NEWS

An image of a galaxy’s magnetic field

03.08.2020
There’s always more than one way to look at the world. There’s also more than one way to look at a galaxy. And sometimes combining those ways of looking can result in something truly special. That is what happened recently when a team of astronomers from seven different universities in four different countries used three …

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Stunning space butterfly captured by ESO telescope

03.08.2020
Resembling a butterfly with its symmetrical structure, beautiful colours, and intricate patterns, this striking bubble of gas — known as NGC 2899 — appears to float and flutter across the sky in this new picture from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). This object has never before been imaged in such striking detail, with even the …

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ALMA finds possible sign of neutron star in supernova 1987A

03.08.2020
Two teams of astronomers have made a compelling case in the 33-year-old mystery surrounding Supernova 1987A. Based on observations of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and a theoretical follow-up study, the scientists provide new insight for the argument that a neutron star is hiding deep inside the remains of the exploded star. This would …

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New approach refines the Hubble’s constant and age of universe

03.08.2020
Using known distances of 50 galaxies from Earth to refine calculations in Hubble’s constant, a research team led by a University of Oregon astronomer estimates the age of the universe at 12.6 billion years. Approaches to date the Big Bang, which gave birth to the universe, rely on mathematics and computational modeling, using distance estimates …

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Hubble snaps ghostly galaxy

27.07.2020
A notable feature of most spiral galaxies is the multitude of arching spiral arms that seemingly spin out from the galaxy’s center. In this image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the stunning silvery-blue spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 4848 are observed in immense detail. Not only do we see the inner section of the spiral …

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Spectacular UV flash may explain how white dwarfs explode

27.07.2020
For only the second time ever, astrophysicists have spotted a spectacular flash of ultraviolet (UV) light accompanying a white dwarf explosion. An extremely rare type of supernova, the event is poised to offer insights into several long-standing mysteries, including what causes white dwarfs to explode, how dark energy accelerates the cosmos and how the universe …

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A black hole popping out of a traversable wormhole should give off a very specific signal in gravitational waves

27.07.2020
Gravitational wave astronomy has changed the way we view the cosmos. In only a few years we have observed the collisions of black holes and neutron stars, confirming our theoretical understanding of these strange objects. But as gravitational wave astronomy matures, it will allow us to probe the very nature of space and time itself. …

A black hole popping out of a traversable wormhole should give off a very specific signal in gravitational waves Read More »

The contradiction of a low-mass massive black hole

27.07.2020
The black holes we’ve observed in the universe typically fall into two categories: small star-sized black holes, and gargantuan black holes lurking at the centers of galaxies. Now, a new black-hole discovery sheds some light on the gray area between these extremes. Stellar-mass black holes of up to 100 solar masses are scattered by the …

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Supernovae shockwaves aren’t spherical

21.07.2020
When stars blow up, they tend to release their energy in a roughly spherical shape. But much after the initial blast, the resulting shock waves can sometimes be elongated in one direction. A team of theorists used laboratory lasers to identify the potential culprit: magnetic fields. What could possibly tell a supernova blast what to …

Supernovae shockwaves aren’t spherical Read More »

Separating gamma-ray bursts

21.07.2020
By applying a machine-learning algorithm, scientists at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, have developed a method to classify all gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), rapid highly energetic explosions in distant galaxies, without needing to find an afterglow—by which GRBs are presently categorized. This breakthrough may prove key in finally discovering the origins of these mysterious …

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The formation of massive stars

21.07.2020
Stellar physics is a broad field that touches on a range of phenomena from magnetic fields to radiative processes and thermonuclear fusion to plasmas. Stars form through the gravitational collapse of cold, dense, dusty protostellar cores, themselves embedded in thick molecular clouds or filaments. Massive stars, defined as those with a mass greater than 8 …

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Enormous structure in the Universe called the South pole wall

20.07.2020
Galaxies aren’t spread evenly throughout space. They exist in groups, clusters, and superclusters. Our own Milky Way galaxy exists in an impossibly vast structure called the Laniakea supercluster. Laniakea was defined in 2014, and it contains over 100,000 galaxies. Now a team of astronomers have discovered another immense feature beyond Laniakea, called the South Pole …

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Scientists propose plan to determine if Planet Nine is a primordial black hole

13.07.2020
Scientists at Harvard University and the Black Hole Initiative (BHI) have developed a new method to find black holes in the outer solar system, and along with it, determine once-and-for-all the true nature of the hypothesized Planet Nine. The paper, accepted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters, highlights the ability of the future Legacy Survey of …

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Shining bright through the ages

13.07.2020
Type Ia supernova distances are in play in a rather contentious part of astronomy: measurements of the Hubble constant. The value of the Hubble constant is measured in one of two ways: using the cosmic microwave background (CMB), and using Type Ia supernovae and variable stars called Cepheids to measure the distances and velocities of …

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A giant galaxy seen lighting up the Universe shortly after the Big Bang

13.07.2020
One of the biggest cosmological mysteries right now is when “cosmic reionization” began. To find out, astronomers have been looking deeper into the cosmos (and farther back in time) to spot the first visible galaxies. Thanks to new research by a team of astronomers from University College London (UCL), a luminous galaxy has been observed …

