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
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.
ESO Top News 11 Jan 2019, 11:00 UTC Since it opened in April 2018, the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre has shared the wonders of the Universe with more than 55 000 visitors and captured the attention of audiences from around the globe. Now, the ESO Supernova’s extensive library of high-resolution images, stunning videos, educational texts and planetarium resources, as well as a digital version of its state-of-the-art astronomical exhibition, have been made freely available online.
ESA Top News 10 Jan 2019, 22:15 UTC ESA’s high-energy space telescopes Integral and XMM-Newton have helped to find a source of powerful X-rays at the centre of an unprecedentedly bright and rapidly evolving stellar explosion that suddenly appeared in the sky earlier this year.
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Sky and Telescope 16 Jan 2019, 15:50 UTC A cosmic lens has magnified light from a distant quasar, making it shine with brightness of 600 trillion Suns, astronomers report in a study published in the January 9th Astrophysical Journal Letters. That makes it “the brightest object in cosmic dawn,” says study author Xiaohui Fan (University of Arizona), and it’s giving astronomers an unprecedented look at the formation of supermassive black holes and their galaxies in the early universe.
Bad Astronomy 16 Jan 2019, 14:00 UTC New observations of a young, nearby red dwarf star indicate that any planets forming there may get scoured clean of water and other materials before they even get a chance to cool down after forming. If this is the case, it implies that life on these kinds of planets may be more rare than we first thought. Given that planets around red dwarfs are probably the most common in the Universe, this news, well, kinda sucks.
ESO Announcements 16 Jan 2019, 09:00 UTC Work on the elaborate optics of ESO’s 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has taken a major step forwards following the successful casting, annealing, ceramization, machining and acid-etching of the substrate for the ELT’s secondary mirror, M2. This massive 3-ton mirror blank has been successfully machined from a slab of the low-expansion ceramic material ZERODURⓇ into its near-final form by the German company SCHOTT . The creation of this technological masterpiece was a challenging process, requiring state-of-the-art CNC machines to correctly grind the mirror blank. Now, safely stowed in an extra-large transport box, the blank is being shipped to France for final grinding and polishing by Safran Reosc.