Science Daily

Syndicate content Astronomy News -- ScienceDaily
Astronomy news. New! Earth-like extrasolar planet found; double helix nebula; supermassive black holes, astronomy articles, astronomy pictures. Updated daily.
Updated: 11 min 44 sec ago

Strange supernova is 'missing link' in gamma-ray burst connection

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 14:10
Astronomers find that 'central engines' in supernova explosions can come in different strengths, and include those that produce powerful blasts of gamma rays, and weaker versions that produce no such bursts.

Astrophysicists draw most comprehensive map of the universe

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 13:31
Astrophysicists have created a 3-D map of the universe that spans nearly two billion light years and is the most complete picture of our cosmic neighborhood to date.

Electric solar wind sail could make bidirectional human Mars flights economically feasible

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 08:25
The E-sail is a novel propellantless technology that was invented in Finland in 2006. The E-sail utilizes long, charged tethers to convert natural solar wind momentum flux into spacecraft thrust.

To flare or not to flare: The riddle of galactic thin to thick disk solved

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 08:50
A long-standing puzzle regarding the nature of disk galaxies has finally been solved by a team of astronomers using state-of-the-art theoretical models. The new study shows that groups of stars with the same age always flare as the result of massive galactic collisions. When taken all together, these flares, nested like the petals of a blooming rose, puff up the disk and constitute what astronomers call the “thick” disk.

Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 08:50
Galaxies are often found in clusters, which contain many 'red and dead' members that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers have discovered that these comatose galaxies can sometimes come back to life. If clusters of galaxies merge, a huge shock wave can drive the birth of a new generation of stars -- the sleeping galaxies get a new lease of life.

James Webb Space Telescope: Building Hubble's successor

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 21:41
Inside NASA's giant thermal vacuum chamber, called Chamber A, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, the James Webb Space Telescope's Pathfinder backplane test model, is being prepared for its cryogenic test. Previously used for manned spaceflight missions, this historic chamber is now filled with engineers and technicians preparing for a crucial test.

Astronomers find runaway galaxies

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 15:47
We know of about two dozen runaway stars, and have even found one runaway star cluster escaping its galaxy forever. Now, astronomers have spotted 11 runaway galaxies that have been flung out of their homes to wander the void of intergalactic space.

Celestial fireworks celebrate Hubble's 25th anniversary

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:26
The glittering tapestry of young stars flaring to life in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image aptly resembles an exploding shell in a fireworks display. This vibrant image of the star cluster Westerlund 2 has been released to celebrate Hubble's 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science.

Thick atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan fluctuates with Sun's cycle

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 15:21
Saturn's moon Titan is the only moon in the solar system that has an atmosphere as thick as Earth's, consisting of more than 98 percent nitrogen, roughly 1.4 percent of methane, and smaller amounts of other gases. NASA's Cassini satellite has been circling Saturn since 2004, witnessing more than one-third of its 29-year orbit around the Sun, allowing it to observe the changing of the seasons. However, a new study finds that the seasons are not the only thing changing Titan's atmosphere: its chemical makeup fluctuates according to the Sun's 11-year cycle of magnetic activity.

Tau ceti: The next Earth? Probably not

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 14:25
Star system Tau Ceti has long been used in science fiction as a very likely place to have life due to its proximity to Earth and the star's sun-like characteristics. Since December 2012 Tau Ceti has become even more appealing, thanks to evidence of possibly five planets orbiting it, with two of these potentially residing in the habitable zone. Researchers took a closer look and determined that most likely the planets do not and cannot support life.

Millimeter-sized stones formed our planet

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 10:44
Researchers can now explain how asteroids are formed. Our own planet also has its origins in the same process, a cosmic ocean of millimeter-sized particles that orbited the young sun, according to new research.

First exoplanet visible light spectrum

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 08:49
Astronomers have made the first-ever direct detection of the spectrum of visible light reflected off an exoplanet. These observations also revealed new properties of this famous object, the first exoplanet ever discovered around a normal star: 51 Pegasi b. The result promises an exciting future for this technique, particularly with the advent of next generation instruments and future telescopes, such as the E-ELT.

Space scientists pay homage to 25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 08:43
It was launched 25 years ago and has given humankind a glimpse at some of the farthest and earliest cosmic phenomenon in the observable Universe. On Friday, 24 April, the HST will celebrate exactly 25 years since it was launched.

As bright as a hundred million Suns: The clusters of monster stars that lit up the early universe

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 08:42
The first stars in the Universe were born several hundred million years after the Big Bang, ending a period known as the cosmological 'dark ages' -- when atoms of hydrogen and helium had formed, but nothing shone in visible light. Now researchers have calculated what these objects were like: they find that the first stars could have clustered together in phenomenally bright groups, with periods when they were as luminous as 100 million Suns.

Astronomers find new details about star formation in ancient galaxy protoclusters

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 08:44
Ongoing studies of distant galaxy protoclusters using the Multi-Object Infrared Camera and Spectrograph (MOIRCS) instrument on the Subaru Telescope is giving astronomers a closer look at the characteristics of star-forming regions in galaxies in the early universe. A team of astronomers is tracking velocity structures and gaseous metallicities in galaxies in two protoclusters located in the direction of the constellation Serpens. These appear around the radio galaxies PKS 1138-262 and USS 1558-003. The clusters appear as they would have looked 11 billion years ago, and the team concluded that they are in the process of cluster formation that has led to present-day galaxy clusters.

Black hole hunters tackle a cosmic conundrum

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 14:44
Astrophysicists have not only proven that a supermassive black hole exists in a place where it isn't supposed to be, but in doing so have opened a new door to what things were like in the early universe.

Pulsing light may indicate supermassive black hole merger

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:10
As two galaxies enter the final stages of merging, scientists have theorized that the galaxies' supermassive black holes will form a 'binary,' or two black holes in such close orbit they are gravitationally bound to one another. In a new study, astronomers present direct evidence of a pulsing quasar, which may substantiate the existence of black hole binaries.

Scaled-up version of our solar system 130 light-years away

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 08:51
Astronomers has obtained the first results from the LEECH exoplanets survey. The findings reveal new insights into the architecture of HR8799, a 'scaled-up' version of our solar system 130 light-years from Earth.

Cold Spot suggests largest structure in Universe: A supervoid 1.3 billion light years across

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 08:47
In 2004, astronomers examining a map of the radiation left over from the Big Bang discovered the Cold Spot, a larger-than-expected unusually cold area of the sky. The physics surrounding the Big Bang theory predicts warmer and cooler spots of various sizes in the infant universe, but a spot this large and this cold was unexpected.

Giant galaxies die from the inside out: Star formation shuts down in the centers of elliptical galaxies first

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 14:11
Astronomers have shown for the first time how star formation in "dead" galaxies sputtered out billions of years ago. Astronomers have revealed that three billion years after the Big Bang, these galaxies still made stars on their outskirts, but no longer in their interiors. The quenching of star formation seems to have started in the cores of the galaxies and then spread to the outer parts.