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Detecting the neutrinos from a supernova that’s about to explode

13.07.2020
Neutrinos have a relationship with supernovae, massive stars that explode at the end of their lives. Neutrinos may have a role in triggering the eventual supernovae explosions of these stars. For that and many other reasons, astronomers are deeply curious about them. A new study looked at what are called “pre-supernova neutrinos” which can be …

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Dying stars breathe life into Earth: study

07.07.2020
The origin of carbon, an element essential to life on Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy is still debated among astrophysicists: some are in favor of low-mass stars that blew off their carbon-rich envelopes by stellar winds became white dwarfs, and others place the major site of carbon’s synthesis in the winds of massive stars …

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Hubble spots feathered spiral

07.07.2020
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 …

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Scientists detect rapid changes in a black hole that may explain gamma-ray bursts

07.07.2020
Probing black hole magnetic fields billions of light-years away from Earth requires very sensitive devices and to find the exact moment when the emission of high energy takes place. This is precisely what the research team led by Iván Martí-Vidal, CIDEGENT researcher of the Valencian Government at the Astronomical Observatory and the Department of Astronomy …

Scientists detect rapid changes in a black hole that may explain gamma-ray bursts Read More »

A cosmic mystery: ESO telescope captures the disappearance of a massive star

07.07.2020
Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have discovered the absence of an unstable massive star in a dwarf galaxy. Scientists think this could indicate that the star became less bright and partially obscured by dust. An alternative explanation is that the star collapsed into a black hole without producing a supernova. …

A cosmic mystery: ESO telescope captures the disappearance of a massive star Read More »

Astronomers investigate chemical composition of a nearby star-forming dwarf galaxy

29.06.2020
Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have probed the chemical composition of a nearby metal-poor star-forming dwarf galaxy known as JKB 18. Results of the new observations indicate that the galaxy is chemically inhomogeneous. Studies of spatial distribution of metals in the gas throughout galaxies could be essential to improve our understanding of galaxy …

Astronomers investigate chemical composition of a nearby star-forming dwarf galaxy Read More »

Hubble sees a cosmic flapping “Bat shadow”

29.06.2020
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured a striking image of a fledgling star’s unseen, planet-forming disk casting a huge shadow across a more distant cloud in a star-forming region. The young star is called HBC 672, and the shadow feature was nicknamed the “Bat Shadow” because it resembles a pair of wings. The nickname turned out …

Hubble sees a cosmic flapping “Bat shadow” Read More »

Monster black hole found in the early universe

29.06.2020
Astronomers have discovered the second-most distant quasar ever found using three Maunakea Observatories in Hawai’i: W. M. Keck Observatory, the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, and the University of Hawai’i-owned United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT). It is the first quasar to receive an indigenous Hawaiian name, Poniua’ena, which means “unseen spinning source …

Monster black hole found in the early universe Read More »

Mapping the Early Universe with NASA’s Webb Telescope

29.06.2020
Astronomers and engineers have designed telescopes, in part, to be “time travelers.” The farther away an object is, the longer its light takes to reach Earth. Peering back in time is one reason why NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope specializes in collecting infrared light: These longer wavelengths, which were initially emitted by stars and …

Mapping the Early Universe with NASA’s Webb Telescope Read More »

Japanese dark matter detector is seeing a “Surprising Excess of Events”

22.06.2020
Dark matter is notoriously difficult to detect. So difficult that we haven’t detected it yet. Evidence for dark matter can be seen in everything from the warping of light near galaxies to the way galaxies cluster together. We are pretty sure dark matter is real, but we also know it can’t be made of any …

Japanese dark matter detector is seeing a “Surprising Excess of Events” Read More »

Our deepest view of the X-ray sky

22.06.2020
Over the course of 182 days, the eROSITA X-ray telescope has completed its first full sweep of the sky which it embarked upon about a year ago. This new map of the hot, energetic universe contains more than one million objects, roughly doubling the number of known X-ray sources discovered over the 60-year history of …

Our deepest view of the X-ray sky Read More »

A cosmic baby is discovered, and it’s brilliant

22.06.2020
Astronomers recently discovered remarkable neutron star known as Swift J1818.0−1607. A new study estimates that it is only about 240 years old — a veritable newborn by cosmic standards. NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory spotted the young object on March 12, when it released a massive burst of X-rays. Follow-up studies by the European Space …

A cosmic baby is discovered, and it’s brilliant Read More »

Spotted: A Galactic PeVatron?

22.06.2020
When PeV particles accelerated by a galactic PeVatron collide with gas and dust in the vicinity of their origin, they should produce very high-energy tera-electron-volt (TeV, or 10^12 eV) gamma-ray photons. These photon by-products won’t be deflected by magnetic fields, so their arrival at gamma-ray observatories on Earth provides a clearer path back to the …

Spotted: A Galactic PeVatron? Read More »

Scientists close in on 12-billion-year-old signal from the end of the universe’s ‘dark age’

15.06.2020
Today, stars fill the night sky. But when the universe was in its infancy, it contained no stars at all. And an international team of scientists is closer than ever to detecting, measuring and studying a signal from this era that has been traveling through the cosmos ever since that starless era ended some 13 …

Scientists close in on 12-billion-year-old signal from the end of the universe’s ‘dark age’ Read More »

