Current Astrophysics News and Events

Current Astrophysics News and Events, Astrophysics News Articles.
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New galaxy sheds light on how stars form
Detailed observations of molecular gas in a tidal dwarf galaxy have important implications for our understanding of how stars are formed. (2021-01-25)

Magnetic waves explain mystery of Sun's outer layer
in a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers combined observations from a telescope in New Mexico, the United States, with satellites located near Earth to identify a link between magnetic waves in the chromosphere and areas of abundant ionised particles in the hot outer atmosphere. (2021-01-22)

Astronomers discover first cloudless, Jupiter-like planet
Astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have detected the first Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its observable atmosphere. The findings were published this month in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. (2021-01-21)

Could we harness energy from black holes?
Physicists have found a new way to extract energy from black holes by breaking and rejoining magnetic field lines near the event horizon. (2021-01-13)

Astronomers agree: Universe is nearly 14 billion years old
From an observatory high above Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers have taken a new look at the oldest light in the universe. Their observations, plus a bit of cosmic geometry, suggest that the universe is 13.77 billion years old - give or take 40 million years. (2021-01-04)

A blazar in the early universe
Observations with the continent-wide Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) reveal previously unseen details in a jet of material ejected from the core of a galaxy seen as it was when the universe was only about 7% of its current age. (2020-12-22)

Three flavors are better than one -- in ice cream and supernova research
New research from Northwestern University has found that by studying all three ''flavors'' involved in a supernova, they've unlocked more clues as to how and why stars die. (2020-12-21)

Longest intergalactic gas filament discovered
Astrophysicists led by the University of Bonn (Germany) have for the first time observed a gas filament with a length of 50 million light years. Its structure is strikingly similar to the predictions of computer simulations. The observation therefore also confirms our ideas about the origin and evolution of our universe. The results are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. (2020-12-17)

Artificial intelligence classifies supernova explosions with unprecedented accuracy
Scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have trained machine learning software to classify supernovae without the traditional use of spectra. The project--the first to use real supernovae data to inform its artificial intelligence--is 82% accurate. Currently, scientists take spectra of 10-percent of the ~10,000 supernovae discovered each year. When the Rubin Observatory goes online, only 0.1-percent of the expected supernovae discoveries will be further studied without the new software. (2020-12-17)

Multi-messenger astronomy offers new estimates of neutron star size and universe expansion
Multi-messenger astronomy allows researchers to put new constraints on the radius of a typical neutron star and provide a novel calculation of the Hubble constant. (2020-12-17)

A hint of new physics in polarized radiation from the early universe
Yuto Minami at KEK and Eiichiro Komatsu at Kavli IPMU developed a new method to calibrate detectors to the light from dust in our Galaxy, thereby describing a new physics, with 99.2 percent accuracy, that may show parity symmetry breaking. (2020-12-02)

Growing interest in Moon resources could cause tension, scientists find
An international team of scientists led by the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, has identified a problem with the growing interest in extractable resources on the moon: there aren't enough of them to go around. With no international policies or agreements to decide ''who gets what from where,'' scientists believe tensions, overcrowding, and quick exhaustion of resources to be one possible future for moon mining projects. The paper published today in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. (2020-11-23)

Orbits of ancient stars prompt rethink on Milky Way evolution
Theories on how the Milky Way formed are set to be rewritten following discoveries about the behaviour of some of its oldest stars. An investigation into the orbits of the Galaxy's metal-poor stars - assumed to be among the most ancient in existence - has found that some of them travel in previously unpredicted patterns. (2020-11-16)

Building blocks of life can form long before stars
An international team of scientists have shown that glycine, the simplest amino acid and an important building block of life, can form under the harsh conditions that govern chemistry in space. (2020-11-16)

History of temperature changes in the Universe revealed
How hot is the Universe today? How hot was it before? A new study by an international team of researchers, including members of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU), suggests that the mean temperature of gas in large structures of the Universe has increased about 3 times in the last 8 billion years, to reach about two million Kelvin today. (2020-11-13)

