AstronomyNew found exoplanet may turn to dust
Researchers at MIT, NASA and elsewhere have detected a possible planet, some 1,500 light years away, that appears to be evaporating under the blistering heat of its parent star. The scientists infer that a long tail of debris - much like the tail of a comet - is following the planet, and that this tail may tell the story of the planet's disintegration. According to the team's calculations, the tiny exoplanet, not much larger than Mercury, will completely disintegrate within 100 million years.
Fuel for the Black Hole
Black holes swallow everything that comes near them and are fuelled by gas and dust from their surroundings. An international research team led by Gerd Weigelt of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn has now focused its attention on this reservoir of material. Using near-infrared interferometry, they observed the inner region of galaxy NGC 3783, which contains a black hole surrounded by a so-called "dust torus". This torus apparently represents the reservoir of gaseous and dusty material that feeds the hot gas disk ("accretion disk") and the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. The observations were carried out with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
Ghostly gamma-ray beams blast from Milky Way's center
As galaxies go, our Milky Way is pretty quiet. Active galaxies have cores that glow brightly, powered by supermassive black holes swallowing material, and often spit twin jets in opposite directions. In contrast, the Milky Way's center shows little activity. But it wasn't always so peaceful. New evidence of ghostly gamma-ray beams suggests that the Milky Way's central black hole was much more active in the past.
Location chosen for world's largest telescope
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is planned to be the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope, capable of helping answer questions about the early formation of the Universe.
Like curry? New role identified for compound used in ancient medicine
Oregon State University scientists just identified a new reason why some curry dishes, made with spices humans have used for thousands of years, might be good for you.
There's more star-stuff out there but it's not Dark Matter
More atomic hydrogen gas - the ultimate fuel for stars - is lurking in today's Universe than we thought.
New understanding of terrestrial formation has significant and far reaching future implications
The current theory of continental drift provides a good model for understanding terrestrial processes through history. However, while plate tectonics is able to successfully shed light on processes up to 3 billion years ago, the theory isn't sufficient in explaining the dynamics of the earth and crust formation before that point and through to the earliest formation of planet, some 4.6 billion years ago.
Giant black hole kicked out of home galaxy
Astronomers have found strong evidence that a massive black hole is being ejected from its host galaxy at a speed of several million miles per hour. New observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that the black hole collided and merged with another black hole and received a powerful recoil kick from gravitational wave radiation.
Astronomers probe 'evaporating' planet around nearby star with Hobby-Eberly telescope
Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin and Wesleyan University have used the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at UT Austin's McDonald Observatory to confirm that a Jupiter-size planet in a nearby solar system is dissolving, albeit excruciatingly slowly, because of interactions with its parent star. Their findings could help astronomers better understand star-planet interactions in other star systems that might involve life.
ASU astronomers discover faintest distant galaxy
Astronomers at Arizona State University have found an exceptionally distant galaxy, ranked among the top 10 most distant objects currently known in space. Light from the recently detected galaxy left the object about 800 million years after the beginning of the universe, when the universe was in its infancy.
Neighbor galaxies may have brushed closely, astronomers find
Two of our Milky Way's neighbor galaxies may have had a close encounter billions of years ago, recent studies with the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) indicate. The new observations confirm a disputed 2004 discovery of hydrogen gas streaming between the giant Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, and the Triangulum Galaxy, or M33.
CU-Boulder researchers catalog more than 635,000 Martian craters
It's no secret that Mars is a beaten and battered planet -- astronomers have been peering for centuries at the violent impact craters created by cosmic buckshot pounding its surface over billions of years. But just how beat up is it?
No evidence for 'knots' in space
Theories of the primordial Universe predict the existence of knots in the fabric of space - known as cosmic textures - which could be identified by looking at light from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang.
Alien earths could form earlier than expected
Building a terrestrial planet requires raw materials that weren't available in the early history of the universe. The Big Bang filled space with hydrogen and helium. Chemical elements like silicon and oxygen - key components of rocks - had to be cooked up over time by stars. But how long did that take? How many of such heavy elements do you need to form planets?
Black holes as particle detectors
Previously undiscovered particles could be detected as they accumulate around black holes say Scientists at the Vienna University of Technology.
Discovery of the most distant galaxy in the cosmic dawn
A team of astronomers has used the Subaru Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory to discover the most distant galaxy yet, at 12.91 billion light-years from the Earth. This new galaxy, dubbed SXDF-NB1006-2, is slightly farther away than the previous record holder, galaxy GN-108036, which was found last year.
Nearby stars may aid in studies of Sun, search for Earth-like planets
A loose group of stars that has been known for more than 180 years but never before studied in detail has been revealed to be an important new tool in the quest to understand the evolution of stars like the Sun, and in the search for planets like Earth. "We have discovered that a previously unappreciated open star cluster, which is a little younger than our Sun, holds great promise for use as a standard gauge in fundamental stellar astrophysics," said Jason T. Wright, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University, who conceived and initiated the research.
Researchers find evidence of ice content at the Moon's south pole
If humans are ever to inhabit the moon, the lunar poles may well be the location of choice: Because of the small tilt of the lunar spin axis, the poles contain regions of near-permanent sunlight, needed for power, and regions of near-permanent darkness containing ice - both of which would be essential resources for any lunar colony.
Caltech scientists find new primitive mineral in meteorite
In 1969, an exploding fireball tore through the sky over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorite across the state of Chihuahua. More than 40 years later, the Allende meteorite is still serving the scientific community as a rich source of information about the early stages of our solar system's evolution. Recently, scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) discovered a new mineral embedded in the space rock-one they believe to be among the oldest minerals formed in the solar system.
Planetrise: alien world looms large in its neighbor's sky
Few nighttime sights offer more drama than the full Moon rising over the horizon. Now imagine that instead of the Moon, a gas giant planet spanning three times more sky loomed over the molten landscape of a lava world. This alien vista exists in the newly discovered two-planet system of Kepler-36.