.

New evidence on the formation of the solar system

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 10:10am
Scientists are using new computer models and evidence from meteorites to show that a low-mass supernova triggered the formation of our solar system.

Embryonic cluster galaxy immersed in giant cloud of cold gas

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 4:46pm
Astronomers studying a cluster of still-forming protogalaxies seen as they were more than 10 billion years ago have found that a giant galaxy in the center of the cluster is forming from a surprisingly-dense soup of molecular gas.

Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 4:42pm
Dramatic climate cycles on early Mars, triggered by buildup of greenhouse gases, may be the key to understanding how liquid water left its mark on the planet's surface, according to a team of planetary scientists.

Tangled threads weave through cosmic oddity

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 12:02pm
New observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have revealed the intricate structure of the galaxy NGC 4696 in greater detail than ever before. The elliptical galaxy is a beautiful cosmic oddity with a bright core wrapped in system of dark, swirling, thread-like filaments.

Astronomers watch star clusters spewing out dust

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 11:55am
Galaxies are often thought of as sparkling with stars, but they also contain gas and dust. Now, a team of astronomers has used new data to show that stars are responsible for producing dust on galactic scales, a finding consistent with long-standing theory. Dust is important because it is a key component of rocky planets such as Earth.

Star of Bethlehem may not be a star after all

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 11:25am
Studying historical, astronomical and biblical records, Grant Mathews, University of Notre Dame professor, believes the event that led the Magi was an extremely rare planetary alignment occurring in 6 B.C., and the likes of which may never be seen again.

It's a bird... It's a plane... It's the tiniest asteroid!

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 3:44pm
A research team has characterized the smallest known asteroid using Earth-based telescopes: Asteroid 2015 TC25 measures just 6 feet across, they report.

First signs of weird quantum property of empty space?

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 8:28am
By studying the light emitted from an extraordinarily dense and strongly magnetized neutron star, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarization of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence.

NASA Saturn mission prepares for 'ring-grazing orbits'

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 10:29am
A thrilling ride is about to begin for NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Engineers have been pumping up the spacecraft's orbit around Saturn this year to increase its tilt with respect to the planet's equator and rings. And on Nov. 30, following a gravitational nudge from Saturn's moon Titan, Cassini will enter the first phase of the mission's dramatic endgame.

Low-mass supernova may have triggered formation of our solar system

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 11:15am
A research team has used new models and evidence from meteorites to propose that a low-mass supernova triggered the formation of our solar system.

Timing the shadow of a potentially habitable extrasolar planet paves the way to search for alien life

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 8:45am
Scientists have observed the transit of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet known as K2-3d. A transit is a phenomenon in which a planet passes in front of its parent star, blocking a small amount of light from the star, like a shadow of the planet. While transits have previously been observed for thousands of other extrasolar planets, K2-3d is important because there is a possibility that it might harbor extraterrestrial life.

New stars discovery shed new light on Galaxy's formation

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 2:50pm
An astronomer has discovered a new family of stars in the core of the Milky Way Galaxy which provides new insights into the early stages of the Galaxy's formation.

Mars ice deposit holds as much water as Lake Superior

Tue, 11/22/2016 - 1:10pm
Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what's in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes, researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have determined.

New views of dwarf planet Ceres as Dawn moves higher

Tue, 11/22/2016 - 1:06pm
The brightest area on Ceres stands out amid shadowy, cratered terrain in a dramatic new view from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, taken as it looked off to the side of the dwarf planet.

Large number of dwarf galaxies discovered in the early universe

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 4:19pm
Astronomers have found, for the first time, a large population of distant dwarf galaxies that could reveal important details about a productive period of star formation in the universe billions of years ago.

Record-breaking faint satellite galaxy of the Milky Way discovered

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 3:59pm
Astronomers have found an extremely faint dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The satellite, named Virgo I, lies in the direction of the constellation Virgo. At the absolute magnitude of -0.8 in the optical waveband, it may well be the faintest satellite galaxy yet found. Its discovery suggests the presence of a large number of yet-undetected dwarf satellites in the halo of the Milky Way and provides important insights into galaxy formation through hierarchical assembly of dark matter.

Bright radio bursts probe universe's hidden matter

Thu, 11/17/2016 - 2:48pm
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are mysterious flashes of radio waves originating outside our Milky Way galaxy. A team of scientists has now observed the most luminous FRB to date, called FRB 150807.

Distant star is roundest object ever observed in nature

Wed, 11/16/2016 - 2:31pm
Stars are not perfect spheres. While they rotate, they become flat due to the centrifugal force. A team of researchers has now succeeded in measuring the oblateness of a slowly rotating star with unprecedented precision. The researchers have determined stellar oblateness using asteroseismology -- the study of the oscillations of stars. The technique is applied to a star 5000 light years away from Earth and revealed that the difference between the equatorial and polar radii of the star is only 3 kilometers -- a number that is astonishing small compared to the star's mean radius of 1.5 million kilometers; which means that the gas sphere is astonishingly round.

Scientists discover a nearby 'super-Earth'

Wed, 11/16/2016 - 10:21am
Researchers have discovered a "super-Earth" type planet, GJ 536 b, whose mass is around 5.4 Earth masses, in orbit around a nearby very bright star. The exoplanet is not within the star's habitable zone, but its short orbital period of 8.7 days and the luminosity of its star, a red dwarf which is quite cool and near to our Sun, make it an attractive candidate for investigating its atmospheric composition.