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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: 22 hours 59 min ago

White dwarf lashes red dwarf with mystery ray

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 2:03pm
Astronomers have discovered a new type of exotic binary star: in the system AR Scorpii a rapidly spinning white dwarf star is powering electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the companion red dwarf star, and cause the entire system to pulse dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the ultraviolet to radio.

Jupiter's great red spot heats planet's upper atmosphere

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 2:00pm
Researchers have discovered that Jupiter's Great Red Spot may provide the mysterious source of energy required to heat the planet's upper atmosphere to the unusually high values observed.

Finding the loneliest young star

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 12:46pm
Alone on the cosmic road, far from any known celestial object, a young, independent star is going through a tremendous growth spurt. When a team of scientists examined infrared images of the same area, they realized this object has a lot of warm dust around it, which must have been heated by an outburst. Researchers determined it likely is a young star that has been outbursting for several years.

Astronomers uncover hidden stellar birthplace

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 10:35am
Astronomers have uncovered a hidden stellar birthplace in a nearby spiral galaxy, using a telescope in Chile. The results show that the speed of star formation in the center of the galaxy - and other galaxies like it - may be much higher than previously thought.

Did the LIGO gravitational waves originate from primordial black holes?

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 10:34am
Binary black holes recently discovered by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration could be primordial entities that formed just after the Big Bang, report Japanese astrophysicists. If further data support this observation, it could mark the first confirmed finding of a primordial black hole, guiding theories about the beginnings of the universe.

NASA team begins testing of a 'new-fangled' optic

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 12:38pm
t's an age-old astronomical truth: To resolve smaller and smaller physical details of distant celestial objects, scientists need larger and larger light-collecting mirrors. This challenge is not easily overcome given the high cost and impracticality of building and -- in the case of space observatories -- launching large-aperture telescopes.

Better defining the signals left by as-yet-undefined dark matter at the LHC

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 12:37pm
Physicists still don't exactly know what dark matter is. Indeed, they can only see its effect in the form of gravity. Now, the high energy physics community has developed a set of simplified models which retain the elegance of the traditional Effective Field Theories-style models yet provide a better description of the signals of dark matter.

A famous supermassive black hole 'spied on' with the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 12:35pm
Novel observations by an international group of researchers with the CanariCam instrument on the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS provide new information about magnetic fields around the active nucleus of the galaxy Cygnus A. This is the first time that polarimetric observations in the middle infrared region of the spectrum have been made of the nucleus of an active galaxy.

Light shed on a superluminous supernova which appears to have exploded twice

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 12:34pm
An international group of researchers has used the GTC to observe a superluminous supernova almost from the moment it occurred. It has revealed surprising behaviour, because this supernova showed an initial increase in brightness which later declined for a few days, and later increased again much more strongly. The scientists have used the data observed at the GTC and has combined them with other observations to try to explain the origin of the phenomenon.

Puzzling paucity of large craters on dwarf planet Ceres

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 12:29pm
A team of scientists has made a puzzling observation while studying the size and distribution of craters on the dwarf planet Ceres -- the largest object in the tumultuous Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists think Ceres' missing large craters may have been erased over time, as a result of its peculiar composition and internal evolution.

Astronomers discover dizzying spin of the Milky Way galaxy's 'halo'

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 3:11pm
Astronomers have discovered for the first time that the hot gas in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy's disk, which contains our stars, planets, gas, and dust. This new knowledge sheds light on how individual atoms have assembled into stars, planets, and galaxies like our own, and what the future holds for these galaxies.

Space... the final frontier

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 10:38am
Fifty years ago Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise began their journey into space -- the final frontier. Now, as the newest Star Trek film hits cinemas, the NASA/ESA Hubble space telescope is also exploring new frontiers, observing distant galaxies in the galaxy cluster Abell S1063 as part of the Frontier Fields program.

First atmospheric study of Earth-sized exoplanets points to possible habitability

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 1:19pm
Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have conducted the first search for atmospheres around temperate, Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system and found indications that increase the chances of habitability on two exoplanets.

X marks the spot at the center of the Milky Way galaxy

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 12:30pm
Two astronomers -- with the help of Twitter--have uncovered the strongest evidence yet that an enormous X-shaped structure made of stars lies within the central bulge of the Milky Way Galaxy.

NASA's Kepler confirms 100+ exoplanets during its K2 mission

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 2:22pm
Scientists report the largest haul of confirmed planets - tallying more than a hundred -- since NASA's Kepler space telescope switched from staring into one patch of sky to detecting planets along a much larger portion of the Milky Way. Among the confirmed is a planetary system comprising four promising planets that could be rocky.

Warm Jupiters not as lonely as expected

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 11:09am
After analyzing four years of Kepler space telescope observations, astronomers have given us our clearest understanding yet of a class of exoplanets called 'Warm Jupiters,' showing that many have unexpected planetary companions.

Dark energy measured with record-breaking map of 1.2 million galaxies

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 11:07am
A team of hundreds of physicists and astronomers have announced results from the largest-ever, three-dimensional map of distant galaxies. The team constructed this map to make one of the most precise measurements yet of the dark energy currently driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe.

Surface composition determines temperature and therefore habitability of a planet

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 9:15am
Astronomers have shown that the interaction between the surface and the atmosphere of an exoplanet has major consequences for the temperature on the planet. This temperature, in turn, is a crucial element in the quest for habitable planets outside our Solar System.

Stellar outburst brings water snowline around a young star into view

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 2:30pm
A violent outburst by the young star V883 Orionis has given astronomers using ALMA their first view of a water 'snowline' in a protoplanetary disk -- the transition point around the star where the temperature and pressure are low enough for water ice to form.

Robot would assemble modular telescope -- in space

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 10:16am
A new concept in space telescope design uses a modular structure and an assembly robot to build an extremely large telescope in space, performing tasks in which astronaut fatigue would be a problem.