Astronomy articlesThe hottest white dwarf in its class
A team of German and American astronomers present far-ultraviolet observations of white dwarf KPD 0005+5106 and reveal that it is among the hottest stars ever known with a temperature of 200 000 K at its surface. Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing this discovery, which was made through spectroscopic observations with NASA's space-based Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE).
Looking for extraterrestrial life in all the right places
Scientists are expanding the search for extraterrestrial life -- and they've set their sights on some very unearthly planets.
Astronomers use gamma-ray burst to probe star formation in the early Universe
The brilliant afterglow of a powerful gamma-ray burst (GRB) has enabled astronomers to probe the star-forming environment of a distant galaxy, resulting in the first detection of molecular gas in a GRB host galaxy. By analyzing the spectrum of light emitted in the GRB afterglow, the researchers are gleaning insights into an active stellar nursery in a galaxy so far away it appears as it was 11.5 billion years ago.
Galileo stereotype is only part of the truth
Nations the world over are celebrating 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, marking Galileo's first scientific use of the telescope 400 years ago.
Jupiter-like planets could form around twin suns
Life on a planet ruled by two suns might be a little complicated. Two sunrises, two sunsets. Twice the radiation field.
Black holes lead galaxy growth
Astronomers may have solved a cosmic chicken-and-egg problem -- the question of which formed first in the early Universe -- galaxies or the supermassive black holes seen at their cores.
Looking through Galileo's eyes
In 1609, exactly four centuries ago, Galileo revolutionised humankind's understanding of our position in the Universe when he used a telescope for the first time to study the heavens, which saw him sketching radical new views of the moon and discovering the satellites orbiting Jupiter.
How martian winds make rocks walk
Rocks on Mars are on the move, rolling into the wind and forming organized patterns, according to new research.
Astronomers discover new radio signal using large balloon
A team of NASA-funded scientists, including two from UC Santa Barbara, have discovered cosmic radio noise that they find completely unexpected and exciting.
Exoplanet atmospheres detected from Earth
Two independent groups have simultaneously made the first-ever ground-based detection of extrasolar planets thermal emissions. Until now, virtually everything known about atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars in the Milky Way has come from space-based observations. These new results, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics, open a new frontier to studying these alien worlds and are especially critical because the major space-based workhorse to these studies, the Spitzer telescope, will soon run out of cryogens, highly limiting its capabilities.
Even stars get fat
Researchers have discovered evidence that blue stragglers in globular clusters, whose existence has long puzzled astronomers, are the result of 'stellar cannibalism' in binary stars. In other words, binary stars are eating each other and turning into a blue straggler.
Scientists solve longstanding astronomy mystery
Scientists may have solved one of the most longstanding astrophysical mysteries of all times: How massive stars - up to 120 times the mass of our sun - form without blowing away the clouds of gas and dust that feed their growth.
Thomas Harriot: a telescopic astronomer before Galileo
This year the world celebrates the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), marking the 400th anniversary of the first drawings of celestial objects through a telescope. This first has long been attributed to Galileo Galilei, the Italian who went on to play a leading role in the 17th century scientific revolution. But astronomers and historians in the UK are keen to promote a lesser-known figure, English polymath Thomas Harriot, who made the first drawing of the Moon through a telescope several months earlier, in July 1609.
Cornell-led team detects dust around a primitive star
A Cornell-led team of astronomers has observed dust forming around a dying star in a nearby galaxy, giving a glimpse into the early universe and enlivening a debate about the origins of all cosmic dust.
Helium rains inside jovian planets
Models of how Saturn and Jupiter formed may soon take on a different look.
Astronomers unveiling life's cosmic origins
Processes that laid the foundation for life on Earth -- star and planet formation and the production of complex organic molecules in interstellar space -- are yielding their secrets to astronomers armed with powerful new research tools, and even better tools soon will be available. Astronomers described three important developments at a symposium on the "Cosmic Cradle of Life" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, IL.
New high-res map suggests little water inside Moon
The most detailed map of the Moon ever created has revealed never-before-seen craters at the lunar poles.
Cosmologists see the cosmic dawn
Scientists have used a computer simulation to predict what the very early Universe would have appeared like 500 million years after the Big Bang.
New stars from old gas surprise astronomers
Evidence of star birth within a cloud of primordial gas has given astronomers a glimpse of a previously unknown mode of galaxy formation. The cloud, known as the Leo Ring, appears to lack the dark matter and heavy elements normally found in galaxies today. The unexpected discovery comes thanks to instruments aboard NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft which are sensitive to the ultraviolet radiation emitted by newly formed stars.
Cosmologists aim to observe first moments of universe
During the next decade, a delicate measurement of primordial light could reveal convincing evidence for the popular cosmic inflation theory, which proposes that a random, microscopic density fluctuation in the fabric of space and time gave birth to the universe in a hot big bang approximately 13.7 billion years ago.