Category Archives: Universe

Hubble Spies a Strange Old Dusty Galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope is an expert at imaging distant galaxies, bringing mysterious galactic features into the light. In the case of one particular elliptical galaxy, around 150 million light-years distant, Hubble has revealed a conundrum and a possible mechanism behind why some galaxies look so old. Continue reading Hubble Spies a Strange Old Dusty Galaxy

Telescope Team-Up Holds Cosmic Lens to Rare Brown Dwarf

Two space telescopes’ lucky perspectives have revealed an unusual brown dwarf that seems to be crowding close to a small star.

When a huge cloud of gas is pulled together by gravity, it can collapse down into a ball. Often, it becomes dense enough that the center bursts into nuclear fusion and that ball becomes a star. If it’s not dense enough, but is close, it will instead become a ball of gas called a brown dwarf. Brown dwarfs can have orbiting systems of planets of their own at times, and they can also orbit stars. But for some reason, researchers rarely find a brown dwarf orbiting within three Earth-sun distances of a sun-mass star. Continue reading Telescope Team-Up Holds Cosmic Lens to Rare Brown Dwarf

Weird Deep Space X-Ray Flashes Stump Astronomers

The X-ray emissions were discovered by chance beyond the Milky Way and no one really knows what is causing them. Jimmy Irwin wasn’t looking to get a paper published in Nature when he gave three of his University of Alabama undergraduate students an assignment.

He told them to comb through archived Chandra and XMM-Newton telescope data for examples of bright X-ray emissions coming from galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The catch was to find examples emanating from globular cluster galaxies, a type of very old galaxy. Continue reading Weird Deep Space X-Ray Flashes Stump Astronomers

Asgardia: Probably Not Humanity’s Protector

At first glance, the Asgardia project sounds like a concept pulled straight from science fiction. Announced last week by a group of scientists and entrepreneurs, the project hopes to create a new “space nation” that will be founded on science and exploration and its intent is to foster peace and provide a platform to protect Earth. Continue reading Asgardia: Probably Not Humanity’s Protector

Eyeballing Proxima b: Probably Not a Second Earth

The historic discovery of a small world orbiting within a neighboring star’s habitable zone is exciting — but don’t pack your bags quite yet. In our profound quest to discover strange new worlds, we’ve inevitably been trying to find alien planets that possess any Earth-like similarities. Now, with the incredible find of an Earth-mass exoplanet orbiting a neighboring star at just the right distance for liquid water to persist on its surface, hopes are high that we may have discovered an “Earth 2.0” right on our galactic doorstep. Continue reading Eyeballing Proxima b: Probably Not a Second Earth

Monster Green Cosmic Blob Mystery Solved

A giant blob of gas and dust far off in the universe mysteriously glows bright green, and astronomers have finally figured out why. Two huge galaxies were observed in the blob’s core, and they’re surrounded by a swarm of smaller galaxies in what appears to be the birth of a massive cluster of galaxies. Continue reading Monster Green Cosmic Blob Mystery Solved

First-Ever Binary Alien Planets Possibly Found

Astronomers may have found the first binary planets ever observed beyond our solar system.

The two objects straddle the dividing line between gas giants and odd “failed stars” known as brown dwarfs in terms of mass, researchers said. The newfound bodies are also similar to each other in size and age.

“They’re probably brother and sister,” Daniella Gagliuffi told Space.com. Gagliuffi, a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, found the objects amid a cloud of stars about 65 light-years from Earth. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets] Continue reading First-Ever Binary Alien Planets Possibly Found