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Latest Astronomy Stories

molecular cloud thinkstock 89614446
2014-09-01 04:34:43

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Astrophysicists and computational astronomers from the University of California, Santa Cruz have discovered why sibling stars look alike – those formed from a single cloud share the same chemical fingerprint due to early, fast and turbulent mixing of gas in the giant molecular clouds where star formation occurs. Stars are made primarily of hydrogen and helium, but they also contain trace amounts of elements such as carbon, oxygen...

Supernova_explosion
2014-08-30 07:29:17

European Space Agency Astronomers using ESA’s Integral gamma-ray observatory have demonstrated beyond doubt that dead stars known as white dwarfs can reignite and explode as supernovae. The finding came after the unique signature of gamma rays from the radioactive elements created in one of these explosions was captured for the first time. The explosions in question are known as Type Ia supernovae, long suspected to be the result of a white dwarf star blowing up because of a...

January 2005 solar storm
2014-08-29 03:30:12

Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center A space weather storm from the sun engulfed our planet on Jan. 21, 2005. The event got its start on Jan. 20, when a cloud of solar material, a coronal mass ejection or CME, burst off the sun and headed toward Earth. When it arrived at our planet, the ring current and radiation belts surrounding Earth swelled with extra particles, while the aurora persisted for six hours. Both of these are usually signs of a very large storm – indeed, this...

asteroid citizen forum
2014-08-29 03:00:59

NASA NASA is finding asteroids, including those that might threaten our home planet, and sending humans to explore one. The agency is engaging the public in the Asteroid Grand Challenge to find all asteroid threats to human population and know what to do about them, accelerating NASA's existing planetary defense work. NASA is also developing a first-ever mission to identify, capture and redirect a near-Earth asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon, where astronauts will explore it in...

firestorm of star birth
2014-08-28 10:04:02

NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed “Sparky,” is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate. The discovery was made possible through combined observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the European Space...

Orion Molecular Cloud Complex
2014-08-28 07:00:10

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Current theories suggest that rocky planets like Earth start their lives as microscopic bits of dust tinier than a grain of sand. Filaments of star-forming gas near the Orion Nebula might be full of pebble-sized particles, according to a new study released by astronomers using the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Green Bank Telescope (GBT). These pebbles are planetary building blocks 100 to 1,000 times larger than the dust...

light in the real cosmos
2014-08-27 12:04:57

Rebecca Caygill, University College London New research from UCL shows we will soon uncover the origin of the ultraviolet light that bathes the cosmos, helping scientists understand how galaxies were built. The study published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters by UCL cosmologists Dr Andrew Pontzen and Dr Hiranya Peiris (both UCL Physics & Astronomy), together with collaborators at Princeton and Barcelona Universities, shows how forthcoming astronomical surveys will reveal...

local bubble
2014-08-27 08:50:47

Dr. Tony Phillips, Science@NASA Once every 50 years, more or less, a massive star explodes somewhere in the Milky Way. The resulting blast is terrifyingly powerful, pumping out more energy in a split second than the sun emits in a million years. At its peak, a supernova can outshine the entire Milky Way. It seems obvious that you wouldn't want a supernova exploding near Earth. Yet there is growing evidence that one did — actually, more than one. About 10 million years ago, a nearby...

galaxy collision
2014-08-27 06:29:04

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Using a battery of observatories that included the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers has obtained the best view to date of a collision between two galaxies that took place when the universe was just a fraction of its current age. According to ESA, the team also utilized a gravitational lens to magnify galaxy HATLAS J142935.3-002836, revealing...

Eta Carinae
2014-08-27 05:41:19

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center The Eta Carinae star system does not lack for superlatives. Not only does it contain one of the biggest and brightest stars in our galaxy, weighing at least 90 times the mass of the sun, it is also extremely volatile and is expected to have at least one supernova explosion in the future. [ Watch the Video: Eta Carinae: Our Neighboring Superstars ] As one of the first objects observed by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory after its launch some 15...


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...

Cosmology
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...

Astrophysics
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
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'