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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: 1 hour 37 min ago

Scientist suggests possible link between primordial black holes and dark matter

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 9:20pm
An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe's existence, known as primordial black holes. A scientist suggests that this interpretation aligns with our knowledge of cosmic infrared and X-ray background glows and may explain the unexpectedly high masses of merging black holes detected last year.

Hubble finds clues to the birth of supermassive black holes

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 2:49pm
Astrophysicists have taken a major step forward in understanding how supermassive black holes formed. Using data from Hubble and two other space telescopes, researchers have found the best evidence yet for the seeds that ultimately grow into these cosmic giants.

Astrophysicists detect most luminous diffuse gamma-ray emission from Arp 220

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:34pm
Astronomers have detected for the first time the most luminous gamma-ray emission from the merging galaxy Arp 220 -- the nearest ultraluminous infrared galaxy to Earth reveals the hidden extreme energetic processes in galaxies. Luminous infrared galaxies and ultraluminous infrared galaxies are the most luminous of all galaxies.

Astronomers confirm faintest early-universe galaxy ever seen

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 4:07pm
Scientists have detected and confirmed the faintest early-universe galaxy ever, using the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The team detected the galaxy as it was 13 billion years ago.

'Fresh' lunar craters discovered

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 2:12pm
Scientists have discovered two geologically young craters -- one 16 million, the other between 75 and 420 million, years old -- in the Moon's darkest regions.

Hubble takes Mars portrait near close approach

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 2:06pm
On May 12, 2016, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this striking image of Mars, when the planet was 50 million miles from Earth. The photo reveals details as small as 20 miles to 30 miles across. This observation was made just a few days before Mars opposition on May 22, when the sun and Mars will be on exact opposite sides of Earth, and Mars will be 47 million miles from Earth.

Cosmic heavy metals help scientists trace the history of galaxies

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 12:09pm
The origin of many of the most precious elements on the periodic table, such as gold, silver and platinum, has perplexed scientists for more than six decades. Recently, however, a team of astrophysicists has provided an answer.

Extraterrestrial oceans: Beneath the surface

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 8:20am
Icy objects in our solar system have large oceans under their surfaces and here life could evolve and flourish, according to recent research.

First evidence of icy comets orbiting a sun-like star

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 10:06pm
Astronomers have found the first evidence of comets around a star similar to the sun, providing an opportunity to study what our solar system was like as a 'baby.'

Photonics advances allow us to be seen across the universe, with major implications for search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 12:55pm
Looking up at the night sky -- expansive and seemingly endless, stars and constellations blinking and glimmering like jewels just out of reach -- it's impossible not to wonder: Are we alone? For many of us, the notion of intelligent life on other planets is as captivating as ideas come. Maybe in some other star system, maybe a billion light years away, there's a civilization like ours asking the exact same question. Imagine if we sent up a visible signal that could eventually be seen across the entire universe. Imagine if another civilization did the same.

Supernova reserve fuel tank clue to big parents

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 10:27am
Some supernovae have a reserve tank of radioactive fuel that cuts in and powers their explosions for three times longer than astronomers had previously thought. A team of astronomers detected the faint afterglow of a supernova, and found it was powered by radioactive cobalt-57.

A beautiful instance of stellar ornamentation

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 7:40am
In this image from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), light from blazing blue stars energizes the gas left over from the stars' recent formation. The result is a strikingly colorful emission nebula, called LHA 120-N55, in which the stars are adorned with a mantle of glowing gas. Astronomers study these beautiful displays to learn about the conditions in places where new stars develop.

Other Suns got the right spin

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 8:35am
Astrophysicists have for the first time measured the rotation periods of stars in a cluster nearly as old as the Sun and found them to be similar. It turns out that these stars spin around once in about twenty-six days -- just like our Sun. This discovery significantly strengthens what is known as the solar-stellar connection, a fundamental principle that guides much of modern solar and stellar astrophysics. This principle -- that the Sun is a star -- was only proved in the 19th century when distances to the nearest stars were measured.

Hunting for hidden life on worlds orbiting old, red stars

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 12:53pm
Astronomers have modeled the locations of the habitable zones for aging stars and how long planets can stay in it.

Scientists use advanced astronomical software to date 2,500 year-old lyric poem

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 3:03pm
Physicists and astronomers have used advanced astronomical software to accurately date lyric poet Sappho's 'Midnight Poem,' which describes the night sky over Greece more than 2,500 years ago.

Hubble spies a spiral snowflake

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 11:21am
Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60 percent of the galaxies in the local universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique -- like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is demonstrated by the striking face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814, whose luminous nucleus and spectacular sweeping arms, rippled with an intricate pattern of dark dust.

Hubble catches views of a jet rotating with Comet 252P/LINEAR

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 9:24pm
A sequence of images shows Comet 252P/LINEAR as it passed by Earth. The visit was one of the closest encounters between a comet and our planet.

Space mission first to observe key interaction between magnetic fields of Earth and sun

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 2:55pm
Physicists have now provided the first major results of NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, including an unprecedented look at the interaction between the magnetic fields of Earth and the sun. The article describes the first direct and detailed observation of a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection, which occurs when two opposing magnetic field lines break and reconnect with each other, releasing massive amounts of energy.

Small blue galaxy could shed new light on Big Bang

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 2:29pm
A faint blue galaxy nicknamed Leoncino, or 'little lion,' about 30 million light-years from Earth and located in the constellation Leo Minor has been identified by astronomers as possessing qualities that could shed new light on conditions at the birth of the universe.

Exoplanets' complex orbital structure points to planetary migration in solar systems

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 2:23pm
The four planets of the Kepler-223 star system seem to have little in common with the planets of Earth's own solar system. And yet a new study shows that the Kepler-223 system is trapped in an orbital configuration that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune may have broken from in the early history of the solar system.