Latest Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Stories
Astronomers have discovered that rocky, terrestrial planets might orbit many, if not most, of the nearby sun-like stars in the disk of our galaxy. These new results suggest that worlds with potential for life are more common that we thought.
Newborn stars peek out from beneath their natal blanket of dust in this dynamic image of the Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Called "Rho Oph" by astronomers, it's one of the closest star-forming regions to our own solar system.
170 light-years away from earth exists a particularly puzzling orbiting object. This object, 2M1207B, seems to be physically impossible. Nothing about it matches any established astronomical theory.
Having the sharpest pictures always is a big advantage, and a sophisticated radio-astronomy technique using continent-wide and even intercontinental arrays of telescopes is yielding extremely valuable scientific results in a wide range of specialties.
Our planet is changing before our eyes, and as a result, many species are living on the edge. Yet Earth has been on the edge of habitability from the beginning.
The Sun is minimally active right now, but this quiet state of affairs won't last for long. Over the next few years, the number of solar flares and eruptions known as coronal mass ejections will increase until reaching solar maximum in 2011 or 2012.
Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have found that a supernova discovered last year was caused by two colliding white dwarf stars. The white dwarfs were siblings orbiting each other.
Using two NASA satellites, astronomers have discovered a black hole that obliterates a record announced just two weeks ago. The new black hole, with a mass 24 to 33 times that of our Sun, is the heftiest known black hole that orbits another star.
The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) are two of the Milky Way's closest neighboring galaxies. A stunning sight in the southern hemisphere, they were named after Ferdinand Magellan, who explored those waters in the 16th century.
By combining the capabilities of several telescopes, astronomers have spotted extremely bright galaxies hiding in the distant, young universe.
- A morbid dread of being buried alive. Also spelled 'taphiphobia'.