Radioactive elements may be crucial to the habitability of rocky planets
The amount of long-lived radioactive elements incorporated into a rocky planet as it forms may be a crucial factor in determining its future habitability. That's because internal heating from the radioactive decay of the heavy elements thorium and uranium drives plate tectonics and may be necessary for the planet to generate a magnetic field. Earth's magnetic field protects the planet from solar winds and cosmic rays. (2020-11-10)

Has the hidden matter of the universe been discovered?
Astrophysicists consider that around 40% of the ordinary matter that makes up stars, planets and galaxies remains undetected, concealed in the form of a hot gas in the complexe cosmic web. Today, scientists at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale (CNRS/Université Paris-Saclay) may have detected, for the first time, this hidden matter through an innovative statistical analysis of 20-year-old data. Their findings are published on November 6, 2020 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. (2020-11-06)

Star clusters are only the tip of the iceberg
Star clusters have been part of the Imaginarium of human civilization for millennia. The brightest star clusters to Earth, like the Pleiades, are readily visible to the naked eye. A team around astronomer Stefan Meingast at the University of Vienna has now revealed the existence of massive stellar halos, termed coronae, surrounding local star clusters. The paper was published in ''Astronomy & Astrophysics''. (2020-10-15)

Anemic star cluster breaks metal-poor record
In a surprising discovery, astronomers using two Maunakea Observatories - W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) - have found a star cluster in the Andromeda Galaxy that contains a record-breaking low amount of metals, calling into question the so-called 'metallicity-floor' for massive globular star clusters. (2020-10-15)

The mountains of Pluto are snowcapped, but not for the same reasons as on Earth
In 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snowcapped mountains on Pluto, which are strikingly similar to mountains on Earth. Such a landscape had never before been observed elsewhere in the Solar System. An international team led by CNRS scientists determined that the methane snow could only appear at the peaks of Pluto's mountains high enough to reach this enriched zone that the air contains enough methane for it to condense. (2020-10-13)

NASA's TESS creates a cosmic vista of the northern sky
Familiar stars shine, nebulae glow, and nearby galaxies tantalize in a new panorama of the northern sky assembled from 208 pictures captured by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The planet hunter imaged about 75% of the sky in a two-year-long survey and is still going strong. (2020-10-06)

Einstein's description of gravity just got much harder to beat
Astrophysicists put general relativity to a new test with black hole images. (2020-10-01)

Astrophysicist probes cosmic "dark matter detector"
A CU Boulder astrophysicist is searching the light coming from a distant, and extremely powerful celestial object, for what may be the most elusive substance in the universe: dark matter. (2020-09-29)

First study with CHEOPS data describes one of the most extreme planets in the universe
CHEOPS keeps its promise: Observations with the space telescope reveal details of the exoplanet WASP-189b - one of the most extreme planets known. CHEOPS is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Switzerland, under the aegis of the University of Bern in collaboration with the University of Geneva. (2020-09-28)

Wobbling shadow of the M87 black hole
New analysis from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration reveals the behavior of the supermassive black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy across multiple years, indicating the crescent-like shadow feature appears to be wobbling. (2020-09-23)

SwRI scientist searches for stellar phosphorus to find potentially habitable exoplanets
SAN ANTONIO -- Sept. 16, 2020 -- A Southwest Research Institute scientist has identified stellar phosphorus as a probable marker in narrowing the search for life in the cosmos. She has developed techniques to identify stars likely to host exoplanets, based on the composition of stars known to have planets, and proposes that upcoming studies target stellar phosphorus to find systems with the greatest probability for hosting life as we know it. (2020-09-16)

