Latest John Monnier Stories

Vega Star Older Than Previously Thought
2012-12-12 10:00:24

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online For thousands of years, astronomers have used Vega — the fifth brightest star in the night sky and the brightest in the constellation Lyra — as a touchstone to measure the brightness of other stars. Now, a new study from the University of Michigan demonstrates that Vega may be more than 200 million years older than scientists previously believed. Researchers were able to estimate Vega´s age by precisely measuring the...

2011-04-19 09:18:11

The hottest stars in the universe spin so fast that they get a bit squished at their poles and dimmer around their middle. The 90-year-old theory that predicts the extent of this "gravity darkening" phenomenon has major flaws, according to a new study led by University of Michigan astronomers. The von Zeipel law, named for its creator, Swedish astronomer Edvard Hugo von Zeipel, has been used for the better part of a century to predict the difference in surface gravity, brightness and...

2010-04-07 13:35:00

For the first time, astronomers have directly observed the mysterious dark companion in a binary star system that has puzzled skywatchers since the 19th century. Using an instrument developed at the University of Michigan, scientists have taken close-up pictures of Epsilon Aurigae during its eclipse, which happens every 27 years. "Close up" in this case is a relative term, but the images zoom in enough to show the shape of the dark object's shadow. "Seeing is believing," said John Monnier, an...

2005-05-24 07:25:00

The most detailed measurements to date of the dusty disks around young stars confirm a new theory that the region where rocky planets such as Earth form is much farther away from the star than originally thought. These first definitive measurements of planet-forming zones offer important clues to the initial conditions that give birth to planets. Astrobiology Magazine -- The most detailed measurements to date of the dusty disks around young stars confirm a new theory that the region where...

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  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'