Astronomy articlesA giant astronomical survey completes its mission: and a new mission begins
After a decade of construction and eight years of operation (SDSS-I, 2000-2005; SDSS-II, 2005-2008), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) completed its observations in mid-July and will release its final data set to the public in October. SDSS-III, a six-year program composed of four new surveys, has now begun, using the same telescope.
Valley networks on Mars formed during long period of episodic flooding
A new study suggests that ancient features on the surface of Mars called valley networks were carved by recurrent floods during a long period when the martian climate may have been much like that of some arid or semiarid regions on Earth. An alternative theory that the valleys were carved by catastrophic flooding over a relatively short time is not supported by the new results.
Immigrant sun: our star could be far from where it started in milky way
A long-standing scientific belief holds that stars tend to hang out in the same general part of a galaxy where they originally formed. Some astrophysicists have recently questioned whether that is true, and now new simulations show that, at least in galaxies similar to our own Milky Way, stars such as the sun can migrate great distances.
First picture of likely planet around sun-like star unveiled
University of Toronto astronomers have unveiled what is likely the first picture of a planet around a star similar to the sun.
A dark matter disk in our galaxy
An international team of scientists predict that our Galaxy, the Milky Way, contains a disk of 'dark matter'. In a paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomers Dr Justin Read, Professor George Lake and Oscar Agertz of the University of Zurich, and Dr Victor Debattista of the University of Central Lancashire use the results of a supercomputer simulation to deduce the presence of this disk. They explain how it could allow physicists to directly detect and identify the nature of dark matter for the first time.
More star births than astronomers have calculated
The "birth rate" for stars is certainly not easy to determine. Distances in the universe are far too great for astronomers to be able to count all the newly formed celestial bodies with the aid of a telescope. So it is fortunate that the emerging stars give themselves away by a characteristic signal known as "H-alpha" emissions. The larger the number of stars being formed in a particular region of the firmament, the more H-alpha rays are emitted from that region.
'Little bang' triggered solar system formation
For several decades, scientists have thought that the Solar System formed as a result of a shock wave from an exploding star-a supernova-that triggered the collapse of a dense, dusty gas cloud that contracted to form the Sun and the planets.
Keck images reveal cloudy weather on failed star twins
A team of University of Hawaii, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and MIT astronomers using one of the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea has found evidence for cloudy weather on failed stars.
Young planets stay hotter longer
Young planets around other stars may be easier to spot because they stay hotter way longer than astronomers have thought, according to new work by MIT planetary scientist Linda Elkins-Tanton.
Computer simulations reveal exotic weather on distant worlds
Computer simulations of the atmospheric circulation on Jupiter-like planets around other stars can explain temperature observations of these planets and shed light on the exotic weather experienced by these far-away worlds.
Giant simulation could solve mystery of 'dark matter'
The search for a mysterious substance which makes up most of the Universe could soon be at an end, according to new research.
New detector will aid dark matter search
Several research projects are underway to try to detect particles that may make up the mysterious "dark matter" believed to dominate the universe's mass. But the existing detectors have a problem: They also pick up particles of ordinary matter -- hurtling neutrons that masquerade as the elusive dark-matter particles the instruments are designed to find.
Astronomers use ultra-sensitive camera to measure size of planet orbiting star
A team of astronomers led by John Johnson of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy has used a new technique to measure the precise size of a planet around a distant star. They used a camera so sensitive that it could detect the passage of a moth in front of a lit window from a distance of 1,000 miles.
Wobbly planets could reveal earth-like moons
Moons outside our Solar System with the potential to support life have just become much easier to detect, thanks to research by an astronomer at University College London (UCL).
Earth not center of the Universe, surrounded by 'dark energy'
Earth's location in the Universe is utterly unremarkable, despite recent theories that propose toppling a foundation of modern cosmology, according to a team of University of British Columbia researchers.
Study of galaxy clusters detects growth-stifling dark energy
Like referees with different vantage points concurring on an important call in a tight football game, an international team of cosmologists has independently confirmed the accelerating expansion of the universe.
Caltech researchers interpret asymmetry in early Universe
The Big Bang is widely considered to have obliterated any trace of what came before. Now, astrophysicists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) think that their new theoretical interpretation of an imprint from the earliest stages of the universe may also shed light on what came before.
Water in the early universe
A research group led by graduate student Violette Impellizzeri from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy has used the 100 m Effelsberg radio telescope to detect water at the greatest distance from Earth so far.
UK astronomers gaze back in time and map the history of the Universe
UK astronomers are set to expand our knowledge of the history of our Universe with a new project to map the inception and formation of galaxies.
Planet formation could lie in stellar storms rather than gravitational instability
New research suggests that turbulence plays a critical role in creating ripe conditions for the birth of planets. The study, to be published in The Astrophysical Journal, challenges the prevailing theory of planet formation.