Latest Astronomy Stories
Every massive galaxy has a black hole at its center, and the heftier the galaxy, the bigger its black hole. But why are the two related? After all, the black hole is millions of times smaller and less massive than its home galaxy.
Not much escapes the sight of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, but astronomers using the powerful four-telescope array have been unable to pinpoint the location of a brown dwarf star believed to be orbiting a nearby binary star system.
Exactly 85 years after Clyde Tombaugh’s historic discovery of Pluto, the NASA spacecraft set to encounter the icy dwarf planet this summer is providing its first views of the small moons orbiting Pluto.
- Achieved Key 2014 'Clinical Map Initiative' Goals to Advance microRNA Therapeutics Pipeline - LA JOLLA, Calif., Feb.
On Oct. 8, 2013, an explosion on the sun’s surface sent a supersonic blast wave of solar wind out into space. This shockwave tore past Mercury and Venus, blitzing by the moon before streaming toward Earth. The shockwave struck a massive blow to the Earth’s magnetic field, setting off a magnetized sound pulse around the planet.
Cloud-like plumes spotted rising high above the surface of Mars on two separate occasions have scientists desperately searching for the cause of this unusual phenomenon.
Craters and mysterious bright spots are beginning to pop out in the latest images of Ceres from NASA's Dawn spacecraft. These images, taken Feb. 12 at a distance of 52,000 miles (83,000 kilometers) from the dwarf planet, pose intriguing questions for the science team to explore as the spacecraft nears its destination.
For some people, Earth just isn’t working out and an organization called Mars One is looking to send an elite crew of them to set up a colony on the Red Planet in just ten years. On Monday, the organization announced that it had narrowed down its initial pool of more than 200,000 applicants from around the world to just 100.
Starburst galaxies transmute gas into new stars at a dizzying pace - up to 1,000 times faster than typical spiral galaxies like the Milky Way. To help understand why some galaxies "burst" while others do not, an international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to dissect a cluster of star-forming clouds at the heart of NGC 253, one of the nearest starburst galaxies to the Milky Way.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
- Large; stout; burly.