Astronomy

How to build a middleweight black hole
A new model shows how an elusive type of black hole can be formed in the gas surrounding their supermassive counterparts.

Skulls shed new light on the evolution of the cat
Modern cats diverged in skull shape from their sabre-toothed ancestors early in their evolutionary history and then followed separate evolutionary trajectories, according to new research from the University of Bristol published in PLoS ONE.

Close-up of active galactic nucleus
A group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn and the Astro Space Center in Moscow, Russia, have obtained the first detection of interferometric signals between the Effelsberg 100-m telescope and the space-bound radio telescope satellite Spektr-R. The distance between the two radio telescopes is up to 350,000 kilometres - which corresponds to a virtual telescope of this aperture and an angular resolution of about 40 micro arc seconds. Both telescopes were targeted at BL Lacertae, an Active Galactic Nucleus at a distance of approximately 900 million light years.

Rising plasma offers clues to sun storms
Doppler measurements that help track storms on Earth may also be useful for understanding storms on the sun.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.