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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 32 min ago

How massive can neutron stars be?

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 9:36am
Astrophysicists set a new limit for the maximum mass of neutron stars: It cannot exceed 2.16 solar masses.

Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 9:59am
Statistical analysis of supermassive black holes suggests that the spin of the black hole may play a role in the generation of powerful high-speed jets blasting radio waves. By analyzing nearly 8000 quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, research team found that the oxygen emissions are 1.5 times stronger in radio loud quasars than in radio quiet quasars. This implies that spin is an important factor in the generation of jets.

X-ray navigation could open up new frontiers for robotic spacecraft

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:39pm
In a technology first, a team of engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space -- a capability that could revolutionize NASA's ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond.

Supermassive black hole caught burping — twice

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:29pm
Astronomers have caught a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy snacking on gas and then "burping" — not once, but twice.

Magnified and stretched out image of extremely distant galaxy

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:29pm
An intensive survey deep into the universe by NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes has yielded the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack: the farthest galaxy yet seen in an image that has been stretched and amplified by a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.

Archeology of our Milky Way's ancient hub

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:29pm
A new analysis of about 10,000 normal Sun-like stars in the Milky Way's bulge reveals that our galaxy’s hub is a dynamic environment of variously aged stars zipping around at different speeds.

No planets needed for rings around stars: Disk patterns can self-generate

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 3:50pm
A new study shows rings, arcs and spirals in disks around stars may not be caused by planets. They may self-generate.

Brown dwarfs found sprinkled among newborn stars in Orion Nebula

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 3:50pm
Astronomers have uncovered the largest known population of brown dwarfs sprinkled among newborn stars in the Orion Nebula.

Citizen scientists discover five-planet system

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 2:40pm
In its search for exoplanets -- planets outside of our solar system -- NASA's Kepler telescope trails behind Earth, measuring the brightness of stars that may potentially host planets. The instrument identifies potential planets around other stars by looking for dips in the brightness of the stars that occur when planets cross in front of, or transit, them. Typically, computer programs flag the stars with these brightness dips, then astronomers look at each one and decide whether or not they truly could host a planet candidate.

Faint galactic glow: Intriguing organic molecule benzonitrile in interstellar space

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 2:16pm
Astronomers have made the first definitive interstellar detection of benzonitrile, an intriguing organic molecule that helps to chemically link simple carbon-based molecules and truly massive ones known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This discovery is a vital clue in a 30-year-old mystery: identifying the source of a faint infrared glow that permeates the Milky Way and other galaxies.

Astronomers to build space telescope to explore nearby stars

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:05pm
A new mission will launch a small satellite telescope into space to study the environment in other solar systems around the Galaxy's most common type of star.

A repeating fast radio burst from an extreme environment

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 5:14pm
New detections of radio waves from a repeating fast radio burst have revealed an astonishingly potent magnetic field in the source's environment, indicating that it is situated near a massive black hole or within a nebula of unprecedented power.

Swarm of hydrogen clouds flying away from center of the Milky Way

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 4:32pm
Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a grand exodus of more than 100 hydrogen clouds streaming away from the center of the Milky Way and heading into intergalactic space.

NASA's newly renamed Swift Mission spies a comet slowdown

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 3:04pm
NASA's Swift spacecraft, now renamed the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory after the mission's late principal investigator, has detected the most dramatic change in a comet's rotation ever seen.

New stellar streams confirm 'melting pot' history of the galaxy

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 2:13pm
Where do the stars in our Galaxy come from? All the stars we see in the night-time sky belong to our Milky Way galaxy, and while most stars were likely born here, in the Milky Way, many appear to have originated in other galaxies and migrated to our shores. Tell-tale evidence comes from streams of stars created when small galaxies interact with the Milky Way.

Astronomers detect 'whirlpool' movement in earliest galaxies; swirling gases soon after Big Bang

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 1:15pm
Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the universe. These 'newborns' -- observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago -- spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way. This is the first time that it has been possible to detect movement in galaxies at such an early point in the universe's history.

Black hole breakthrough: New insight into mysterious jets

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 11:30am
Advanced simulations created with one of the world's most powerful supercomputers show the jets' streams gradually change direction in the sky, or precess, as a result of space-time being dragged into the rotation of the black hole.

Planets around other stars are like peas in a pod

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 2:19pm
A study of 909 planets and 355 stars reveals that, unlike our solar system, other planetary systems are distinguished by strict regularity.

Black hole research could aid understanding of how small galaxies evolve

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 2:19pm
Scientists have solved a cosmic mystery by finding evidence that supermassive black holes prevent stars forming in some smaller galaxies.

Extra-terrestrial Hypatia stone rattles solar system status quo

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:24am
Analyses on a small pebble found in south-west Egypt cast significant questions on a widely-held view about the primitive pre-solar dust cloud which our Sun, Earth and other planets were formed from. Researchers found exotic micro-mineral compounds in the 'Hypatia' stone that are not known to occur on Earth, elsewhere in our solar system, or in known meteorites or comets.