This is a binary star in the process of formation

15.06.2020
Inside the Rho Ophiuchi dark nebula lies a binary system named IRAS 16293-2422 A. Though it’s already a widely-studied object, previous studies produced some conflicting results. Different observations at different wavelengths showed multiple compact sources of radiation at different locations. The thick dust was making things difficult. This study went further than previous studies. ALMA …

This is a binary star in the process of formation Read More »

Powerful X-ray flare detected from the protostar HOPS 383

15.06.2020
Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, astronomers have conducted X-ray observations and near-infrared imaging of a protostar named HOPS 383. The monitoring campaign detected a powerful X-ray flare from the source, which could help astronomers to better understand the earliest stages of star formation. The so-called Class 0 objects …

Powerful X-ray flare detected from the protostar HOPS 383 Read More »

Neutron stars could have a layer of exotic quark matter inside them

15.06.2020
Neutrons are made of three quarks, two down quarks and one up quark. Up and down quarks are only two of the six types of known quarks. In our everyday lives, and even in the hearts of stars, the quarks of a neutron stick tightly together. For all practical purposes, a neutron can be treated …

Neutron stars could have a layer of exotic quark matter inside them Read More »

Hubble makes surprising find in the early Universe

08.06.2020
New results from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest the formation of the first stars and galaxies in the early universe took place sooner than previously thought. A European team of astronomers have found no evidence of the first generation of stars, known as Population III stars, as far back as when the universe was …

Hubble makes surprising find in the early Universe Read More »

Intense flash from Milky way’s black hole illuminated gas far outside of our Galaxy

08.06.2020
About 3.5 million years ago, the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy unleashed an enormous burst of energy. Our primitive ancestors, already afoot on the African plains, likely would have witnessed this flare as a ghostly glow high overhead in the constellation Sagittarius. It might have persisted for 1 million …

Intense flash from Milky way’s black hole illuminated gas far outside of our Galaxy Read More »

Hot stars are plagued by giant magnetic spots, ESO data shows

08.06.2020
Astronomers using European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes have discovered giant spots on the surface of extremely hot stars hidden in stellar clusters. Not only are these stars plagued by magnetic spots, some also experience superflare events, explosions of energy several million times more energetic than similar eruptions on the Sun. The findings, published today in …

Hot stars are plagued by giant magnetic spots, ESO data shows Read More »

Scientists detect Crab nebula using innovative gamma-ray telescope

08.06.2020
Scientists in the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) consortium today announced at the 236th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) that they have detected gamma rays from the Crab Nebula using a prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (pSCT), proving the viability of the novel telescope design for use in gamma-ray astrophysics. Detecting the Crab Nebula with the …

Scientists detect Crab nebula using innovative gamma-ray telescope Read More »

Mergers between galaxies trigger activity in their core

02.06.2020
Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) play a major role in galaxy evolution. Astronomers from SRON and RuG have now used a record-setting sample of galaxies to confirm that galaxy mergers have a positive effect on igniting AGNs. They were able to compile about 10 times more pictures of merging galaxies than previous studies by using a …

Mergers between galaxies trigger activity in their core Read More »

MAXI J1820+070: Black hole outburst caught on video

02.06.2020
Astronomers have caught a black hole hurling hot material into space at close to the speed of light. This flare-up was captured in a new movie from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The black hole and its companion star make up a system called MAXI J1820+070, located in our Galaxy about 10,000 light years from Earth. …

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The Westerlund 2 star cluster’s raucous core is no place to form planets

02.06.2020
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are finding that planets have a tough time forming in the rough-and-tumble central region of the massive, crowded star cluster Westerlund 2. Located 20,000 light-years away, Westerlund 2 is a unique laboratory to study stellar evolutionary processes because it’s relatively nearby, quite young, and contains a large stellar population. …

The Westerlund 2 star cluster’s raucous core is no place to form planets Read More »

Astronomers discover new class of cosmic explosions

02.06.2020
Astronomers have found two objects that, added to a strange object discovered in 2018, constitute a new class of cosmic explosions. The new type of explosion shares some characteristics with supernova explosions of massive stars and with the explosions that generate gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), but still has distinctive differences from each. The saga began in …

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ALMA spots twinkling heart of Milky Way

25.05.2020
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) found quasi-periodic flickers in millimeter-waves from the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius (Sgr) A*. The team interpreted these blinks to be due to the rotation of radio spots circling the supermassive black hole with an orbit radius smaller than that of Mercury. This is an interesting …

ALMA spots twinkling heart of Milky Way Read More »

New gravitational-wave model can bring neutron stars into even sharper focus

25.05.2020
Gravitational-wave researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a new model that promises to yield fresh insights into the structure and composition of neutron stars. The model shows that vibrations, or oscillations, inside the stars can be directly measured from the gravitational-wave signal alone. This is because neutron stars will become deformed under the …

New gravitational-wave model can bring neutron stars into even sharper focus Read More »

ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early Universe

25.05.2020
In our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, most galaxies like our Milky Way form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But a new discovery made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age, challenges the traditional models of galaxy …

ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early Universe Read More »

ESO telescope sees signs of planet birth

25.05.2020
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 …

ESO telescope sees signs of planet birth Read More »

