7 Jan 2021, 09:00 UTC Next Previous
10 Dec 2020, 16:00 UTC
Science Release: Hubble Identifies Strange Exoplanet That Behaves Like the Long-Sought “Planet Nine”Next Previous
3 Dec 2020, 09:00 UTC The motion of stars in the outskirts of our galaxy hints at significant changes in the history of the Milky Way. This and other equally fascinating results come from a set of papers that demonstrate the quality of ESA’s Gaia Early third Data Release (EDR3), which is made public today. Next Previous
4 Nov 2020, 16:00 UTC Fast radio bursts are extremely bright flashes of energy that last for a fraction of a second, during which they can blast out more than 100 million times more power than the sun. Since they were first detected in 2007, astronomers have observed traces of fast radio bursts, or FRBs, scattered across the universe, but their sources have been too far away to clearly make out. It has been a mystery, then, as to what astrophysical objects could possibly produce such brief though brilliant radio flares. Now astronomers at MIT, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and elsewhere report that they have observed fast radio bursts in our own galaxy, for the first time. The radio pulses are the closest FRBs detected to date, and their proximity has allowed the team to pinpoint their source. It appears that the observed radio pulses were produced by a magnetar — a type of neutron star with a hugely powerful magnetic field. Physicists have hypothesized that magnetars might produce FRBs. This is the first time scientists have direct observational proof that magnetars are indeed sources of fast radio bursts. “There’s this great ... Next Previous
30 Oct 2020, 13:05 UTC This ethereal remnant of a long dead star, nestled in the belly of The Whale, bears an uneasy resemblance to a skull floating through space. Captured in astounding detail by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the eerie Skull Nebula is showcased in this new image in beautiful bloodshot colours. This planetary nebula is the first known to be associated with a pair of closely bound stars orbited by a third outer star. Next Previous
27 Oct 2020, 15:00 UTC Next Previous
20 Oct 2020, 18:09 UTC NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft unfurled its robotic arm Tuesday, and in a first for the agency, briefly touched an asteroid to collect dust and pebbles from the surface for delivery to Earth in 2023. This well-preserved, ancient asteroid, known as Bennu, is currently more than 200 million miles (321 million kilometers) from Earth. Bennu offers scientists a window into the early solar system as it was first taking shape billions of years ago and flinging ingredients that could have helped seed life on Earth. If Tuesday’s sample collection event, known as “Touch-And-Go” (TAG), provided enough of a sample, mission teams will command the spacecraft to begin stowing the precious primordial cargo to begin its journey back to Earth in March 2021. Otherwise, they will prepare for another attempt in January. Next Previous
12 Oct 2020, 12:00 UTC Next Previous
1 Oct 2020, 14:45 UTC With the help of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have found six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole when the Universe was less than a billion years old. This is the first time such a close grouping has been seen so soon after the Big Bang and the finding helps us better understand how supermassive black holes, one of which exists at the centre of our Milky Way, formed and grew to their enormous sizes so quickly. It supports the theory that black holes can grow rapidly within large, web-like structures which contain plenty of gas to fuel them. Next Previous
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 14 Jan 2021, 21:30 UTC Astronomers are winding back the clock on the expanding remains of a nearby, exploded star. By using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, they retraced the speedy shrapnel from the blast to calculate a more accurate estimate of the location and time of the stellar detonation.
NASA's Ames Research Center News and Features 14 Jan 2021, 17:15 UTC What’s fueling the massive ejection of gas and dust out of the Cigar galaxy, otherwise known as Messier 82?
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 12 Jan 2021, 17:00 UTC How dark is the sky, and what does that tell us about the number of galaxies in the visible universe? Astronomers can estimate the total number of galaxies by counting everything visible in a Hubble deep field and then multiplying them by the total area of the sky. But other galaxies are too faint and distant to directly detect. Yet while we can’t count them, their light suffuses space with a feeble glow.
Carnegie Science 12 Jan 2021, 15:28 UTC In a case of comic mistaken identity, an international team of astronomers revealed that what they once thought was a supernova is actually periodic flaring from a galaxy where a supermassive black hole gives off bursts of energy every 114 days as it tears off chunks of an orbiting star.
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 11 Jan 2021, 21:10 UTC In 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope stared at a blank patch of the sky for 10 straight days. The resulting Deep Field image captured thousands of previously unseen, distant galaxies. Similar observations have followed since then, including the longest and deepest exposure, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Now, astronomers are looking ahead to the future, and the possibilities enabled by NASA’s upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.
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astrobites 20 Jan 2021, 17:37 UTC We have learned a lot about fast radio bursts (FRBs) since the first one was discovered in 2007. These enigmatic bursts of radio emission, which are both extremely short, lasting only milliseconds, and extremely energetic, with fluxes of 10s to 100s of Jansky (or a few thousand times brighter than most pulsars), are one of the fastest growing fields in astronomy. While most bursts are one-off events, astronomers have now found not only one, but multiple FRBs that seem to repeat. A few have been localized to host galaxies, and a burst very similar to an FRB has been observed coming from a magnetar in our own Milky Way! New radio telescopes like the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) are already observing hundreds of FRBs, and telescopes in development like the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will see many more!
SciTech Daily 20 Jan 2021, 15:13 UTC For millennia humans have used maps to understand and navigate our world and put ourselves in context: we rely on maps to show us where we are, where we came from, and where we’re going. Astronomical maps continue this tradition on a vast scale.
Astronomy Now 19 Jan 2021, 16:36 UTC Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to study a supernova remnant in the Small Magellanic Cloud have determined light from the blast reached Earth 1,700 years ago during the decline of the Roman Empire. While it would have been visible to inhabitants of the southern hemisphere, there are no known records of any observations. Located some 200,000 light years away, the remnant is known as 1E 0102.2-7219. As shown below, gaseous knots in the expanding cloud of debris that are headed in Earth’s general direction are shown in blue while those moving away appear read. The cloud is expanding at an average speed of 3.2 million kilometres per hour, or 2 million mph. By measuring the motions of 22 clumps of oxygen-rich clumps of debris, researchers were able to determine when the supernova must have occurred. Likewise, they estimated the collapsed neutron star created in the blast must be moving at more than 3 million kilometres per hour.