Results tagged “astronomy”

Weather Patterns on a Brown Dwarf

Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have probed the stormy atmosphere of a brown dwarf, creating the most detailed "weather map" yet for this class of cool, star-like orbs. The forecast shows wind-driven, planet-sized clouds enshrouding these strange worlds.

Rogue Planetary Orbit for Fomalhaut B

Newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of a vast debris disk encircling the nearby star Fomalhaut and a mysterious planet circling it may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system.

An analysis of the first three years of data from NASA's Kepler mission, which already has discovered thousands of potential exoplanets, contains good news for those searching for habitable worlds outside our solar system

Comets trailing wispy tails across the night sky are a beautiful byproduct of our solar system's formation, icy leftovers from 4.6 billion years ago when the planets coalesced from rocky rubble.

In 2011, a months-long blast of energy launched by an enormous black hole almost 11 billion years ago swept past Earth. Using a combination of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the world's largest radio telescope, astronomers have zeroed in on the source of this ancient outburst.

Unlike with some blockbuster films, the sequel to a movie from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is better than the first. This latest movie features a deeper look at a fast moving jet of particles produced by a rapidly rotating neutron star, and may provide new insight into the nature of some of the densest matter in the universe.

The surprising discovery of a massive outburst in a neighboring galaxy is giving astronomers a tantalizing look at what likely is a powerful belch by a gorging black hole at the galaxy's center. The scientists were conducting a long-term study of molecules in galaxies, when one of the galaxies showed a dramatic change.

Traffic Jam of Moons in Habitable Zones

Volunteers from the Planethunters.org website, part of the Oxford University-led Zooniverse project, have discovered 15 new planet candidates orbiting in the habitable zones of other stars.

100 Billion Planets in Our Galaxy

Look up at the night sky and you'll see stars, sure. But you're also seeing planets -- billions and billions of them. At least.

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have seen a key stage in the birth of giant planets for the first time.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible: its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame.

The Herschel Space Observatory Needs You

"Astronomers using Europe's Herschel Space Observatory are asking the public to help find holes in the dust clouds that are threaded through our galaxy. By looking at the images from Herschel, combined with those from NASA's Spitzer satellite, members of the public are invited to join the science effort by helping to distinguish between dense clumps of cold dust and holes in the dusty clouds that are threaded through our galaxy. Dust clouds don't come in simple shapes, and so the process of distinguishing between dark clouds and holes is incredibly difficult to do. Luckily, the ideal tool is at hand: the human eye. The problem proved more complex than the team had anticipated. "The problem is that clouds of interstellar dust don't come in handy easy-to-recognize shapes", Derek explained. "The images are too messy for computers to analyze, and there are too many for us to go through ourselves". This is where the Zooniverse comes in, with its community of citizen scientists poised ready to help out. The new images are part of the Milky Way Project, which launched 2 years ago and, through the efforts of over 40,000 volunteers, has already created astronomy's largest catalogue of star-forming bubbles, as well as a plethora of nearby star clusters, distant galaxies and more. The Milky Way Project volunteers are excellent at measuring and mapping our galaxy." More

A Cosmic Holiday Ornament, Hubble-Style

'Tis the season for holiday decorating and tree-trimming. Not to be left out, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed a festive-looking nearby planetary nebula called NGC 5189. The intricate structure of this bright gaseous nebula resembles a glass-blown holiday ornament with a glowing ribbon entwined.

A new study published by University of Chicago researchers challenges the notion that the force of an exploding star forced the formation of the solar system.

First Census of Galaxies Near Cosmic Dawn

Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers announced Dec. 12 they have seen further back in time than ever before and have uncovered a previously unseen population of seven primitive galaxies that formed more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was less than 3 percent of its present age.

Binaries can be very close, sometimes so close that they actually touch each other. Other pairs are extremely wide, with separations up to a light-year or so. Astronomers have known about such wide pairs for a long time, but how they form has been a mystery. The problem is that the typical cloud cores out of which stars are born are not large enough to form the widest binaries.

"Astronomers at the University of Utah and elsewhere are seeking volunteers to explore the galaxy next door, Andromeda. The newly launched Andromeda Project will use people power to examine thousands of Hubble Space Telescope images of the galaxy to identify star clusters that hold clues to the evolution of galaxies. "We want to get people excited about participating. We're hoping for thousands of volunteers," says Anil Seth, an organizer of the Andromeda Project and an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Utah. "I love looking through these amazing Hubble Space Telescope images of Andromeda, the closest big spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy," he adds. "The Andromeda Project will give lots of people the opportunity to share in that amazement." "Star clusters are groups of hundreds to millions of stars that formed from gas at the same time so all the stars have the same age," Seth says. A goal of the Andromeda Project "is to study the history of the galaxy, and these clusters play an important role." More

A Census of the Invisible Universe

By combining the observing powers of ESA's Herschel space observatory and the ground-based Keck telescopes, astronomers have characterized hundreds of previously unseen starburst galaxies, revealing extraordinary high star-formation rates across the history of the universe.

Spectacular jets powered by the gravitational energy of a super massive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy Hercules A illustrate the combined imaging power of two of astronomy's cutting-edge tools, the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, and the recently upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico.

"Have you taken an interesting astronomical photo this year? From planets and moons to the Sun, stars and galaxies, we'd like you to send us your images to feature as our Space Science Image of the Week on 31 December. The ESA Space Science team's favourite image will take the slot of our weekly image during the week beginning 31 December 2012 as a celebration of the astronomical events of the year gone by. The best of the rest will feature in our dedicated ESA Space Science images Flickr gallery. During 2012, the sky has staged a series of astronomical theatrics to provide plenty of inspiration for your entry. Perhaps you were lucky enough to observe a solar eclipse, or even the transit of Venus. Maybe you snapped a meteor streaking through the sky, or perhaps you found beauty in the constellations this year. Images of galaxies and nebulae are also welcomed." More

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