Researchers reveal common origin of Fermi bubbles and galactic center X-ray outflows

18.05.2020
A pair of gigantic gamma-ray bubbles centered on the core of the Milky Way galaxy were discovered by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope 10 years ago. But how these so-called “Fermi bubbles” arose was a mystery. Recently, however, researchers at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have presented a new …

Researchers reveal common origin of Fermi bubbles and galactic center X-ray outflows Read More »

Where neutrinos come from

18.05.2020
Russian astrophysicists have come close to determining the origin of high-energy neutrinos from space. The astrophysicists focused on the origins of ultra-high-energy neutrinos at 200 TeV or more. The team compared the measurements of the IceCube facility with a large number of radio observations. The elusive particles were found to emerge during radio frequency flares …

Where neutrinos come from Read More »

NASA’s TESS enables breakthrough study of perplexing stellar pulsations

18.05.2020
Astronomers have detected elusive pulsation patterns in dozens of young, rapidly rotating stars thanks to data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The discovery will revolutionize scientists’ ability to study details like the ages, sizes and compositions of these stars — all members of a class named for the prototype, the bright star Delta …

NASA’s TESS enables breakthrough study of perplexing stellar pulsations Read More »

In star clusters, black holes merge with neutron stars, unseen

18.05.2020
Mergers between black holes and neutron stars in dense star clusters are quite unlike those that form in isolated regions where stars are few. Their associated features could be crucial to the study of gravitational waves and their source. Dr Manuel Arca Sedda of the Institute for Astronomical Computing at Heidelberg University came to this …

In star clusters, black holes merge with neutron stars, unseen Read More »

South Africa’s MeerKAT solves mystery of ‘X-galaxies’

11.05.2020
Many galaxies far more active than the Milky Way have enormous twin jets of radio waves extending far into intergalactic space. Normally these go in opposite directions, coming from a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. However, a few are more complicated and appear to have four jets forming an ‘X’ on …

South Africa’s MeerKAT solves mystery of ‘X-galaxies’ Read More »

Hubble views a galaxy burning bright

11.05.2020
In the depths of the night sky lies a barred spiral galaxy called NGC 3583, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This is a barred spiral galaxy with two arms that twist out into the universe. This galaxy is located 98 million light-years away from the Milky Way. Two supernovae exploded in this galaxy, one in …

Hubble views a galaxy burning bright Read More »

A fast radio burst has been detected from inside the Milky way

11.05.2020
Now and then there are bright flashes of radio light in the sky, and they are bothering astronomers. They are called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), and they’re like the chirp of a smoke alarm that needs its battery changed. They last for such a short time that it’s difficult to track down the source. They …

A fast radio burst has been detected from inside the Milky way Read More »

Build your own white dwarf photosphere

11.05.2020
Have you ever wanted to examine the photosphere of a white dwarf up close and personal? Now you, too, can recreate and observe the atmospheric conditions of these extreme, dense, dead stars — assuming you have access to Sandia Labs’ Z Machine. White dwarfs are of enormous astronomical use to scientists. By observing white dwarfs, …

Build your own white dwarf photosphere Read More »

ESO Instrument Finds Closest Black Hole to Earth

11.05.2020
A team of astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other institutes has discovered a black hole lying just 1000 light-years from Earth. The black hole is closer to our Solar System than any other found to date and forms part of a triple system that can be seen with the naked eye. The …

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Astronomers find Jupiter-like cloud bands on closest brown dwarf

11.05.2020
A team of astronomers has discovered that the closest known brown dwarf, Luhman 16A, shows signs of cloud bands similar to those seen on Jupiter and Saturn. This is the first time scientists have used the technique of polarimetry to determine the properties of atmospheric clouds outside of the solar system, or exoclouds. Brown dwarfs …

Astronomers find Jupiter-like cloud bands on closest brown dwarf Read More »

Future detectors to detect millions of black holes and the evolution of the universe

04.05.2020
Gravitational-wave astronomy provides a unique new way to study the expansion history of the Universe. On 17 August 2017, the LIGO and Virgo collaborations first detected gravitational waves from a pair of neutron stairs merging. The gravitational wave signal was accompanied by a range of counterparts identified with electromagnetic telescopes. This multi-messenger discovery allowed astronomers …

Future detectors to detect millions of black holes and the evolution of the universe Read More »

Spins point to how black hole binaries formed

04.05.2020
Before stellar-mass black holes merge in a spectacular burst of gravitational waves, they’re locked in a fatal dance around each other as a binary black hole. A new study uses clues from black hole spins to explore how these binaries came to be paired together in the first place. With ten detections of merging stellar-mass …

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How do you weigh the Universe?

