Astronomy articlesSatellite reveals treasure trove of data, including evidence for early universe neutrinos
A NASA satellite built in partnership with Princeton scientists has uncovered evidence that a sea of neutrinos -- almost weightless elementary particles that zip around at nearly the speed of light -- permeates the universe.
Nearby star should harbor detectable, earth-like planets
A rocky planet similar to Earth may be orbiting one of our nearest stellar neighbors and could be detected using existing techniques, according to a new study led by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Finally, the 'planet' in planetary nebulae?
Astronomers at the University of Rochester, home to one of the world's largest groups of planetary nebulae specialists, have announced that low-mass stars and possibly even super-Jupiter-sized planets may be responsible for creating some of the most breathtaking objects in the sky.
Astronomers find grains of sand around distant stars
In a find that sheds light on how Earth-like planets may form, astronomers this week reported finding the first evidence of small, sandy particles orbiting a newborn solar system at about the same distance as the Earth orbits the sun. The report will be published online in the journal Nature.
New research dives into details of supernova
Astronomers have made the best determination of the power of a supernova explosion long after it was visible from Earth. This technique, using X-ray and optical observations, may help reveal the details of how some stars come to a cataclysmic death.
Cosmologists probe mystery of dark energy with south pole telescope
Something is pulling the universe apart. What is it, and where will it take us from here? Scientists at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago, seek answers to those questions with the newly-commissioned South Pole Telescope.
For the paper trail of life on Mars or other planets, find cellulose
Looking for evidence of life on Mars or other planets? Finding cellulose microfibers would be the next best thing to a close encounter, according to new research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Two new star systems are first of their kind ever found
Astronomers have spied a faraway star system that is so unusual, it was one of a kind -- until its discovery helped them pinpoint a second one that was much closer to home.
Meteorites delivered the 'seeds' of earth's left-hand life
Flash back three or four billion years — Earth is a hot, dry and lifeless place. All is still. Without warning, a meteor slams into the desert plains at over ten thousand miles per hour. With it, this violent collision may have planted the chemical seeds of life on Earth.
The coldest brown dwarf ever observed: closing the gap between stars and planets
An international team led by French and Canadian astronomers has just discovered the coldest brown dwarf ever observed. Their results will soon be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Laser precision added to search for new earths
Harvard scientists have unveiled a new laser-measuring device that they say will provide a critical advance in the resolution of current planet-finding techniques, making the discovery of Earth-sized planets possible.
Graphene gazing gives glimpse of foundations of universe
Researchers at The University of Manchester have used graphene to measure an important and mysterious fundamental constant - and glimpse the foundations of the universe.
Is there anybody out there?
Is there anybody out there? Probably not, according to a scientist from the University of East Anglia. A mathematical model produced by Prof Andrew Watson suggests that the odds of finding new life on other Earth-like planets are low, given the time it has taken for beings such as humans to evolve and the remaining life span of Earth.
Glaciers reveal martian climate has been recently active
Brown University researchers have found compelling evidence of thick, recurring glaciers on Mars, a discovery that suggests that the Red Planet's climate was much more dynamic than previously believed – and could change again. Results are published on the cover of Geology magazine.
Plan to identify watery earth-like planets develops
Astronomers are looking to identify Earth-like watery worlds circling distant stars from a glint of light seen through an optical space telescope and a mathematical method developed by researchers at Penn State and the University of Hawaii.
Black hole sheds light on a galaxy
A light echo occurs when interstellar gas is heated by radiation and reacts by emission of light. An international team led by Stefanie Komossa from the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, has observed the light echo of an enormous X-ray flare, which was almost certainly produced when a single star was disrupted by a supermassive black hole. For the first time, the light echo of such a rare and highly dramatic event could be observed in great detail. The light echo not only revealed the stellar disruption process, but it also provides a powerful new method for mapping galactic nuclei.
Did the solar system 'bounce' finish the dinosaurs?
The sun's movement through the Milky Way regularly sends comets hurtling into the inner solar system – coinciding with mass life extinctions on earth, a new study claims.
Iron 'snow' helps maintain mercury's magnetic field, scientists say
New scientific evidence suggests that deep inside the planet Mercury, iron "snow" forms and falls toward the center of the planet, much like snowflakes form in Earth's atmosphere and fall to the ground.
Physicists demonstrate how information can escape from black holes
Physicists at Penn State have provided a mechanism by which information can be recovered from black holes, those regions of space where gravity is so strong that, according to Einstein's theory of general relativity, not even light can escape. The team's findings pave the way toward ending a decades-long debate sparked by renowned physicist Steven Hawking.
Oldest known objects may be surprisingly immature
Some of the oldest objects in the Universe may still have a long way to go, according to a new study using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. These new results indicate that globular clusters might be surprisingly less mature in their development than previously thought.