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Latest Stars Stories

95e2d1dd55aa9bb801c17966c4346ce0
2007-12-06 16:17:56

Imagine you are sitting around a campfire. Move closer to the fire, and you get hotter. Move away, and you get cooler. Pretty basic, right? Well, the closest star, our sun, doesn't seem to be getting this. As you move away from the solar surface, into the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, it actually gets a lot hotter before it cools off. The solar surface is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, while temperatures in the corona soar to millions of degrees. Although scientists have some ideas...

6371521debb99a80f8d898c1093abfef
2007-12-06 16:11:56

Cambridge, MA - 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.  Such eruptions can impact Earth, disrupting satellites, communications, and even power grids. Some predict the next solar cycle will be the most intense in 50 years. As a result, scientists are striving to understand the...

2007-12-04 11:08:49

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) celebrated its twelfth launch anniversary on 2 December 2007. The satellite has witnessed the Sun change through almost a complete solar cycle - from quiet to stormy, and back again. The solar cycle normally lasts about 11 years. In late 1996, shortly after its launch, SOHO was able to observe the last minimum of the 11-year activity cycle. The minimum was followed by a rapid rise in solar activity, peaking 2001 and 2002. Activity levels have...

6eb426e23610ca81638360b65ac04522
2007-12-04 09:45:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is providing strong evidence that white dwarfs, the burned out relics of stars, are given a "kick" when they form. The sharp vision of Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys uncovered the speedy white dwarfs in the ancient globular star cluster NGC 6397, a dense swarm of hundreds of thousands of stars. Before the stars burned-out as white dwarfs, they were among the most massive stars in NGC 6397. Because massive stars are thought to gather at a globular cluster's...

6765dccf3163a1a3d6b4a83f88477843
2007-12-02 18:47:17

Right in time for the festive season, ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has discovered a huge cloud of high-temperature gas resting in a spectacular nearby star-forming region, shaped somewhat like the silhouette of Santa Claus. An early present for astronomers, the cloud suggests that hot gas from many star-forming regions leaks into the interstellar medium. The Orion nebula is the nearest dense star-forming region to Earth that contains stars much more massive than the Sun. XMM-Newton's...

4189e8624b875e4453c9a75fec6dc69d
2007-11-01 10:00:00

Cambridge, MA - 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. They slowly spiraled inward until they merged, touching off a titanic explosion. CfA observations show the strongest evidence yet of what was, until now, a purely theoretical mechanism for creating a supernova. "This finding shows that nature may be richer than...

245a60779937f1d7ba8473d2d3d3e9721
2007-09-20 12:55:00

"We've never seen anything quite like it," says solar physicist Lika Guhathakurta from NASA headquarters. Last week she sat in an audience of nearly two hundred colleagues at the "Living with a Star" workshop in Boulder, Colorado, and watched in amazement as Saku Tsuneta of Japan played a movie of sunspot 10926 breaking through the turbulent surface of the sun. Before their very eyes an object as big as a planet materialized, and no one was prepared for the form it took. "It looks like a...

422356d97fae94885e4ff03d350780771
2007-09-13 00:00:00

Using NASA's Swift and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) satellites, astronomers have discovered one of the most bizarre planet-mass objects ever found. The object's minimum mass is only about 7 times the mass of Jupiter. But instead of orbiting a normal star, this low-mass body orbits a rapidly spinning pulsar. It orbits the pulsar every 54.7 minutes at an average distance of only about 230,000 miles (slightly less than the Earth-Moon distance). "This object is merely the skeleton of a...

e39d1fad5b3a57a98846e1b9ed536fc81
2007-08-13 11:35:00

A new study reveals correlations between plentiful sunspots and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. Intense rainfall in the region often leads to flooding and disease outbreaks. The findings shed light on how life on Earth can be affected by changes in the Solar System environment. Understanding the links between the Sun and Earth is also important for astrobiologists trying to define what conditions make a planet habitable. The analysis by a team of U.S. and British researchers shows that...

886bcd7d46f60fbe97759eaa3908104d1
2007-08-04 14:10:00

VLTI Snapshots Dusty Puff Around Variable Star Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer, astronomers from France and Brazil have detected a huge cloud of dust around a star. This observation is further evidence for the theory that such stellar puffs are the cause of the repeated extreme dimming of the star. R Coronae Borealis stars are supergiants exhibiting erratic variability. Named after the first star that showed such behaviour [1], they are more than 50 times larger than our Sun....


Latest Stars Reference Libraries

45_b2fdf71de8e2ca657775a41176f281dc
2009-03-03 21:30:30

Georg Friedrich Julius Arthur von Auwers (September 12, 1838 "“ January 24, 1915) was a German astronomer born in Göttingen, Germany. He attended the University of Göttingen and worked at the University of Königsberg. Auwers specialized in astrometry, making very precise measurements of stellar positions and motions. He detected the companion stars of Sirius and Procyon from their effects on the main star's motion, before telescopes were powerful enough to visually observe them....

0_f3f67f1a9c604fdd3e936cc46b6a745b
2009-03-03 21:08:51

Charles Greeley Abbot (May 31, 1872 "“ December 17, 1973) was an American astrophysicist and astronomer born in Wilton, New Hampshire. He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1891 and MIT in 1894, with a degree in chemical physics. In 1895 Abbot was hired by Samuel Pierpont Langley as an assistant at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) despite his lack of experience in astronomy. Hired originally for his laboratory skills, Abbot became acting director of the SAO in 1896. When...

10_d51df03ebdda35e467e058f54046930e2
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Triangulum Australe Constellation -- Triangulum Australe, the Southern Triangle, is completely visible in latitudes south of 20 degrees north from April through June. Its three brightest stars have been called the "Three Patriarchs", Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It can easily be recognized by its shape, or asterism. This is one of the 12 southern constellations named by Johann Bayer in the early 1600's. The three bright stars in this constellation are so recognizable that they can be...

10_75c58c2c2fd5ac3f2e9b2cacc5e4ae8a2
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Serpens Constellation -- Serpens (the snake) is one of the 88 modern constellations, and was also one of the 48 listed by Ptolemy. Among the modern constellations it is unique in being split into two pieces, Serpens Caput (representing the head of the snake) to the west and Serpens Cauda (representing the tail) to the east. Between these two pieces lies the constellation of Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. Notable features Since Serpens is regarded as being one constellation...

10_eef4d8c6561bd5850d555248eb08faeb2
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Scorpius Constellation -- Scorpius (the scorpion) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. In western astrology it is known as "Scorpio." It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It is a large constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the center of the Milky Way. Notable features Scorpius contains many bright stars, including Antares (α Sco), Graffias (β1 Sco), Dschubba (δ Sco), Sargas (θ Sco), Shaula (λ Sco), Jabah (ν Sco),...

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Word of the Day
barghest
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).
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