04.05.2020
The weight of the universe (technically the mass of the universe) is a difficult thing to measure. To do it you need to count not just stars and galaxies, but dark matter, diffuse clouds of dust and even wisps of neutral hydrogen in intergalactic space. Astronomers have tried to weigh the universe for more than …

How do you weigh the Universe? Read More »

Spitzer telescope reveals the precise timing of a black hole dance

04.05.2020
Black holes aren’t stationary in space; in fact, they can be quite active in their movements. But because they are completely dark and can’t be observed directly, they’re not easy to study. Scientists have finally figured out the precise timing of a complicated dance between two enormous black holes, revealing hidden details about the physical …

Spitzer telescope reveals the precise timing of a black hole dance Read More »

Star survives close call with a black hole

27.04.2020
Astronomers may have discovered a new kind of survival story: a star that had a brush with a giant black hole and lived to tell the tale through exclamations of X-rays. Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton uncovered the account that began with a red giant star wandering too close to a …

Star survives close call with a black hole Read More »

Hubble Marks 30 Years in Space

27.04.2020
On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Earth with its precious cargo, the Hubble Space Telescope. The next day, astronauts released the telescope into space to begin its journey of discovery. No one could have predicted what wonders Hubble would see in the 30 years that followed. From our own cosmic …

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Hungry galaxies grow fat on the flesh of their neighbors

27.04.2020
Galaxies grow large by eating their smaller neighbours, new research reveals. Exactly how massive galaxies attain their size is poorly understood, not least because they swell over billions of years. But now a combination of observation and modelling from researchers led by Dr. Anshu Gupta from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics …

Hungry galaxies grow fat on the flesh of their neighbors Read More »

Super-supernova released ten times more energy than a regular supernova

27.04.2020
It’s easy to run out of superlatives and adjectives when your puny human language is trying to describe humongously-energetic events in the Universe. So now it’s down to this: a really powerful supernova is a “super-supernova.” But whatever name we give it, it’s a monster. A monsternova. In 2016, a team of astronomers identified a …

Super-supernova released ten times more energy than a regular supernova Read More »

Astronomers watch a nova go from start to finish for the first time

27.04.2020
A nova is a dramatic episode in the life of a binary pair of stars. It’s an explosion of bright light that can last weeks or even months. And though they’re not exactly rare—there are about 10 each year in the Milky Way—astronomers have never watched one from start to finish until now. A nova …

Astronomers watch a nova go from start to finish for the first time Read More »

Milky Way could be catapulting stars into its outer halo, astronomers say

20.04.2020
Though mighty, the Milky Way and galaxies of similar mass are not without scars chronicling turbulent histories. University of California, Irvine astronomers and others have shown that clusters of supernovas can cause the birth of scattered, eccentrically orbiting suns in outer stellar halos, upending commonly held notions of how star systems have formed and evolved …

Milky Way could be catapulting stars into its outer halo, astronomers say Read More »

Betelgeuse is bright again

20.04.2020
Everyone’s favorite red supergiant star is bright again. The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) has been tracking Betelgeuse as it has gradually returned to its more normal brilliance. As of this writing, it is about 95% of its typical visual brightness. Supernova fans will have to wait a bit longer. Betelgeuse created quite …

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California nebula stars in final mosaic by NASA’s Spitzer

20.04.2020
Five days before NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope ended its mission on Jan. 30, 2020, scientists used the spacecraft’s infrared camera to take multiple images of a region known as the California Nebula — a fitting target considering the mission’s management and science operations were both based in Southern California at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and …

California nebula stars in final mosaic by NASA’s Spitzer Read More »

Pulsar Discovery from an Enormous Telescope

20.04.2020
Magnetized neutron stars in distant globular clusters are a challenge to detect — but it’s a job made easier by the world’s largest filled-aperture radio telescope. Recent high-sensitivity observations have uncovered an erratic new star system. Pulsars are the compact remnants of dead stars that shine powerful beams of emission into space as they spin. …

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ESO Telescope Sees Star Dance Around Supermassive Black Hole, Proves Einstein Right

20.04.2020
Observations made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have revealed for the first time that a star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way moves just as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Its orbit is shaped like a rosette and not like an ellipse as predicted by Newton’s …

ESO Telescope Sees Star Dance Around Supermassive Black Hole, Proves Einstein Right Read More »

Piercing the Dark Birthplaces of Massive Stars with Webb

13.04.2020
High-mass stars, which are eight or more times the mass of our Sun, live hard and die young. They often end their short lives in violent explosions called supernovas, but their births are much more of a mystery. They form in very dense, cold clouds of gas and dust, but little is known about these …

Piercing the Dark Birthplaces of Massive Stars with Webb Read More »

New observations show that the Universe might not be expanding at the same rate in all directions

13.04.2020
We’ve developed scientific laws and theories that help us understand the cosmos. While our theories are powerful, they are still rooted in some fundamental assumptions. One of these is that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. This is known as cosmic isotropy, and it allows us to compare what we see in the …

New observations show that the Universe might not be expanding at the same rate in all directions Read More »

Clemson researchers capture first-ever photographic proof of power-packed jet emerging from colliding galaxies

13.04.2020
CLEMSON — A team of Clemson University College of Science researchers, in collaboration with international colleagues, has reported the first definitive detection of a relativistic jet emerging from two colliding galaxies — in essence, the first photographic proof that merging galaxies can produce jets of charged particles that travel at nearly the speed of light. …

Clemson researchers capture first-ever photographic proof of power-packed jet emerging from colliding galaxies Read More »

Something is lurking in the heart of Quasar 3C 279

13.04.2020
One year ago, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration published the first image of a black hole in the nearby radio galaxy M 87. Now the collaboration has extracted new information from the EHT data on the distant quasar 3C 279: they observed the finest detail ever seen in a jet produced by a supermassive …

