Latest Astronomy Stories

McDonald Observatory Sees Light From Huge Explosion 12 Billion Years Ago
2014-06-05 03:04:01

Margaret Allen, Southern Methodist University Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky. Known as a gamma-ray burst, light from the rare, high-energy explosion traveled for 12.1 billion years before it was detected and observed by a telescope, ROTSE-IIIb, owned by Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Gamma-ray bursts are believed to be the catastrophic...

ALMA maser installation team
2014-06-05 03:45:44

National Radio Astronomy Observatory Scientists recently upgraded the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) by installing an ultraprecise atomic clock at ALMA’s Array Operations Site, home to the observatory’s supercomputing correlator. This upgrade will eventually allow ALMA to synchronize with a worldwide network of radio astronomy facilities collectively known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Once assembled, the EHT -- with ALMA as the largest and most...

Dissecting Dust from Detonation of Dead Star
2014-06-05 08:37:41

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A supernova occurs when a tiny white dwarf star detonates in a massive blast and a common class of these explosions, called Type Ia, occurs when two white dwarfs orbiting each other collide. Based on observations taken from the Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA scientists have uncovered evidence of a much rarer Type Ia supernova scenario – when a white dwarf feeds off an aging giant, to the point of explosion. According to a report...

2014-06-05 08:33:57

Newest Flash Memory Platform Architected for Application Acceleration Across Appliance and Server Deployments for Industries Worldwide SAN FRANCISCO, June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Fusion-io (NYSE: FIO) today announced Atomic Series, the newest flash memory platform featuring breakthrough innovations that achieve unparalleled performance and double the capacity on the smallest available NAND footprint for appliance and server environments. Companies both big and small, from small and...

Pulsating X-rays Allow XMM-Newton To Reveal A Mysterious Star
2014-06-04 03:32:58

ESA XMM-Newton has revealed a unique star. It is a celestial chimera with the body of a normal massive star yet the magnetic field of a dead, stellar dwarf. This makes it a singular object among the billions of known stars. The race is now on to understand why it behaves in this way because the work hints at an unanticipated link between the deep interior of a star and the surrounding atmosphere. The star is known only by its catalogue designation, Xi1 Canis Majoris. It lies some...

NASA Begins Testing Of New Spectrograph On SOFIA
2014-06-04 03:02:24

NASA Astronomers are eagerly waiting to begin use of a new instrument to study celestial objects: a high-resolution, mid-infrared spectrograph mounted on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the world's largest flying telescope. This new instrument, the Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph (EXES), can separate wavelengths of light to a precision of one part in 100,000. At the core of EXES is an approximately 3-foot (1 meter) bar of aluminum called an echelon...

SPHERE first light
2014-06-04 08:00:35

ESO Revolutionary new VLT instrument installed SPHERE — the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument — has been installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility for finding and studying exoplanets uses multiple advanced techniques in combination. It offers dramatically better performance than existing instruments and has produced impressive views of dust discs around...

Miniature digital zenith telescope
2014-06-04 02:00:53

Science China Press As a kind of ground-based optical astrometric instrument, zenith telescope observes stars near zenith, which substantially reduces the influence of normal atmospheric refraction. Its high-precision observations can be used to calculate astronomical latitude and longitude, which are mainly applied in mobile measurement for deflection of the vertical, long-term measurement for the variations of the vertical, and related researches of astronomical seismology. Utilizing CCD...

2014-06-04 06:45:18

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Astronomers using the NASA Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to study what they thought were two different classes of black-hole-powered galaxies known as blazars now believe that they may be one and the same. [ Watch the Video: Blazars: Artist Conception ] “We can think of one blazar class as a gas-guzzling car and the other as an energy-efficient electric vehicle,” lead researcher and Clemson University astrophysicist Marco...

Two Ancient Worlds Discovered In Neighboring Galactic Cluster
2014-06-04 07:02:00

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Using new data from the HARPS spectrometer at the ESO’s La Silla observatory in Chile, an international team of scientists have discovered two exoplanets orbiting a nearby ancient star. Kapteyn’s star, named after Jacobus Kapteyn, who discovered the star in the 19th century, is a red dwarf and one of the two planets in its grasp sits at the right spot where life could form. Led by Queen Mary University of London, the...

Latest Astronomy Reference Libraries

Stellar Astrophysics
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The prominent feature that allows for the existence of life on Earth is the Sun. Radiation from our closest star provides heat and energy to our planet, driving biological processes and providing the necessary conditions for liquid water to naturally exist. But our Sun is only but one star in this vast Universe. And as it turns out, most stars are quite different than the one that illuminates our day. For this reason, scientists have, for hundreds of years, attempted to study the other...

Planetary Astronomy
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: Artistic concept of a planetary system. Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/JPL-Caltech The term Astronomy encompasses a broad range of topics, including the study of stars, galaxies, and planets. In order to focus on the different areas of study, many subfields of astronomy emerge. One such area is the study of planets known, appropriately, as Planetary Astronomy. Observational Planetary Astronomy Even within the field of Planetary Astronomy, there are several divisions to...

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: The Hubble Extreme Deep Field (XDF) was completed in September 2012 and shows the farthest galaxies ever photographed by humans. Each speck of light in the photo is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years; the observable universe is estimated to contain more than 200 billion galaxies. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia What is Cosmology? I once commented to an acquaintance that I was fascinated by the field of Cosmology, and mused that if I had more time, I...

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light-years in diameter and approximately 60 million light-years distant. Credit: NASA/ESA/Wikipedia What is Astrophysics? For much of the modern age the term Astrophysics has been used synonymously with Astronomy. This interchange is so common that many textbooks even offer the two as having the same meaning. However, from a strictly historical perspective there are differences...

Tropic of Capricorn
2013-02-21 13:31:57

The Tropic of Capricorn, alternately called the Southern Tropic, is a marker of the most southerly latitude on the Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs at the December solstice, when the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun at its maximum degree. It is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. It presently lies 23 degrees 26’ 16’’ south of the Equator. Currently, the Tropic of Capricorn is drifting towards the north at...

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Word of the Day
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.