Latest Metallicity Stories

2010-01-14 15:08:08

Researchers of the University of Granada have conducted the most complete worldwide analysis of the chemical composition and evolutionary state of a spectral type R carbon star. The presence of carbon is essential for the possible development of life in the Universe, and therefore explaining its origin is of vital importance. What are the peculiar type-R stars made? Where does the carbon present in their shell come from? These are the questions to be solved by a research work conducted by...

2010-01-05 13:34:13

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured an action-packed picture of the nearby Small Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy that looks like a wispy cloud when seen from Earth. From Spitzer's perch up in space, the galaxy's clouds of dust and stars come into clear view. The telescope's infrared vision reveals choppy piles of recycled stardust -- dust that is being soaked up by new star systems and blown out by old ones. To some people, the new view might resemble a sea creature, or even a...

2009-12-23 14:20:00

Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered two distinct kinds of "rejuvenated" stars in the globular cluster Messier 30. A new study shows that both stellar collisions and a process sometimes called vampirism are behind this cosmic "face lift". The scientists also uncover evidence that both sorts of blue stragglers were produced during a critical dynamical event (known as "core collapse") that occurred in Messier 30 a few billion years ago. Stars in globular...

2009-12-20 10:10:03

A new object with an age of thousands of millions of years and a mass of  one tenth of the Sun, placing it at the frontier between low-mass stars and brown  dwarfs, has been discovered as the furthest of its class in Milky Way. Nicknamed ULAS1350, this subdwarf could become on of the key element to improve our knowledge on the first steps of the formation of our Galaxy. The team of European astronomers responsible for the discovery, composed  of members of the Instituto de...

2009-12-03 08:15:00

Every cook knows the ingredients for making bread: flour, water, yeast, and time. But what chemical elements are in the recipe of our universe? Most of the ingredients are hydrogen and helium. These cosmic lightweights fill the first two spots on the famous periodic table of the elements. Less abundant but more familiar to us are the heavier elements, meaning everything listed on the periodic table after hydrogen and helium. These building blocks, such as iron and other metals, can be found...

2009-10-02 09:57:30

BOSS, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, is the most ambitious attempt yet to map the expansion history of the Universe using the technique known as baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO). A part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III), BOSS achieved "first light" on the night of September 14-15, when it acquired data with an upgraded spectrographic system across the entire focal plane of the Sloan Foundation 2.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. BOSS is...

2009-08-19 13:15:42

Data from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer spacecraft may force astronomers to discard the assumption that stars of certain sizes form in certain quantities. For decades, astronomers have believed the proportion of small to big stars was fixed. For every star 20 or more times as massive as the sun, for example, there should be 500 stars with the sun's mass or less. But that belief, based on years of research, has been shattered with data from the spacecraft's ultraviolet telescope. That data...

2009-05-20 09:45:00

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have succeeded in measuring the size of giant galaxy Messier 87 and were surprised to find that its outer parts have been stripped away by still unknown effects. The galaxy also appears to be on a collision course with another giant galaxy in this very dynamic cluster. The new observations reveal that Messier 87's halo of stars has been cut short, with a diameter of about a million light-years, significantly smaller than expected, despite being...

2009-02-18 14:18:42

There is more than one way to make a dwarf galaxy, and NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has found a new recipe. It has, for the first time, identified dwarf galaxies forming out of nothing more than pristine gas likely leftover from the early universe. Dwarf galaxies are relatively small collections of stars that often orbit around larger galaxies like our Milky Way. The findings surprised astronomers because most galaxies form in association with a mysterious substance called dark matter or...

2008-10-22 06:30:00

There's a universal tendency to heed Dylan Thomas's exhortation and go out with a bang instead of a whimper. Nowhere is this more evident than deep in the cosmos. When their time is up, stars make their exits in a number of flamboyant ways. The most massive stars leave with the greatest fanfare of all "“ blasting out gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), tremendous explosions that rock the Universe like nothing else. These spectacular blasts, second in power only to the Big Bang, occur when stars...

Word of the Day
  • One of a religious order living in a convent or in community; a monk: opposed to anchoret or hermit (one who lives in solitude).
  • A social bee.
This word comes from the Latin 'coenobium,' convent, which comes from the Greek 'koinobios,' living in community.