Latest Astronomy Stories

European Space Agency Selects Athena Advanced Telescope For Study Of High-Energy Astrophysics
2014-06-27 09:41:59

Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The European Space Agency (ESA) is in the process of launching a second “Large-class” mission to explore the universe for high-energy astrophysics and selected the Athena advanced telescope for the task. The mission is scheduled for launch in 2028 to study the hot and energetic Universe as part of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015 to 2025 plan. Athena is a large X-ray telescope combined with state-of-the-art scientific instruments...

Potentially Habitable Exoplanet With Earth-Like Temperatures Found
2014-06-27 08:24:53

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Astronomers have discovered a new, potentially habitable Super-Earth believed to possess temperatures comparable to those found here, but with much larger seasonal shifts, provided the atmosphere is similar to our planet's own. Dr. Robert A. Wittenmyer, a researcher at UNSW Australia specializing in the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets, and his colleagues located the new Super-Earth in orbit around the nearby...

New Evidence Explains How The 'Pillars Of Creation' Came Into Being
2014-06-27 06:48:02

Gerard LeBlond for redorbit.com - Your Universe Online [ Watch the Video: How The ‘Pillars of Creation’ Were Created ] The 'Pillars of Creation' is one of the most famous images observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows cooler interstellar gases being eroded by intense radiation and wind from nearby massive stars. The image was photographed in 1995. Scott Balfour, an astronomer from Cardiff University produced a similar simulation and suggests that the stars that make the...

captured asteroid
2014-06-27 04:02:00

Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online [ Watch the Video: Plasma Simulation Of The Solar Wind And A Near-Earth Asteroid ] Space appears to be an endless vacuum void of sound, but it’s not. Electric activity not visible to the naked eye emerges from asteroids drifting through space, and NASA is now in the process of sending astronauts to an asteroid to explore its electrical environment. Solar winds from the sun travel through space about a million miles per hour and...

dark matter mystery
2014-06-26 14:13:25

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online According to astrophysicists, dark matter is the key to understanding the universe as it comprises 85 percent of all mass found in it and is suspected to have caused the growth of galaxies. In a new study to be presented at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting, scientists from that country’s Durham University have found a possible explanation for why some dark matter didn’t form galaxies in the early Universe...

Sun Has Bad Weather Just Like On Earth
2014-06-26 03:31:08

Royal Astronomical Society Just like on Earth, the Sun has spells of bad weather, with high winds and showers of rain. But unlike the all-too-frequent storms of the UK and Ireland, rain on the Sun is made of electrically charged gas (plasma) and falls at around 200,000 kilometers an hour from the outer solar atmosphere, the corona, to the Sun's surface. And the thousands of droplets that make up a 'coronal rain' shower are themselves each as big as Ireland. Now a team of solar...

Astronomers Use AKARI Orbiting Observatory To Map Space’s Icy Wastes
2014-06-26 03:40:16

Royal Astronomical Society Using the AKARI orbiting observatory, astronomers from the Open University have made the first large-scale maps of icy material where stars are forming. In a challenge to conventional ideas about the formation of water in space, they find ice in regions with little dust or gas. Dr Helen Fraser, who led the new work, presented the results in her talk at the National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth this week. Launched by the Japanese space agency JAXA in 2006,...

Dark Energy Survey Discovers Exotic Supernova
2014-06-26 03:28:35

Royal Astronomical Society The first images taken by the Dark Energy Survey (DES) after the survey began in August 2013 have revealed a rare, ‘superluminous’ supernova that erupted in a galaxy 7.8 billion light years away. The stellar explosion, called DES13S2cmm, easily outshines most galaxies in the Universe and could still be seen in the data six months later, at the end of the first of what will be five years of observing by DES. The event was discovered by Andreas Papadopoulos, a...

Using A Telescope To Dig For Ice On Pluto
2014-06-26 03:59:09

Royal Astronomical Society In just over a year, the New Horizons spacecraft will fly past Pluto, giving us our first detailed look at the dwarf planet. Anticipating this encounter, St Andrews undergraduate student Ailsa Whitelaw and her supervisor Dr Jane Greaves have used forgotten data to map the sub-surface of Pluto, peering beneath its icy coating to uncover hidden chemicals that give a hint of the future of this distant world. Dr Greaves will present the new work in her talk on...

Trio Of Supermassive Black Holes Discovered In Distant Galaxy
2014-06-26 08:58:10

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online While many galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their core, a new study published in the journal Nature has revealed a truly exotic phenomenon – a galaxy more than four billion light years away with three orbiting supermassive black holes at its center. The study authors said their work indicates that there could be numerous other galaxies with two or more black holes at their center. “What remains extraordinary to me is...

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 blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.