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Astronomers are hoping to see the very first stars and galaxies in the Universe

06.04.2020
Sometimes it’s easy being an astronomer. When your celestial target is something simple and bright, the game can be pretty straightforward: point your telescope at the thing and just wait for all the juicy photons to pour on in. But sometimes being an astronomer is tough, like when you’re trying to study the first stars …

Astronomers are hoping to see the very first stars and galaxies in the Universe Read More »

Hubble finds best evidence for elusive mid-sized black hole

06.04.2020
Astronomers have found the best evidence for the perpetrator of a cosmic homicide: a black hole of an elusive class known as “intermediate-mass,” which betrayed its existence by tearing apart a wayward star that passed too close. Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are a long-sought “missing link” in black hole evolution. Though there have been a …

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Electron-eating neon causes star to collapse

06.04.2020
An international team of researchers has found that neon inside a certain massive star can consume the electrons in the core, a process called electron capture, which causes the star to collapse into a neutron star and produce a supernova. The researchers were interested in studying the final fate of stars within a mass range …

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ALMA resolves gas impacted by young jets from supermassive black hole

30.03.2020
Astronomers obtained the first resolved image of disturbed gaseous clouds in a galaxy 11 billion light-years away by using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The team found that the disruption is caused by young powerful jets ejected from a supermassive black hole residing at the center of the host galaxy. This result will cast …

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Signals from Neutron Star Binaries

30.03.2020
Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are brief radio signals that last on the order of milliseconds. They appear to be extragalactic, coming from small, point-like areas on the sky. Some FRBs are one-off events, while others are periodic or “repeating”. The sources of FRBs are still unknown, but binary neutron star systems might be a piece …

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How Researchers Produce Sharp Images of a Black Hole

30.03.2020
In April of 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration made history when it released the first image of a black hole ever taken. This accomplishment was decades in the making and triggered an international media circus. The picture was the result of a technique known as interferometry, where observatories across the world combined light …

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Chinese astronomers detect gamma-ray emission from two star-forming galaxies

30.03.2020
Astronomers from Nanjing University in China have detected gamma ray emission from two star-forming galaxies designated M33 and Arp 299. The finding could be helpful in improving knowledge about the origin of very high-energy emission in galaxies. It is believed that gamma rays in galaxies are the result of interaction of cosmic rays with the …

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Blazar Found Blazing When the Universe was Only a Billion Years Old

23.03.2020
Using the telescopes at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (LBTO) in Arizona, a research team recently observed a blazar located 13 billion light-years from Earth. This object, designated PSO J030947.49+271757.31 (or PSO J0309+27), is the most distant blazar ever observed and foretells the existence of many more! The object was selected by cross-matching data from …

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Merger between two stars led to blue supergiant, iconic supernova

23.03.2020
A supernova in a nearby galaxy may have originated from an explosion of a blue supergiant formed by the merger of two stars, simulations by RIKEN astrophysicists suggest. The asymmetric nature of this explosion may provide hints for where to look for the elusive neutron star birthed in this stellar cataclysm. A core-collapse supernova occurs …

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A Star-Bursting Galaxy Born from the Collision of Dwarfs

23.03.2020
When two galaxies merge, the collision can have dramatic consequences — particularly if the galaxies are rich in gas. The gravitational interaction of galaxies oscillating during a merger drives shock waves through their gas. This can trigger bursts of star formation, launch jets from active galactic nuclei, and result in the eventual formation of a …

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“Spectr-RG” Observatory scans a third of the entire sky

23.03.2020
The “Spektr-RG” orbital observatory marks an important stage – one third of the X-ray map of the entire sky is built. The number of registered X-ray sources in the Russian half of this map (16.7% of the entire sky) exceeds 95,000. Only one sixth of them were detected by the German satellite ROSAT on the …

“Spectr-RG” Observatory scans a third of the entire sky Read More »

Researchers find gravitational wave candidates from binary black hole mergers in public LIGO/Virgo data

16.03.2020
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute; AEI) in Hannover together with international colleagues have published their second Open Gravitational-wave Catalog (2-OGC). They used improved search methods to dig deeper into publicly available data from LIGO’s and Virgo’s first and second observation runs. Apart from confirming the ten known binary …

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ESO Telescope Observes Exoplanet Where It Rains Iron

16.03.2020
Researchers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have observed an extreme planet where they suspect it rains iron. The ultra-hot giant exoplanet has a day side where temperatures climb above 2400 degrees Celsius, high enough to vaporise metals. Strong winds carry iron vapour to the cooler night side where it condenses into iron droplets. This …

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Neutron Star Measures Just 22 Kilometers Across

16.03.2020
How big is a neutron star? These extreme, ultra-dense collapsed stars are fairly small, as far as stellar objects are concerned. Even though they pack the mass of a full-sized star, their size is often compared to the width of a medium-to-large-sized city. For years, astronomers have pegged neutron stars at somewhere between 19-27 km …

Neutron Star Measures Just 22 Kilometers Across Read More »

