Astronomy articlesAstronomers trace the evolution of the first galaxies in the universe
A systematic search for the first bright galaxies to form in the early universe has revealed a dramatic jump in the number of such galaxies around 13 billion years ago. These observations of the earliest stages in the evolution of galaxies provide new evidence for the hierarchical theory of galaxy formation--the idea that large galaxies built up over time as smaller galaxies collided and merged.
General relativity survives grueling pulsar test
Astronomers have used a pair of pulsars orbiting each other, found with CSIRO's Parkes telescope in 2003, to show that Einstein's theory of general relativity is correct to within 0.05% – the most stringent limit to date.
Asteroids and meteorites reveal family resemblance
Asteroids and meteorites are supposed to be made of the same stuff – at least that's what earth science teachers have been telling their students for decades. But until recently, the data didn't quite fit the story. When researchers compared the near-infrared reflectance of asteroids (as measured from Earth) and meteorites (collected on Earth) they found enough differences to raise doubts about whether the asteroids really could be the source of Earth's meteorites.
Strange new planet baffles astronomers
Using a network of small, automated telescopes known as HAT, Smithsonian astronomers have discovered a planet unlike any other known world. This new planet, designated HAT-P-1, orbits one member of a pair of distant stars 450 light-years away in the constellation Lacerta.
To be or not to be: is it all about spinning?
Thanks to the unique possibilities offered by ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), astronomers have solved a 140-year-old mystery concerning active hot stars. They indeed show that the star Alpha Arae is spinning almost on the verge of breaking and that its disc rotates the same way planets do around the Sun.
Hidden milky way deuterium found
Scientists using NASA's Johns Hopkins University-operated Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer satellite have learned that far more "heavy" hydrogen remains in our Milky Way galaxy than expected, a finding that could radically alter theories about star and galaxy formation.
Astronomers discover two new planets, both among the hottest ever
Astronomers have discovered two new planets outside our solar system, both extremely close to their stars and thus among the hottest ever found.
Astronomers see inside a quasar for the first time
For the first time, astronomers have looked inside quasars -- the brightest objects in the universe -- and have seen evidence of black holes.
Supernova radioisotopes show sun was born in star cluster
The death of a massive nearby star billions of years ago offers evidence the sun was born in a star cluster, say astronomers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rather than being an only child, the sun could have hundreds or thousands of celestial siblings, now dispersed across the heavens.
Largest 3d map of galaxies
A team of American, Australian and British astronomers has released maps from the largest full-sky, three-dimensional survey of galaxies ever conducted.
Stellar birth control in the early Universe
An international team of astronomers based at Yale and Leiden University in The Netherlands found that "old stars" dominated many large galaxies in the early universe, raising the new question of why these galaxies progressed into "adulthood" so early in the life of the universe.
Planet hunters wanted to help astronomers in the search for new worlds
Astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are seeking the public's help to find and understand planets outside our solar system. But you don't need an advanced degree or even a telescope to participate--just a computer, access to the Internet, and an interest in astronomy.
First directly imaged brown dwarf companion to an exoplanet host star
Astronomers have detected a new faint companion to the star HD 3651, already known to host a planet. This companion, a brown dwarf, is the faintest known companion of an exoplanet host star imaged directly and one of the faintest T dwarfs detected in the Solar neighbourhood so far. The detection yields important information on the conditions under which planets form.
No evidence of ice on the moon
Alas, the moon is not for winter sports. Never mind the difficulty of a triple axel in a bulky spacesuit (though the diminished gravity might help) -- ice, it turns out, is hard to come by up there.
Images of dwarf planet ceres
Although Ceres is the largest main-belt asteroid and was the first to be discovered (by G.Piazzi in 1801), its physical properties are still not well understood. While it is expected to have retained a large amount of primordial water ice in its interior, many questions about the composition of its surface and sub-surface layers, the properties of its regolith and its degree of differentiation, remain unanswered.
Scientists crack open stellar evolution
Using 3D models run on some of the fastest computers in the world, Laboratory physicists have created a mathematical code that cracks a mystery surrounding stellar evolution.
Photosynthesis holds key to life on other planets
Researchers at the University of East Anglia believe they have solved one of Science's big questions - and their answer could be important for the search for life on other planets.
VLA discovers giant rings around galaxy cluster
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope have discovered giant, ring-like structures around a cluster of galaxies. The discovery provides tantalizing new information about how such galaxy clusters are assembled, about magnetic fields in the vast spaces between galaxy clusters, and possibly about the origin of cosmic rays.
Astronomers weigh 200-million-year-old baby galaxies
Astronomers have taken amazing pictures of two of the most distant galaxies ever seen. The ultradeep images, taken at infrared wavelengths, confirm for the first time that these celestial cherubs are real. The researchers are now able to weigh galaxies and determine their age at earlier times than ever before, providing important clues about the evolutionary origins of galaxies like our Milky Way.
Star ends infancy abruptly
Zooming in on a nearby young star called HD 141569A, astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy used the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i, to discover a hole in a disk of gas and dust encircling the star. The existence of this large gap, which is about the size of the orbit of Saturn, supports the theory that this young star ended its infancy abruptly, by ionizing and pushing away the gas in the disk from which it was born.