Gemini Observatory 2 Aug 2018, 16:59 UTC Observations from the Gemini South and other telescopes in Chile played a critical role in understanding light echoes from a stellar eruption which occurred almost 200 years ago. Gemini spectroscopy shows that ejected material from the blast is the fastest ever seen from a star that remained intact.
Carl Sagan Institute 31 Jul 2018, 13:01 UTC Earthbound detectives rely on fingerprints to solve their cases; now astronomers can do the same, using “light-fingerprints” instead of skin grooves to uncover the mysteries of exoplanets. Cornell researchers have created a reference catalog using calibrated spectra and geometric albedos (the light reflected by a surface) of 19 of the most diverse bodies in our solar system: all eight planets, from rocky to gaseous; nine moons, from frozen to lava spewing; and two dwarf planets, one in the asteroid belt (Ceres) and one in the Kuiper belt (Pluto).
New Horizons 31 Jul 2018, 05:15 UTC Successfully observing an object from more than four billion miles away is difficult, yet NASA's New Horizons mission team is banking that they can do that—again. Preparations are on track for a final set of stellar occultation observations to gather as much information about the size, shape, environment, and other conditions around New Horizons' next flyby target, the ancient Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule
NASA: Kepler News and Features 30 Jul 2018, 17:59 UTC We can’t hear it with our ears, but the stars in the sky are performing a concert, one that never stops. The biggest stars make the lowest, deepest sounds, like tubas and double basses. Small stars have high-pitched voices, like celestial flutes. These virtuosos don’t just play one "note" at a time, either -- our own Sun has thousands of different sound waves bouncing around inside it at any given moment. Understanding these stellar harmonies represents a revolution in astronomy. By "listening" for stellar sound waves with telescopes, scientists can figure out what stars are made of, how old they are, how big they are and how they contribute to the evolution of our Milky Way galaxy as a whole. The technique is called asteroseismology. Just as earthquakes (or Earth’s seismic waves) tell us about the inside of Earth, stellar waves -- resulting in vibrations or "star quakes" -- reveal the secret inner workings of stars.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 30 Jul 2018, 17:07 UTC This image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) shows a beautiful spiral galaxy called NGC 6744. At first glance, it resembles our Milky Way albeit larger, measuring more than 200,000 light-years across compared to a 100,000-light-year diameter for our home galaxy.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) 30 Jul 2018, 15:00 UTC When two Sun-like stars collide, the result can be a spectacular explosion and the formation of an entirely new star. One such event was seen from Earth in 1670. It appeared to observers as a bright, red “new star.” Though initially visible with the naked eye, this burst of cosmic light quickly faded and now requires powerful telescopes to see the remains of this merger: a dim central star surrounded by a halo of glowing material flowing away from it. Approximately 348 years after this event, an international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the NOEMA (Northern Extended Millimeter Array) radio telescopes studied the remains of this explosive stellar merger — known as CK Vulpeculae (CK Vul) — and discovered the clear and convincing signature of a radioactive version of aluminum (26Al, an atom with 13 protons and 13 neutron) bound with atoms of fluorine, forming 26-aluminum monofluoride (26AlF).
ESO Top News 30 Jul 2018, 15:00 UTC Astronomers using ALMA and NOEMA have made the first definitive detection of a radioactive molecule in interstellar space. The radioactive part of the molecule is an isotope of aluminium. The observations reveal that the isotope was dispersed into space after the collision of two stars, that left behind a remnant known as CK Vulpeculae. This is the first time that a direct observation has been made of this element from a known source. Previous identifications of this isotope have come from the detection of gamma rays, but their precise origin had been unknown.
Universities Space Research Association 30 Jul 2018, 13:20 UTC At 11:09 pm on July 19, 2018 (Western Australia Time), Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, passed in front of a distant star, creating an eclipse. That eclipse was visible on Earth as a shadow that passed across a narrow strip of land and ocean. This rare astronomical event lasted a total of only 4 minutes.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) 26 Jul 2018, 15:00 UTC Astronomers using ALMA studied a cataclysmic stellar explosion known as a gamma-ray burst, or GRB, and found its enduring “afterglow.” The rebound, or reverse shock, triggered by the GRB’s powerful jets slamming into surrounding debris, lasted thousands of times longer than expected. These observations provide fresh insights into the physics of GRBs, one of the universe’s most energetic explosions.