Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT

Latest Local Group Stories

Hubble Spies Andromeda's Beauty Edge-on
2012-05-21 03:28:00

Visible in the constellation of Andromeda, NGC 891 is located approximately 30 million light-years away from Earth. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful wide field Advanced Camera for Surveys towards this spiral galaxy and took this close-up of its northern half. The galaxy's central bulge is just out of the image on the bottom left. The galaxy, spanning some 100,000 light-years, is seen exactly edge-on, and reveals its thick plane of dust and interstellar gas. While...

Birth Environment Affects Star Formation
2012-05-12 04:34:32

Researchers working at the University of Bonn in Germany have used computer simulations to discover the first evidence that the way in which stars form depends upon the conditions of their birth environments, claims a new study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. In a Friday statement, the Society said that the properties of stars, which are believed to form in interstellar space from gas and dust clouds, are dependent upon the surrounding conditions...

Messier 55's Vast Ball Of Stars Imaged By ESO's VISTA
2012-05-09 10:53:23

[ Video 1 ] | [ Video 2 ] A new image of Messier 55 from ESO's VISTA infrared survey telescope shows tens of thousands of stars crowded together like a swarm of bees. Besides being packed into a relatively small space, these stars are also among the oldest in the Universe. Astronomers study Messier 55 and other ancient objects like it, called globular clusters, to learn how galaxies evolve and stars age. Globular clusters are held together in a tight spherical shape by gravity. In...

2012-05-02 06:21:01

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Astronomers have gathered the most direct evidence yet of a supermassive black hole shredding a star that wandered too close. NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer, a space-based observatory, and the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on the summit of Haleakala in Hawaii, were among the first to help identify the stellar remains. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Supermassive black holes, weighing millions to billions times more...

Image 1 - Astronomers Find Hypervelocity Stars Ejected From The Galactic Core
2012-05-01 02:53:18

It´s very difficult to kick a star out of the galaxy. In fact, the primary mechanism that astronomers have come up with that can give a star the two-million-plus mile-per-hour kick it takes requires a close encounter with the supermassive black hole at the galaxy´s core. So far astronomers have found 16 of these “hypervelocity” stars. Although they are traveling fast enough to eventually escape the galaxy´s gravitational grasp, they have been discovered while...

Image 1 - Milky Way’s Companions May Spell Trouble For Dark Matter
2012-04-25 07:46:27

Astronomers from the University of Bonn in Germany have discovered a vast structure of satellite galaxies and clusters of stars surrounding our Galaxy, stretching out across a million light years. The work challenges the existence of dark matter, part of the standard model for the evolution of the universe. PhD student and lead author Marcel Pawlowski reports the team´s findings in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The Milky Way, the galaxy we...

Image 1 - Sombrero Galaxy Found To Have A Split Personality
2012-04-25 05:03:49

The Spitzer Space Telescope has helped astronomers reveal that the Sombrero galaxy is both a rotund and a slender disk galaxy. Sombrero is a round elliptical galaxy with a thin disk embedded inside, and is one of the first known to exhibit characteristics of two different types of galaxies. "The Sombrero is more complex than previously thought," Dimitri Gadotti of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, said in a press release. "The only way to understand all we know about this...

2012-03-30 07:57:46

Idan Ginsburg, a graduate student in Dartmouth's Department of Physics and Astronomy, studies some of the fastest moving objects in the cosmos. When stars and their orbiting plants wander too close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, their encounter with the black hole's gravitational force can either capture them or eject them from the galaxy, like a slingshot, at millions of miles per hour. Although their origin remains a mystery and although they are...

2012-03-29 11:27:58

More than one billion stars in the Milky Way can be seen together in detail for the first time in an image captured by astronomers More than one billion stars in the Milky Way can be seen together in detail for the first time in an image captured by astronomers. Scientists created the color picture by combining infra-red light images from telescopes in the northern and southern hemispheres. Large structures of the Milky Way galaxy, such as gas and dust clouds where stars have formed and...

'Ordinary' Black Hole Discovered 12 Million Light Years Away
2012-03-27 07:54:34

An international team of scientists have discovered an ℠ordinary´ black hole in the 12 million light year-distant galaxy Centaurus A. This is the first time that a normal-size black hole has been detected away from the immediate vicinity of our own Galaxy. PhD student Mark Burke will present the discovery at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester. Although exotic by everyday standards, black holes are everywhere. The lowest-mass black holes are formed when very massive...

Latest Local Group Reference Libraries

2010-09-16 15:14:03

The two Magellanic Clouds (or Nubeculae Magellani), composed of the Large Megellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud, are irregular dwarf galaxies visible in the southern hemisphere. They are members of our Local Group and orbit the Milky Way galaxy. Persian astronomer Al Sufi, in 964, was the first to have written anything about the Magellanic Clouds proving they have been known since early time amongst the Middle East peoples. Sufi, in his Book of Fixed Stars, calls the clouds...

2010-09-13 17:05:00

The Local Group, compromising more than 30 galaxies (including dwarf galaxies and the Milky Way), is a group of galaxies with a gravitational center located somewhere between the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. With a binary (dumbbell) shape and a total mass of (1.29 ± 0.14) × 1012M the Local group covers a 10 million light-year diameter. The local group is part of the Virgo Supercluster. The two largest galaxies in the group are the Milky Way and the Andromeda both Spiral...

2010-09-13 16:59:36

The IC 342/Maffei Group (also known as the IC 342 Group or the Maffei 1 Group) is the closest group of galaxies to the Local Group. The member galaxies are both concentrated around the two brightest galaxies of IC 342 and Maffei 1. The group can therefore be described as a binary group. Along with many others the group is located in the Virgo Supercluster.

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Ring Galaxy -- A subclass of interacting galaxies, ring galaxies, provides a unique laboratory for studying unusually large bursts of non-nuclear star formation. The rings in these systems are often large (10s of kiloparsecs) and contain what appear to be associations of giant H{\small II} regions. As a basis for future modeling of star forming regions in observed ring galaxies we present a series of combined n-body/gas numerical experiments on ring formation and evolution. Three...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Irregular Galaxy -- In astronomy, a class of galaxy with little structure, which does not conform to any of the standard shapes in the Hubble classification. The two satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds, are both irregulars. Some galaxies previously classified as irregulars are now known to be normal galaxies distorted by tidal effects or undergoing bursts of star formation (see starburst galaxy). ----- NASA Click here to learn more on this topic from...

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