Just in time for Halloween, astronomers have announced the discovery of huge stars that spin so fast they start to resemble awesome stellar pumpkins. And these “pumpkin stars” are incredible X-ray generators, producing radiation hundreds of times more powerful than our sun. Continue reading ‘Pumpkin Stars’ Are All You Need for a Stellar Halloween
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
A California man has come up with a unique way to mark the passage of time. While most of us think in terms of months (that were originally based on the movement of the moon) and years (which follow the Earth’s path around the sun), he decided to think even bigger. Continue reading ‘Galactic Tick Day’ Celebrates Our Trip Through the Galaxy
Using the power of interferometry, two astronomical projects are, for the first time, close to directly observing the black hole in the center of the Milky Way. There’s a monster living in the center of the galaxy.
There are few things that get us more excited than the mysteries of dark matter and the warping of spacetime, but when you have both wrapped into a stunning image of an Einstein ring, you know you’re onto something special.
In 2014, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile observed a striking cosmic quirk during its Long Baseline Campaign. It saw a distant galaxy, warped beyond recognition, by the gravitational field of a massive galaxy in the foreground. This “Einstein ring” is so-called after Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which predicts spacetime can become bent by the presence of a powerful gravitational field. Continue reading Dark Matter Dwarf Galaxy Found Hidden in Spacetime Warp
Scientists have made a cosmic growth chart of the Milky Way galaxy, an innovative blending of data collected by the ongoing Sloan Digital Sky Survey and a new technique to determine the ages of stars. As expected, the analysis shows the galaxy’s central disk formed from the inside out, with red giant stars as old as about 13 billion years clustered toward the center and younger stars about 1 billion years old closer to the disk’s edge, astronomer Melissa Ness, with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, told reporters at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee, Florida. Continue reading Milky Way Grew From the Inside Out
Through the use of a monster telescope attached to a modified Boeing 747 jet, astronomers have discovered the dust of an ancient supernova near the center of the Milky Way.
This finding is unique in that it was thought the turbulent nature of an expanding supernova explosion should destroy this dust, but its presence provides a fascinating insight as to why many galaxies appear to be dust-rich, adding critical detail to star and planet-formation theories. Continue reading Ancient Supernova ‘Dust Factory’ Found in Galactic Core