Astronomy articlesScientists discover possible cosmic defect, remnant from Big Bang
Scientists from the Institute of Physics of Cantabria (IFCA) and the University of Cambridge may have discovered an example of a cosmic defect, a remnant from the Big Bang called a texture. If confirmed, their discovery, reported in Science, will provide dramatic new insight into how the universe evolved following the Big Bang.
Home computers to help researchers better understand universe
Want to help unravel the mysteries of the universe? A new distributed computing project designed by a University of Illinois researcher allows people around the world to participate in cutting-edge cosmology research by donating their unused computing cycles.
It all began with an end: new theory on origin and future of the universe
The universe's clock has neither a start nor finish, yet time is finite according to a New Zealand theorist. The theory, which tackles the age-old mystery of the origin of the universe, along with several other problems and paradoxes in cosmology, calls for a new take on our concept of time – one that has more in common with the "cyclic" views of time held by ancient thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle and Leonardo da Vinci, than the Christian Calender and Bible-influenced belief in "linear" time now so deeply imbedded in modern western thinking.
Mars with ice, shaken, not stirred
Mars, like Earth, is a climate-fickle water planet. The main difference, of course, is that water on the frigid Red Planet is rarely liquid, preferring to spend almost all of its time traveling the world as a gas or churning up the surface as ice. That's the global picture literally and figuratively coming into much sharper focus as various Mars-orbiting cameras send back tomes of unprecedented super high-resolution imagery of ever vaster tracts of the planet's surface.
Study confirms supermassive black holes produce powerful galaxy-shaping winds
Supermassive black holes can produce powerful winds that shape a galaxy and determine their own growth, confirms a group of scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Massive black hole smashes record
Using two NASA satellites, astronomers have discovered a black hole that obliterates a record announced just a few weeks ago. The new black hole, with a mass 24 to 33 times that of our Sun, is the heftiest known black hole that orbits another star.
Record 5th planet found around nearby star
A team of American astronomers announced the discovery of a record-breaking fifth planet around the nearby star 55 Cancri, making it the only star aside from the sun known to have five planets.
Distant black holes may be source of high-energy cosmic rays
Breakthrough astrophysics research may have established the hitherto mysterious source of exceptionally high-energy cosmic ray emissions, according to recently published research that culminates a project developed by a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.
Astronomers discover stars with carbon atmospheres
Astronomers have discovered white dwarf stars with pure carbon atmospheres. These stars possibly evolved in a sequence astronomers didn't know before.
Mars' molten past
Mars was covered in an ocean of molten rock for about 100 million years after the planet formed, researchers from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, UC Davis, and NASA's Johnson Space Center have found.
New population of faint protogalaxies discovered
Astronomers have found a new population of faint protogalaxies by taking the most sensitive spectroscopic survey ever of a time when the universe was only 15% of its present age. These objects are the probable building blocks of galaxies today, including our own Milky Way. The discovery substantiates a popular theory of galaxy formation.
Astronomers find stellar cradle where planets form
Astronomers at the University of Illinois have found the first clear evidence for a cradle in space where planets and moons form. The cradle, revealed in photographs taken with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, consists of a flattened envelope of gas and dust surrounding a young protostar.
Radiation flashes may help crack cosmic mystery
Faint, fleeting blue flashes of radiation emitted by particles that travel faster than the speed of light through the atmosphere may help scientists solve one of the oldest mysteries in astrophysics.
Were the first stars dark?
Perhaps the first stars in the newborn universe did not shine, but instead were invisible "dark stars" 400 to 200,000 times wider than the sun and powered by the annihilation of mysterious dark matter, a University of Utah study concludes.
Building blocks of life formed on Mars
Organic compounds contain carbon and hydrogen and form the building blocks of all life on Earth. By analyzing organic material and minerals in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001, scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory have shown for the first time that building blocks of life formed on Mars early in its history.
Gliese 581: one planet might indeed be habitable
In April, a European team of astronomers announced in Astronomy & Astrophysics the discovery of two possibly habitable Earth-like planets. A&A is now publishing two independent, detailed studies of this system, which confirm that one of the planets might indeed be located within the habitable zone around the star Gliese 581.
New view of distant galaxy reveals furious star formation
A furious rate of star formation discovered in a distant galaxy shows that galaxies in the early Universe developed either much faster or in a different way from what astronomers have thought.
Ligo sheds light on cosmic event
An analysis by the international LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration has excluded one previously leading explanation for the origin of an intense gamma-ray burst that occurred last winter. Gamma-ray bursts are among the most violent and energetic events in the universe, and scientists have only recently begun to understand their origins.
'Shot in the dark' star explosion stuns astronomers
A team of astronomers has discovered a cosmic explosion that seems to have come from the middle of nowhere — thousands of light-years from the nearest galaxy-sized collection of stars, gas, and dust. This "shot in the dark" is surprising because the type of explosion, a long-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB), is thought to be powered by the death of a massive star.
Team analyzes how alien astronomers would study Earth
As astronomers become more adept at searching for, and finding, planets orbiting other stars, it's natural to wonder if anybody is looking back. Now, a team of astronomers that includes a professor from MIT has figured out just what those alien eyes might see using technologies being developed by Earth's astronomers.