Solved: The mystery of the expansion of the universe

16.03.2020
The Earth, solar system, the entire Milky Way and the few thousand galaxies closest to us move in a vast “bubble” that is 250 million light years in diameter, where the average density of matter is half as high as for the rest of the universe. This is the hypothesis advanced by a theoretical physicist …

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Astronomers use slime mold model to reveal dark threads of the cosmic web

16.03.2020
A computational approach inspired by the growth patterns of a bright yellow slime mold has enabled a team of astronomers and computer scientists at UC Santa Cruz to trace the filaments of the cosmic web that connects galaxies throughout the universe. Their results, published March 10 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, provide the first conclusive association …

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Artwork Inspired by Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

09.03.2020
Artist Mik Petter has created a vibrant new piece of art based on JunoCam images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS). The piece makes use of fractals, which are recursive mathematical creations; increasingly complex patterns that are similar to each other, yet never exactly the same. “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain …

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The Chemicals That Make Up Exploding Stars Could Help Explain Away Dark Energy

09.03.2020
Astronomers have a dark energy problem. On the one hand, we’ve known for years that the universe is not just expanding, but accelerating. There seems to be a dark energy that drives cosmic expansion. On the other hand, when we measure cosmic expansion in different ways we get values that don’t quite agree. Some methods …

The Chemicals That Make Up Exploding Stars Could Help Explain Away Dark Energy Read More »

Dimming Betelgeuse likely isn’t cold, just dusty, new study shows

09.03.2020
Late last year, news broke that the star Betelgeuse was fading significantly, ultimately dropping to around 40% of its usual brightness. The activity fueled popular speculation that the red supergiant would soon explode as a massive supernova. But astronomers have more benign theories to explain the star’s dimming behavior. And scientists at the University of …

Dimming Betelgeuse likely isn’t cold, just dusty, new study shows Read More »

ALMA spots metamorphosing aged star

09.03.2020
An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) captured the very moment when an old star first starts to alter its environment. The star has ejected high-speed bipolar gas jets which are now colliding with the surrounding material; the age of the observed jet is estimated to be less than 60 …

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Catastrophic Collisions in Protoplanetary Disks

09.03.2020
Some of the most spectacular images to come out of observatories like the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) or the Very Large Telescope (VLT) are detailed views of protoplanetary disks. These disks of gas and dust around young stars aren’t just smooth and featureless; instead, they exhibit arcs, rings, gaps, and spirals. What causes this …

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Astronomy student discovers 17 new planets, including Earth-sized world

02.03.2020
University of British Columbia astronomy student Michelle Kunimoto has discovered 17 new planets, including a potentially habitable, Earth-sized world, by combing through data gathered by NASA’s Kepler mission. Over its original four-year mission, the Kepler satellite looked for planets, especially those that lie in the “Habitable Zones” of their stars, where liquid water could exist …

Astronomy student discovers 17 new planets, including Earth-sized world Read More »

Riding the Wave of a Supernova to Go Interstellar

02.03.2020
When it comes to the challenges posed by interstellar travel, there are no easy answers. The distances are immense, the amount of energy needed to make the journey is tremendous, and the time scales involved are (no pun!) astronomical. But what if there was a way to travel between stars using ships that take advantage …

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Astronomers detect biggest explosion in the history of the Universe

02.03.2020
Scientists studying a distant galaxy cluster have discovered the biggest explosion seen in the Universe since the Big Bang. The blast came from a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy hundreds of millions of light-years away. It released five times more energy than the previous record holder. The blast came from a …

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Gravitational Waves After Galaxy Collisions

02.03.2020
A new study explores whether the collision of very small galaxies could lead to the merging black holes detected in gravitational waves. Thanks to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), we now know that black holes in our distant universe sometimes find each other in a dramatic inspiral and collision, releasing a burst of gravitational-wave …

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ALMA Explores Possible Interacting Twin Disks

24.02.2020
FU Orionis (FU Ori, for short) objects are young, pre-main-sequence stars that grow suddenly brighter — by several magnitudes! — over the span of perhaps a year. These flaring states can last on the order of decades, and they’re thought to be related to a period of increased accretion onto the star during its early …

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LOFAR pioneers new way to study exoplanet environments

24.02.2020
Using the Dutch-led Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope, astronomers have discovered unusual radio waves coming from the nearby red dwarf star GJ1151. The radio waves bear the tell-tale signature of aurorae caused by an interaction between a star and its planet. The radio emission from a star-planet interaction has been predicted for over thirty-years …

LOFAR pioneers new way to study exoplanet environments Read More »

77-year-old amateur astronomer helps reveal rare galaxy double nucleus

24.02.2020
Allen Lawrence, wrapping up a long career as an electrical engineer, was serious about moving his astronomy hobby beyond the 20-inch telescope he’d hauled to star parties under the dark skies of Texas and Arizona. So in 2011 – in his late 60s, after 30 years of operating his own consulting firm around Green Bay, …

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Chandra Spots a Mega-Cluster of Galaxies

24.02.2020
Astronomers using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes have put together a detailed map of a rare collision between four galaxy clusters. Eventually all four clusters — each with a mass of at least several hundred trillion times that of the Sun — will merge to form one of the most massive objects in the universe. …

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ESO Telescope Sees Surface of Dim Betelgeuse