Hubble observations suggest a missing ingredient in dark matter theories
Astronomers have discovered that there may be a missing ingredient in our cosmic recipe of how dark matter behaves. In measuring how dark matter's gravity distorts space, researchers found that small-scale concentrations of dark matter in clusters produce distortions 10 times stronger than expected. This evidence is based on observations of several massive galaxy clusters by Hubble and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. (2020-09-10)

Scientists discover a warped disc "torn apart by stars" in a triple Tatooine-like system
Pioneering new research has revealed the first direct evidence that groups of stars can tear apart their planet-forming disc, leaving it warped and with tilted rings. (2020-09-03)

Zooming in on dark matter
Cosmologists have zoomed in on the smallest clumps of dark matter in a virtual universe - which could help us to find the real thing in space. (2020-09-02)

Astrophysics: A direct view of star/disk interactions
'Nature' publication: The GRAVITY instrument developed for the Very Large Telescope in Chile probes deep into the TW Hydrae system to shape our view of accretion processes in young stars similar to the young Sun (2020-08-31)

Continuous infrared winds discovered during the eruption of a stellar mass black hole
A team of researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has detected for the first time the constant infrared emission from winds produced during the eruption of a black hole in an X-ray binary. (2020-08-27)

Hubble helps uncover the mystery of the dimming of Betelgeuse
New observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the unexpected dimming of the supergiant star Betelgeuse was most likely caused by an immense amount of hot material ejected into space, forming a dust cloud that blocked starlight coming from Betelgeuse's surface. (2020-08-13)

ALMA sees most distant Milky Way look-alike
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revealed an extremely distant and therefore very young galaxy that looks surprisingly like our Milky Way. The galaxy is so far away its light has taken more than 12 billion years to reach us: we see it as it was when the Universe was just 1.4 billion years old. It is also surprisingly unchaotic, contradicting theories that all galaxies in the early Universe were turbulent and unstable. (2020-08-12)

NASA's planet Hunter completes its primary mission
NASA's TESS has completed its primary mission, imaging about 75% of the starry sky during a two-year-long survey. TESS has found 66 new planets, nearly 2,100 candidates, and much more. (2020-08-11)

Differences between discs of active and non-active galaxies detected for the first time
A study led by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), making comparison between the discs of several pairs of spiral galaxies, active and non-active, concludes that in the discs of the former the rotational motion of the stars is of greater importance. (2020-07-31)

Cosmic tango between the very small and the very large
A new study using the theory of quantum loop cosmology accounts for two major mysteries about the large-scale structure of our universe. (2020-07-29)

Could mini-Neptunes be irradiated ocean planets?
Many exoplanets known today are ''super-Earths'', with a radius 1.3 times that of Earth, and ''mini-Neptunes'', with 2.4 Earth radii. Mini-Neptunes, which are less dense, were long thought to be gas planets, made up of hydrogen and helium. Now, scientists at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université/Cnes) have examined a new possibility, namely that the low density of mini-Neptunes could be explained simply by the presence of a thick layer of water. (2020-07-20)

Using techniques from astrophysics, researchers can forecast drought up to ten weeks ahead
Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a system which can accurately predict a period of drought in East Africa up to ten weeks ahead. (2020-07-20)

New collection of stars, not born in our galaxy, discovered in Milky Way
Astrophysicists announced the discovery of Nyx, a new collection of 250 stars that they believe are the remnant of a dwarf galaxy that merged with the Milky Way eons ago. The research combined massive cosmological simulations and observational data from the Gaia space observatory. It required large scale supercomputers and deep learning algorithms. The team plans to explore Nyx further using ground-based telescopes. (2020-07-07)

White dwarfs reveal new insights into the origin of carbon in the universe
A new analysis of white dwarf stars supports their role as a key source of carbon in galaxies. Every carbon atom in the universe was created by stars, but astrophysicists still debate which types of stars are the primary source of the carbon in our galaxy. Some studies favor low-mass stars that blew off their envelopes in stellar winds and became white dwarfs, while others favor massive stars that eventually exploded as supernovae. (2020-07-06)

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