Astronomy articlesMolecular oxygen detected for the first time in the interstellar medium
Molecular oxygen has long been considered as being potentially a substantial and abundant component of molecular clouds. Nonetheless, research carried out over the last twenty years had failed to detect it. An international team among whose members are researchers from the Laboratory for the Study of Radiation and Matter in Astrophysics (Laboratoire d'Etude du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique (CNRS)), from the Space and Astrophysics Instrumentation Research Laboratory (Laboratoire d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique (CNRS)) at the Observatoire de Paris and from the Space Radiation Research Center (Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements (CNRS))has just detected the fundamental line of O2 at millimeter wavelengths using the Odin satellite. The abundance of O2 inferred is a thousand times less than earlier expectations.
NOAA announces next solar storm cycle will likely start next march
The next 11-year cycle of solar storms will most likely start next March and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012—up to a year later than expected—according to a forecast issued by the NOAA Space Environment Center in coordination with an international panel of solar experts.
Scientists discover vast intergalactic plasma cloud
Combining the world's largest radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico with a precision imaging, seven-antenna synthesis radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), a team of researchers led by Los Alamos scientist Philipp Kronberg have discovered a new giant in the heavens, a giant in the form of a previously undetected cloud of intergalactic plasma that stretches more than 6 million light years across. The diffuse, magnetized intergalactic zone of high energy electrons may be evidence for galaxy-sized black holes as sources for the mysterious cosmic rays that continuously zip though the Universe.
A galactic fossil
How old are the oldest stars? Using ESO's VLT, astronomers recently measured the age of a star located in our Galaxy. The star, a real fossil, is found to be 13.2 billion years old, not very far from the 13.7 billion years age of the Universe. The star, HE 1523-0901, was clearly born at the dawn of time.THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all. Secretary England, members of the Cabinet, General Pace, members of Congress, members of the United States military, veterans, families of the fallen, our fellow citizens: Welcome.
Missing mass found in recycled dwarf galaxies
Astronomers studying dwarf galaxies formed from the debris of a collision of larger galaxies found the dwarfs much more massive than expected, and think the additional material is "missing mass" that theorists said should not be present in this kind of dwarf galaxy.
Cosmologists predict a static universe in 3 trillion years
When Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter proposed a static model of the universe in the early 1900s, he was some 3 trillion years ahead of his time.
Caltech and berkeley astronomers identify a new class of cosmic explosions
Astronomers are announcing today the discovery of a new class of stellar explosions. The finding is based on observations of a flash seen in the Virgo cluster in a galaxy known as Messier 85.
Team discovers 'throttle' for solar wind
Helium may act as a "throttle" for the solar wind, setting its minimum speed, according to new results from an MIT-led team using NASA's Wind spacecraft.
Adaptive optics leads the way to supermassive black holes
Astronomers have discovered the exact location and makeup of a pair of supermassive black holes at the center of a collision of two galaxies more than 300 million light years away.
Titans smog clears a little
Scientists using NASAs Cassini spacecraft have unravelled a new piece of the complex chemical processes that take place in the atmosphere of Titan.
Northeastern university researchers solve Rubiks cube in 26 moves
It's a toy that most kids have played with at one time or another, but the findings of Northeastern University Computer Science professor Gene Cooperman and graduate student Dan Kunkle are not child's play. The two have proven that 26 moves suffice to solve any configuration of a Rubik's cube – a new record. Historically the best that had been proved was 27 moves.
XO-3B: supersized planet or oasis in the 'brown dwarf desert'?
The latest find from an international planet-hunting team of amateur and professional astronomers is one of the oddest extrasolar planets ever cataloged -- a mammoth orb more than 13 times the mass of Jupiter that orbits its star in less than four days.
Texas astronomers discover multi-planet system around unexpected star; may alter theories of planet formation
University of Texas at Austin astronomers William Cochran and Michael Endl, working with graduate students Robert Wittenmyer and Jacob Bean, have used the 9.2-meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at McDonald Observatory to discover a system of two Jupiter-like planets orbiting a star whose composition might seem to rule out planet formation. This NASA-funded study has implications for theories of planet formation.
Sun's deep interior revealed by new computer model; research provides clues to the inner dynamics of stars
A new computer model simulates convection patterns in the deep interior of the Sun in unprecedented detail. The patterns, known as giant cells, play a critical role in solar variability, influencing magnetic storms that take aim at Earth.
Star cluster holds midweight black hole, vla indicates
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope have greatly strengthened the case that supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies may have formed through mergers of smaller black holes. Their VLA studies showed that a globular star cluster in the galaxy M31 probably has a black hole with 20,000 times the mass of the Sun at its core.
Gazing up at the man in the star?
Using a suite of four telescopes, astronomers have captured an image of Altair, one of the closest stars to our own and a fixture in the summer sky.
Scientists reveal how supermassive black holes bind into pairs during galaxy mergers
Picture the Milky Way galaxy—a disk of stars and gas, a stellar spheroid and an enormous halo of dark matter. It spirals around a black hole that is supermassive—about three million solar masses. The Milky Way's total mass is about 100 billion solar masses—enormous to us but average among galaxies.
Scientists ponder plant life on extrasolar earthlike planets
When we think of extrasolar Earth-like planets, the first tendency is to imagine weird creatures like Jar Jar Binks, Chewbacca, and, if those are not bizarre enough, maybe even the pointy-eared Vulcan, Spock, of Star Trek fame.
Running rings around the galaxy
An astronomer at the California Institute of Technology has discovered three giant stellar streams arcing high over the Milky Way. Remnants of cannibalized galaxies and star clusters, the streams are between 13,000 and 130,000 light-years distant from Earth and extend over much of the northern sky. The new results are being presented by Carl Grillmair at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Carnegie mellon leads international team in conducting most detailed cosmological simulation to date
By incorporating the physics of black holes into a highly sophisticated model running on a powerful supercomputing system, an international team of scientists has produced an unprecedented simulation of cosmic evolution that verifies and deepens our understanding of relationships between black holes and the galaxies in which they reside.