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Latest Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Stories

Heavy Metals In The Infant Universe
2013-08-07 05:55:59

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A star exploded more than 12 billion years ago, ripping itself apart and blasting debris outward in twin jets at nearly the speed of light. The star shone so brightly at its death that it outshone its entire galaxy by a million times. This flash of light traveled across space for 12.7 billion years to a planet that hadn't even existed at the time of the explosion - our Earth. Astronomers have analyzed this light to learn about a galaxy...

Gold Created By Colliding Stars
2013-07-18 04:18:47

[ Watch the Video: Merging Neutron Stars ] redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online A gamma-ray burst (GRB) created by the collision of two neutron stars has given researchers new insight into how gold, one of the rarest elements on Earth, and in the entire universe, is formed. Lead author Edo Berger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and his colleagues explain that unlike elements such as carbon or iron, gold cannot be created inside of a star....

Suck It Up! Sun Provides Insight Into How Young Stars Grow
2013-06-21 04:26:50

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Our Sun erupted on June 7, 2011, sending tons of hot plasma blasting into space. Some of the plasma fell back to the surface of the Sun, sparking bright flashes of ultraviolet light. A new study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) examines the dramatic event to provide new insights into how young stars grow by consuming nearby gas. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the eruption and subsequent...

Black Hole Count Keeps Growing For The Andromeda Galaxy
2013-06-13 06:10:47

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Astronomers have discovered an unprecedented number of black holes in the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), one of the Milky Way´s nearest cosmic neighbors, using data from NASA´s Chandra X-ray Observatory. By analyzing more than 150 Chandra observations taken over 13 years, the research team has identified 26 black hole candidates. This is the largest number discovered to date in a galaxy outside our own. Many scientists consider...

Star Songs Plucked From The Cosmos
2013-06-01 05:44:51

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have blended science, technology and art to create a unique new website that allows people to listen to original musical compositions crafted from cosmic x-rays. The Star Songs website was published by research associate Gerhard Sonnert, who worked with University of Glasgow postdoctoral student Wanda Diaz-Merced and composer Volkmar Studtrucker on the project....

Exoplanets In Our Own Back Yard?
2013-02-06 11:04:34

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Astronomers using NASA's Kepler space telescope have found that six percent of red dwarf stars have habitable, Earth-like planets. Red dwarfs are considered to be the most abundant stars in our galaxy, so it is feasible that one of these Earth-like planets could be just 13 light-years away, when taking into account the astronomers new research published in The Astrophysical Journal. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics...

Dense Cloud Defies Rules Of Star Formation
2013-01-13 09:53:05

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online An unusually dense cloud located near the center of the galaxy does not appear to be forming any massive stars, astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered, and that behavior has them puzzled as it appears to defy the rules of star formation. The cloud, which the researchers have named G0.253+0.016, is located in the vicinity of a supermassive black hole three millions times as massive as...

2012-06-13 14:32:55

Building a terrestrial planet requires raw materials that weren't available in the early history of the universe. The Big Bang filled space with hydrogen and helium. Chemical elements like silicon and oxygen - key components of rocks - had to be cooked up over time by stars. But how long did that take? How many of such heavy elements do you need to form planets? Previous studies have shown that Jupiter-sized gas giants tend to form around stars containing more heavy elements than the Sun....

Growth Found to be Out of Synch For Black Hole
2012-06-12 11:42:59

New evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory challenges prevailing ideas about how supermassive black holes grow in the centers of galaxies. Astronomers long have thought that a supermassive black hole and the bulge of stars at the center of its host galaxy grow at the same rate -- the bigger the bulge, the bigger the black hole. A new study of Chandra data has revealed two nearby galaxies whose supermassive black holes are growing faster than the galaxies themselves. The mass of a...


Word of the Day
omadhaun
  • A fool; a simpleton: a term of abuse common in Ireland and to a less extent in the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland.
This word is partly Irish in origin.