Popular Science articles about Astronomy & Space

Radio telescopes settle controversy over distance to Pleiades

Astronomers have used a worldwide network of radio telescopes to resolve a controversy over the distance to a famous star cluster -- a controversy that posed a potential challenge to scientists' basic understanding of how stars form and evolve. The...

Orion rocks! Pebble-size particles may jump-start planet formation

Radio/optical composite of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex showing the OMC-2/3 star-forming filament. GBT data is shown in orange. Uncommonly large dust grains there may kick-start planet formation.Rocky planets like Earth start out as microscopic bits of dust tinier than a grain of sand, or so theories predict.

Best view yet of merging galaxies in distant universe

ALMA, the VLA, and other telescopes used gravitational lensing to obtain the best view yet of a collision that took place between two galaxies when the Universe was only half its current age. These new studies of the galaxy H-ATLAS J142935.3-002836 have shown that this complex and distant object looks surprisingly like the well-known local galaxy collision, the Antennae Galaxies. The foreground galaxy is doing the lensing and around it is an almost complete ring — the smeared out image of a star-forming galaxy merger far beyond. This picture combines the views from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck-II telescope on Hawaii (using adaptive optics) along with the ALMA images shown in red. The ALMA data also give information about the motions of the material in the distant merging galaxies and were vital in unravelling the complex object.An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) -- among other telescopes -- has obtained the best...

Electric sparks may alter evolution of lunar soil

The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by University of New Hampshire and NASA scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles...

Solar salad, anyone?

Natalie Hinkel gives a plenary talk at the Cool Stars 18 meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz. about her paper on the Hypatia Catalog.An Arizona State University alumna has devised the largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions. Called the Hypatia Catalog, after one of the first female astronomers who lived ~350 AD...

New Milky Way maps help solve stubborn interstellar material mystery

An international team of sky scholars, including a key researcher from Johns Hopkins, has produced new maps of the material located between the stars in the Milky Way. The results...

University of Tennessee research uncovers forces that hold gravity-defying near-earth asteroid together

This is a asteroid 1950 DA.Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have made a novel discovery that may potentially protect the world from future collisions with asteroids.

All-you-can-eat at the end of the universe

Dense cold gas (green) flows toward the center of a stellar cluster (red cross in blue circle) with stars (yellow); the erratic path of the black hole through the gas (black line) is randomized by the surrounding stars.At the ends of the Universe there are black holes with masses equaling billions of our sun. These giant bodies -- quasars -- feed on interstellar gas, swallowing large quantities...

A hellacious two weeks on Jupiter's moon Io

These are images of Io obtained at different infrared wavelengths (in microns, μm, or millionths of a meter) with the W. M. Keck Observatory's 10-meter Keck II telescope on Aug. 15, 2013 (a-c) and the Gemini North telescope on Aug. 29, 2013 (d). The bar on the right of each image indicates the intensity of the infrared emission. Note that emissions from the large volcanic outbursts on Aug. 15 at Rarog and Heno Paterae have substantially faded by Aug. 29. A second bright spot is visible to the north of the Rarog and Heno eruptions in c and to the west of the outburst in d. This hot spot was identified as Loki Patera, a lava lake that appeared to be particularly active at the same time.Three massive volcanic eruptions occurred on Jupiter's moon Io within a two-week period in August of last year. This led astronomers to speculate that such "outbursts," which can send material...

Best evidence yet for coronal heating theory detected by NASA sounding rocket

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of what the sun looked like on April 23, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. EDT when the EUNIS mission launched. EUNIS focused on an active region of the sun, seen as bright loops in the upper right in this picture.Scientists have recently gathered some of the strongest evidence to date to explain what makes the sun's outer atmosphere so much hotter than its surface. The new observations of the...

Hubble shows farthest lensing galaxy yields clues to early universe

The farthest cosmic lens yet found, a massive elliptical galaxy, is shown in the inset image at left. The galaxy existed 9.6 billion years ago and belongs to the galaxy cluster, IRC 0218.Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have unexpectedly discovered the most distant galaxy that acts as a cosmic magnifying glass. Seen here as it looked 9.6 billion years ago, this...

A radioactive decay chain and the spectrum obtained by the INTEGRAL observatory. Note the scale of the vertical axis -- about one gamma quantum an hour per 1cm2!

What lit up the universe?

A computer model shows one scenario for how light is spread through the early universe on vast scales (more than 50 million light years across). Astronomers will soon know whether or not these kinds of computer models give an accurate portrayal of light in the real cosmos.New research from UCL shows we will soon uncover the origin of the ultraviolet light that bathes the cosmos, helping scientists understand how galaxies were built.

Spectacular supernova's mysteries revealed

New research by a team of UK and European-based astronomers is helping to solve the mystery of what caused a spectacular supernova in a galaxy 11 million light years away,...

Toothpaste fluorine formed in stars

The fluorine that is found in products such as toothpaste was likely formed billions of years ago in now dead stars of the same type as our sun. This has...

Astrophysicists detect destruction of 3 stars by black holes

Researchers from MIPT and the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have reported registering three possible occasions of thetidal destruction of stars by supermassive black holes at...

Three radars are better than one: Field campaign demonstrates two new instruments

HIWRAP was developed by Goddard's High Altitude Radar Group. The team includes (left to right): Lihua Li, Gerry McIntire, Michael Coon, Matthew McLinden, Gerry Heymsfield and Martin Perrine. McLinden led the work on the Cloud Radar System and Li led the work on EXRAD.Putting three radars on a plane to measure rainfall may seem like overkill. But for the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment field campaign in North Carolina recently, more definitely was...

Follow the radio waves to exomoons, UT Arlington physicists say

This is a schematic of a plasma torus around an exoplanet, which is created by the ions injected from an exomoon's ionosphere into the planet's magnetosphere.Scientists hunting for life beyond Earth have discovered more than 1,800 planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, in recent years, but so far, no one has been able to...

NASA's Hubble finds supernova star system linked to potential 'zombie star'

The two inset images show before-and-after images captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of Supernova 2012Z in the spiral galaxy NGC 1309. The white X at the top of the main image marks the location of the supernova in the galaxy.Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has spotted a star system that could have left behind a "zombie star" after an unusually weak supernova explosion.

Baby universe picture brought closer to theory

Last year, the Planck Telescope revealed the most detailed picture of the cosmic microwave background, the relic radiation from the Big Bang. But this map contains features that challenge the...

Companion planets can increase old worlds' chance at life

Having a companion in old age is good for people -- and, it turns out, might extend the chance for life on certain Earth-sized planets in the cosmos as well.

Fermi satellite detects gamma-rays from exploding novae

This picture is an artist's conception of the explosion of V407 Cyg. It shows the white dwarf exploding inside the outer layers of its nearby companion star.The Universe is home to a variety of exotic objects and beautiful phenomena, some of which can generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy. ASU Regents' Professor Sumner Starrfield is part...

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