17.02.2020
Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have captured the unprecedented dimming of Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star in the constellation of Orion. The stunning new images of the star’s surface show not only the fading red supergiant but also how its apparent shape is changing. Betelgeuse has been a beacon in the night sky …

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A Rare Fast Radio Burst has been Found that Actually Repeats Every 16 Days

17.02.2020
A team of scientists in Canada have found a Fast Radio Burst (FRB) that repeats every 16 days. This is in stark contrast to other FRBs, which are more sporadic. Some of those sporadic FRBs occur in clusters, and repeat irregularly, but FRBs with a regular, repeatable occurrence are rare. A Fast Radio Burst is …

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Astronomers witness the dragging of space-time in stellar cosmic dance

17.02.2020
An international team of astrophysicists led by Australian Professor Matthew Bailes, from the ARC Centre of Excellence of Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), has shown exciting new evidence for ‘frame-dragging’—how the spinning of a celestial body twists space and time—after tracking the orbit of an exotic stellar pair for almost two decades. The data, which is …

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Galaxy formation simulated without dark matter

10.02.2020
For the first time, researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Strasbourg have simulated the formation of galaxies in a universe without dark matter. To replicate this process on the computer, they have instead modified Newton’s laws of gravity. The galaxies that were created in the computer calculations are similar to those we actually see …

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Galactic gamma-ray sources reveal birthplaces of high-energy particles

10.02.2020
Nine sources of extremely high-energy gamma rays comprise a new catalog compiled by researchers with the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory. All produce gamma rays with energies over 56 trillion electron volts (TeV) and three emit gamma rays extending to 100 TeV and beyond, making these the highest-energy sources ever observed in our galaxy. …

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Hubble detects smallest known dark matter clumps

10.02.2020
Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and a new observing technique, astronomers have found that dark matter forms much smaller clumps than previously known. This result confirms one of the fundamental predictions of the widely accepted “cold dark matter” theory. All galaxies, according to this theory, form and are embedded within clouds of dark matter. Dark …

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Astronomers discover unusual monster galaxy in the very early universe

07.02.2020
An international team of astronomers led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has found an unusual monster galaxy that existed about 12 billion years ago, when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old. Dubbed XMM-2599, the galaxy formed stars at a high rate and then died. Why it suddenly stopped forming stars …

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Nearby pulsar’s gamma-ray ‘halo’ linked to antimatter puzzle

30.12.2019
NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered a faint but sprawling glow of high-energy light around a nearby pulsar. If visible to the human eye, this gamma-ray “halo” would appear about 40 times bigger in the sky than a full Moon. This structure may provide the solution to a long-standing mystery about the amount of …

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ESO found out black holes’ breakfast at the Cosmic Dawn

29.12.2019
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have observed reservoirs of cool gas around some of the earliest galaxies in the Universe. These gas halos are the perfect food for supermassive black holes at the centre of these galaxies, which are now seen as they were over 12.5 billion years ago. This food storage might explain …

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ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight

12.12.2019
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens. “Observations with new and more capable technology …

ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight Read More »

Scientists inch closer than ever to signal from cosmic dawn

05.12.2019
In a paper on the preprint site ArXiv and soon to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers present the first analysis of data from a new configuration of the MWA designed specifically to look for the signal of neutral hydrogen, the gas that dominated the universe during the cosmic dark age. The analysis sets a …

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Cracking 60-year-old mystery of Sun’s magnetic waves

05.12.2019
A Queen’s University Belfast scientist has led an international team to the ground-breaking discovery of why the Sun’s magnetic waves strengthen and grow as they emerge from its surface, which could help to solve the mystery of how the corona of the Sun maintains its multi-million degree temperatures. Dr David Jess from the School of …

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Highest-energy light from a gamma-ray burst ever

21.11.2019
It has been decades since the discovery of the first gamma-ray burst, yet some of their fundamental traits remain unclear. An international team of researchers, including two astrophysicists from the George Washington University, Chryssa Kouveliotou and Alexander van der Horst, now has taken the next step in understanding the physical processes at work during these …

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Massive, Spinning Black Holes Could Be the Result of ‘Pac-Man-Like’ Mergers

14.11.2019
Scientists have reported detecting gravitational waves from 10 black hole mergers to date, but they are still trying to explain the origins of those mergers. The largest merger detected so far seems to have defied previous models because it has a higher spin and mass than the range thought possible. In a new paper published in Physical Review Letters published on November 1, …

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2019 Nobel Prize in Physics

31.10.2019
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos” with one half to James Peebles, Princeton University, USA “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” and the other half jointly to Michel …

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Strontium in the Kilonova Wreckage

31.10.2019
Strontium was spotted in the aftermath of a collision between two neutron stars. This is the first time a heavy element has ever been identified in a kilonova, the explosive aftermath of these types of collision. The kilonova, AT2017gfo, emerging from the gravitational-wave–discovered neutron star merger, GW170817 was the first kilonova where detailed spectra were …

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The new grant for TAIGA

24.10.2019
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation allocated a grant in the amount of 87.5 million rubles (for two years 2019-2020) for the construction of the largest TAIGA gamma observatory (Tunka Advanced Instrument for cosmic ray physics and Gamma-ray Astronomy). TAIGA is designed for the study of gamma rays and charged …

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