9 Jan 2019, 22:15 UTC Next Previous
9 Jan 2019, 22:14 UTC On Nov. 22, 2014, astronomers spotted a rare event in the night sky: A supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy, nearly 300 million light-years from Earth, ripping apart a passing star. The event, known as a tidal disruption flare, for the black hole’s massive tidal pull that tears a star apart, created a burst of X-ray activity near the center of the galaxy. Since then, a host of observatories have trained their sights on the event, in hopes of learning more about how black holes feed. Now researchers at MIT and elsewhere have pored through data from multiple telescopes’ observations of the event, and discovered a curiously intense, stable, and periodic pulse, or signal, of X-rays, across all datasets. The signal appears to emanate from an area very close to the black hole’s event horizon — the point beyond which material is swallowed inescapably by the black hole. The signal appears to periodically brighten and fade every 131 seconds, and persists over at least 450 days. The researchers believe that whatever is emitting the periodic signal must be orbiting the black hole, just outside the event horizon, near the Innermost Stable Circular Orbit, or ISCO — the ... Next Previous
9 Jan 2019, 16:02 UTC Next Previous
7 Jan 2019, 17:00 UTC The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the most detailed image yet of a close neighbour of the Milky Way — the Triangulum Galaxy, a spiral galaxy located at a distance of only three million light-years. This panoramic survey of the third-largest galaxy in our Local Group of galaxies provides a mesmerising view of the 40 billion stars that make up one of the most distant objects visible to the naked eye. Next Previous
31 Dec 2018, 16:08 UTC Using observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers have observed, for the first time, a warped disk around an infant protostar that formed just several tens of thousands of years ago. This implies that the misalignment of planetary orbits in many planetary systems, including our own, may be caused by distortions in the planet-forming disk early in their existence.The planets in the Solar System orbit the Sun in planes that are at most about seven degrees offset from the equator of the Sun itself. It has been known for some time that many extrasolar systems have planets that are not lined up in a single plane or with the equator of the star. One explanation for this is that some of the planets might have been affected by collisions with other objects in the system or by stars passing by the system, ejecting them from the initial plane.However, the possibility remained that the formation of planets out of the normal plane was actually caused by a warping of the star-forming cloud out of which the planets were born. Recently, images of protoplanetary disks, rotating disks where planets form around a star, have in fact showed such ... Next Previous
20 Dec 2018, 15:00 UTC Next Previous
13 Dec 2018, 15:00 UTC Next Previous
12 Dec 2018, 19:09 UTC On Dec. 21, at 8:49:48 a.m. PST (11:49:48 a.m. EST) NASA's Juno spacecraft will be 3,140 miles (5,053 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops and hurtling by at a healthy clip of 128,802 mph (207,287 kilometers per hour). This will be the 16th science pass of the gas giant and will mark the solar-powered spacecraft's halfway point in data collection during its prime mission. Next Previous
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 17 Jan 2019, 19:01 UTC The rings of Saturn may be iconic, but there was a time when the majestic gas giant existed without its distinctive halo. In fact, the rings may have formed much later than the planet itself, according to a new analysis of gravity science data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
Cherenkov Telescope Array
CTA Prototype Telescope, the Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope, Inaugurated at Whipple Observatory in Arizona17 Jan 2019, 11:30 UTC On 17 January 2019, a prototype telescope proposed for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (pSCT) is being unveiled in a special inauguration event at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in Amado, Arizona. A dual-mirrored Medium-Sized Telescope, the SCT is proposed to cover the middle of CTA’s energy range (80 GeV – 50 TeV).
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 15 Jan 2019, 19:30 UTC NASA has moved closer to conducting science operations again with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, which suspended operations on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Today, Jan. 15, the instrument was brought back to its operations mode.
New Horizons 15 Jan 2019, 05:16 UTC This movie shows the propeller-like rotation of Ultima Thule in the seven hours between 20:00 UT (3 p.m. ET) on Dec. 31, 2018, and 05:01 UT (12:01 a.m.) on Jan. 1, 2019, as seen by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons as the spacecraft sped toward its close encounter with the Kuiper Belt object at 05:33 UT (12:33 a.m. ET) on Jan. 1.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 14 Jan 2019, 19:30 UTC Astronomers have discovered behavior by a jet from a giant black hole that has never been seen before. Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory they have observed a jet that bounced off a wall of gas and then punched a hole in a cloud of energetic particles. This behavior can tell scientists more about how jets from black holes interact with their surroundings.
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Universe Today 18 Jan 2019, 21:06 UTC The Cassini mission to Saturn ended in September 2017, but the data it gathered during its 13 year mission is still yielding scientific results. On the heels of a newly-released global image of Saturn’s moon Titancomes another discovery: Rainfall at Titan’s north pole.
Astronotes 18 Jan 2019, 17:12 UTC At the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium we have been having a look at all the things that are going to happen throughout the year and trying to select some of the events that we are most looking forward to. Needless to say this was a hard task, but we have managed to come up with a top 10 list for you!
The Planetary Society Blog 18 Jan 2019, 12:00 UTC Honeybee Robotics has successfully completed a second round of testing on a next-generation drill that might one day burrow deep beneath icy planetary surfaces. The work, which took place in December 2018, builds on a 2015 Planetary Society-sponsored test, and paves the way for an ambitious drilling expedition in Greenland this year.
ESO Blog 18 Jan 2019, 11:00 UTC Although they look like fuzzy patches of light, distant galaxies are actually made up of billions of stars and other astronomical intricacies. Telescopes are rarely powerful enough to study the individual stars in galaxies except for those closest to the Milky Way, but a team of scientists has now used the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to resolve the stars in the spiral galaxy NGC 300. By telling the story of how astronomy has reached this point, team member Martin M. Roth from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam helps us understand why this result is so exciting.
Universe Today 17 Jan 2019, 23:59 UTC CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, wants to build a particle collider that will dwarf the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC has made important discoveries, and planned upgrades to its power ensures it will keep working on physics problems into the future. But eventually, it won’t be enough to unlock the secrets of physics. Eventually, we’ll need something larger and more powerful.