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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: 9 hours 39 min ago

Cold suns, warm exoplanets and methane blankets

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:03pm
Three million years ago, the sun shone weaker, but Earth stayed surprisingly warm. Carl Sagan thought a greenhouse effect must have been to thank. A model built on 359 chemical processes has finally arrived at scenarios with a reasonable chance of producing the needed methane on ancient Earth. The model has broad parameters in hope that it may someday be of use to interpret conditions on exoplanets.

Galaxy orbits in the local supercluster

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 9:55am
Astronomers have produced the most detailed map ever of the orbits of galaxies in our extended local neighborhood, showing the past motions of almost 1,400 galaxies within 100 million light years of the Milky Way. The team reconstructed the galaxies' motions from 13 billion years in the past to the present day.

Black holes' magnetism surprisingly wimpy

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 2:16pm
Black holes are famous for their muscle: an intense gravitational pull known to gobble up entire stars and launch streams of matter into space at almost the speed of light. It turns out the reality may not live up to the hype.

Galaxy growth in a massive halo in the first billion years of cosmic history

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 2:07pm
Observations of two galaxies made with the National Science Foundation-funded Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope suggest that large galaxies formed faster than scientists had previously thought.

Mars' atmosphere well protected from the solar wind

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 2:05pm
Despite the absence of a global Earth-like magnetic dipole, the Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind on ion escape from the planet. New research shows this using measurements from the Swedish particle instrument ASPERA-3 on the Mars Express spacecraft.

NASA's SuperTIGER balloon flies again to study heavy cosmic particles

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 4:22pm
A science team in Antarctica is preparing to fly SuperTIGER, a balloon-borne instrument designed to collect heavy high-energy particles from beyond the solar system that constantly bombard Earth's atmosphere.

Heavy metal: How first supernovae altered early star formation

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 2:23pm
An international team of researchers ran multi-scale, multi-physics 2-D and 3-D simulations to illustrate how heavy metals expelled from exploding supernovae held the first stars in the universe regulate subsequent star formation and influence the appearance of galaxies in the process.

ALMA finds massive primordial galaxies swimming in vast ocean of dark matter

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 1:20pm
New observations push back the epoch of massive-galaxy formation even further by identifying two giant galaxies seen when the universe was only 780 million years old, or about 5 percent its current age.

Scientists observe supermassive black hole in infant universe

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 1:19pm
A team of astronomers has detected the most distant supermassive black hole ever observed. The black hole sits in the center of an ultrabright quasar and presents a puzzle as to how such a huge object could have grown so quickly.

How does it look when Earth is bombarded with dark matter?

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 12:25pm
A whole lot of zig-zagging: Perhaps that is what happens when the universe's mysterious dark matter particles hit the Earth. Researchers can now show through simulations how it might look.

NASA telescope studies quirky comet 45P

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 5:02pm
When comet 45P zipped past Earth early in 2017, researchers observing from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, or IRTF, in Hawai'i gave the long-time trekker a thorough astronomical checkup. The results help fill in crucial details about ices in Jupiter-family comets and reveal that quirky 45P doesn't quite match any comet studied so far.

Two Super-Earths around red dwarf K2-18

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 11:59am
New research has revealed that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could well be a scaled-up version of Earth. Just as exciting, the same researchers also discovered for the first time that the planet has a neighbor.

WASP-18b has smothering stratosphere without water

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:41am
Scientists have found evidence that the oversized planet WASP-18b is wrapped in a smothering stratosphere loaded with carbon monoxide and devoid of water.

New spin to solving mystery of stellar companions

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 9:15am
Scientists are investigating the nature of planetary-mass bodies that orbit stars, finding new clues to their origins.

MACHOs are dead, WIMPs are a no-show -- say hello to SIMPs

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 4:23pm
The nature of dark matter remains elusive, with numerous experimental searches for WIMPs coming up empty-handed and MACHOs all but abandoned. Theorists have proposed a different type of dark matter particle, a strongly interacting massive particle or SIMP, that differs from WIMPs in that they interact strongly with one another and hardly at all with normal matter. The dark matter structure of a galaxy pile-up could be evidence for SIMPs.

Neutron stars on the brink of collapse

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 9:46am
The exact characteristics of Neutron stars, the densest objects in the Universe, are still unknown. Scientists have managed to narrow down the size of neutron stars with the aid of computer simulations. The calculations based on data from the LIGO and Virgo observatories suggest that the neutron star radius must be at least 10.7 km.

Astronomer's map reveals location of mysterious fast-moving gas

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 9:12am
The most detailed map ever of clouds of high-velocity gas in the universe around us has now been developed by scientsits. The map covers the entire sky and shows curious clouds of neutral hydrogen gas that are moving at a different speed to the normal rotation of the Milky Way.

Voyager 1 fires up thrusters after 37 years

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 9:49am
A set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use. Since 2014, engineers have noticed that the thrusters Voyager 1 has been using to orient the spacecraft, called "attitude control thrusters," have been degrading.

Turbulence in astrophysical plasmas

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 12:29pm
Researchers provides better explanations of the turbulent behavior of plasmas in space.

Blowing in the stellar wind: Scientists reduce the chances of life on exoplanets in so-called habitable zones

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 6:00pm
A new article describes the detrimental impact of stellar wind on the atmosphere of exoplanets.