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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: 3 hours 56 sec ago

Full sky map: Rings and loops in the stars

10 hours 58 min ago
A ring of dust 200 light years across and a loop covering a third of the sky: two of the results in a new map from the Planck satellite.

Five-day space weather forecasts?

13 hours 42 min ago
Coronal mass ejections (CME), billion-ton solar plasma eruptions moving towards Earth at up to 2500 kilometers per second, can cause extensive and expensive disruption by damaging power, satellite and communication networks. A UK consortium is proposing an operational mission, called Carrington-L5, to give a five-day warning of hazardous solar activity that could inflict severe damage to our infrastructure.

Astronomers see pebbles poised to make planets

Sun, 07/05/2015 - 19:48
A team of astronomers announced the discovery of a ring of rocks circling a very young star. This is the first time these 'pebbles', thought to be a crucial link in building planets, have been detected.

Universe’s hidden supermassive black holes revealed

Sun, 07/05/2015 - 19:48
Astronomers have found evidence for a large population of hidden supermassive black holes in the Universe.

Do micro-organisms explain features on comets?

Sun, 07/05/2015 - 19:47
Comet 67P/Churyumov--Gerasimenko, studied in detail by the European Space Agency Rosetta and Philae spacecraft since September 2014, is a body with distinct and unexpected features. Now two astronomers have a radical explanation for its properties -- micro-organisms that shape cometary activity.

Small cosmic ‘fish’ points to big haul for SKA Pathfinder

Sun, 07/05/2015 - 19:47
A wisp of cosmic radio waves, emitted before our solar system was born, shows that a new radio telescope will be able to detect galaxies other telescopes can’t.

Astronomers predict fireworks from rare stellar encounter in 2018

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 16:11
Astronomers are gearing up for high-energy fireworks coming in early 2018, when a stellar remnant the size of a city meets one of the brightest stars in our galaxy.

Dark matter map begins to reveal the Universe's early history

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 11:20
Researchers have begun a wide-area survey of the distribution of dark matter in the universe using Hyper Suprime-Cam, a new wide-field camera installed on the Subaru Telescope in Hawai'i.

We're not alone, but the universe may be less crowded than we think

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 15:23
There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the universe then might be expected, according to a new study.

Rosetta spacecraft sees sinkholes on comet

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 13:33
The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft first began orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014. Almost immediately, scientists began to wonder about several surprisingly deep, almost perfectly circular pits on the comet's surface. Now, a new study based on close-up imagery taken by Rosetta suggests that these pits are sinkholes, formed when ices beneath the comet's surface sublimate, or turn directly to gas.

Observing the birth of a planet

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:48
Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a young giant gas planet still embedded in the midst of the disk of gas and dust surrounding its parent star. For the first time, scientists are able to directly study the formation of a planet at a very early stage.

Open cluster of stars buried in the heart of a giant

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 08:35
This rich view of an array of colorful stars and gas was captured by the Wide Field Imager camera, on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. It shows a young open cluster of stars known as NGC 2367, an infant stellar grouping that lies at the center of an immense and ancient structure on the margins of the Milky Way.

NASA missions monitor a waking black hole

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 20:20
NASA's Swift satellite detected a rising tide of high-energy X-rays from the constellation Cygnus on June 15, just before 2:32 p.m. EDT. About 10 minutes later, the Japanese experiment on the International Space Station called the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) also picked up the flare.

Seeing a supernova in a new light

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:05
Type Ia supernovae are the 'standard candles' astrophysicists use to chart distance in the Universe. But are these dazzling exploding stars truly all the same? To answer this, scientists must first understand what causes stars to explode and become supernovae.

Even stars older than 11 billion years have Earth-like planets

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 11:10
33 Kepler stars have been selected for their solar like oscillations and a set of basic parameters have been determined with high precision showing that stars even older than 11 billion years have Earth-like planets.

High resolution far-infrared all-sky image

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 07:58
Astronomers have created all-sky image maps and released the full database to researchers. Far-infrared light is the key wavelength range for investigating the formation processes of stars and planetary systems. By observing far-infrared light, we can reveal the distribution of the interstellar medium, or gas and dust in interstellar space, as well as the processes of star formation within it.

Unexpectedly little black-hole monsters rapidly suck up surrounding matter

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 08:41
Researchers have found evidence that enigmatic objects in nearby galaxies -- called ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) -- exhibit strong outflows that are created as matter falls onto their black holes at unexpectedly high rates. The strong outflows suggest that the black holes in these ULXs must be much smaller than expected. Curiously, these objects appear to be "cousins" of SS 433, one of the most exotic objects in our own Milky Way Galaxy. The team's observations help shed light on the nature of ULXs, and impact our understanding of how supermassive black holes in galactic centers are formed and how matter rapidly falls onto those black holes.

Supercomputer model shows planet making waves in nearby debris disk

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 16:14
A new supercomputer simulation of the planet and debris disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris reveals that the planet's motion drives spiral waves throughout the disk, a phenomenon that causes collisions among the orbiting debris. Patterns in the collisions and the resulting dust appear to account for many observed features that previous research has been unable to fully explain.

Giant galaxy is still growing

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 08:09
The giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 has swallowed an entire medium-sized galaxy over the last billion years. For the first time a team of astronomers has been able to track the motions of 300 glowing planetary nebulae to find clear evidence of this event and also found evidence of excess light coming from the remains of the totally disrupted victim.

'Behemoth' bleeding atmosphere around a warm Neptune-sized exoplanet

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 13:24
Astronomers have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dispersing from a warm, Neptune-sized planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous comet-like tail of the planet is about 50 times the size of the parent star.