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10 Jun 2020, 19:41 UTC A new set of precision distance measurements made with an international collection of radio telescopes have greatly increased the likelihood that theorists need to revise the “standard model” that describes the fundamental nature of the Universe.The new distance measurements allowed astronomers to refine their calculation of the Hubble Constant, the expansion rate of the Universe, a value important for testing the theoretical model describing the composition and evolution of the Universe. The problem is that the new measurements exacerbate a discrepancy between previously measured values of the Hubble Constant and the value predicted by the model when applied to measurements of the cosmic microwave background made by the Planck satellite.“We find that galaxies are nearer than predicted by the standard model of cosmology, corroborating a problem identified in other types of distance measurements. There has been debate over whether this problem lies in the model itself or in the measurements used to test it. Our work uses a distance measurement technique completely independent of all others, and we reinforce the disparity between measured and predicted values. It is likely that the basic cosmological model involved in the predictions is the problem,” said James Braatz, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory ... Next Previous
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20 May 2020, 12:00 UTC Observations made with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) have revealed the telltale signs of a star system being born. Around the young star AB Aurigae lies a dense disc of dust and gas in which astronomers have spotted a prominent spiral structure with a ‘twist’ that marks the site where a planet may be forming. Next Previous
ESA Top News 9 Jul 2020, 08:10 UTC A collection of intriguing images based on data from ESA’s Herschel and Planck space telescopes show the influence of magnetic fields on the clouds of gas and dust where stars are forming. The images are part of a study by astronomer Juan D. Soler of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, who used data gathered during Planck’s all-sky observations and Herschel’s ‘Gould Belt Survey’. Both Herschel and Planck were instrumental in exploring the cool Universe, and shed light on the many complexities of the interstellar medium – the mix of gas and dust that fills the space between the stars in a galaxy. Both telescopes ended their operational lifetime in 2013, but new discoveries continue to be made from their treasure trove of data.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 2 Jul 2020, 12:00 UTC The spiral pattern shown by the galaxy in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is striking because of its delicate, feathery nature. These "flocculent" spiral arms indicate that the recent history of star formation of the galaxy, known as NGC 2775, has been relatively quiet. There is virtually no star formation in the central part of the galaxy, which is dominated by an unusually large and relatively empty galactic bulge, where all the gas was converted into stars long ago.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 30 Jun 2020, 15:00 UTC Measurements from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have enabled astronomers to greatly improve their understanding of the bizarre environment of KELT-9 b, one of the hottest planets known.
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy 29 Jun 2020, 15:55 UTC Betelgeuse, the bright star in the constellation of Orion, has been fascinating astronomers in the recent months because of its unusually strong decline in brightness. Scientists have been discussing a number of scenarios trying to explain its behaviour. Now a team led by Thavisha Dharmawardena of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have shown that most likely unusually large star spots on the surface of Betelgeuse have caused the dimming. Their results rule out the previous conjecture that it was dust, recently ejected by Betelgeuse, which obscured the star. The results are published today in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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Universe Today 8 Jul 2020, 17:19 UTC Neutrinos are puzzling things. They’re tiny particles, almost massless, with no electrical charge. They’re notoriously difficult to detect, too, and scientists have gone to great lengths to detect them. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, for instance, tries to detect neutrinos with strings of detectors buried down to a depth of 2450 meters (8000 ft.) in the dark Antarctic ice.
Many Worlds 7 Jul 2020, 16:38 UTC For space scientists of all stripes, few goals are as crucial as bringing pieces of Mars, of asteroids, of other planets and moons back to Earth for the kind of intensive study only possible here. Space missions can, and have, told us many truths about the solar system, but having a piece of Mars or Europa or an asteroid to study in a lab on Earth is considered the gold standard for learning about the actual composition of other bodies, their histories and whether they could — or once did — harbor life.
Bad Astronomy 7 Jul 2020, 13:00 UTC There is something paradoxical about the Moon. Or perhaps, more accurately, our perception of it.
Astro Bob 6 Jul 2020, 18:27 UTC Why wait around for Betelgeuse to blow up to see a supernova in your lifetime? If you have a 6-inch telescope and dark sky you can see one right now. Two actually. Both are visible in the western sky at nightfall in the neighboring constellations Virgo and Coma Berenices.