Current Telescope News and Events

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Scientists claim that all high-energy cosmic neutrinos are born by quasars
Scientists of the P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (LPI RAS), the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and the Institute for Nuclear Research of RAS (INR RAS) studied the arrival directions of astrophysical neutrinos with energies more than a trillion electronvolts (TeV) and came to an unexpected conclusion: all of them are born near black holes in the centers of distant active galaxies - powerful radio sources. (2021-02-22)

Big galaxies steal star-forming gas from their smaller neighbours
In research published today, astronomers have discovered that large galaxies are stealing the material that their smaller counterparts need to form new stars. (2021-02-22)

First black hole ever detected is more massive than we thought
An international team, including researchers from National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), found that the first black hole, Cygnus X-1, contains a stellar-mass black hole with 21 solar mass and rotates at a speed close to the speed of light. (2021-02-18)

On the quest for other Earths
An international research team with members from ETH has developed a new method for directly imaging smaller planets in the habitable zone of a neighbouring star system. This opens up new possibilities in the search for extraterrestrial life. (2021-02-17)

Young planets with teenage sun give space studies a lift
Researchers find a new planetary system made up of at least three neighboring planets, ranging in size between that of Earth and Neptune, that orbit the same sun. (2021-02-12)

Hubble uncovers concentration of small black holes
Scientists were expecting to find an intermediate-mass black hole at the heart of the globular cluster NGC 6397, but instead they found evidence of a concentration of smaller black holes lurking there. New data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have led to the first measurement of the extent of a collection of black holes in a core-collapsed globular cluster. (2021-02-11)

Astronomers confirm solar system's most distant known object is indeed Farfarout
With the help of the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF's NOIRLab, and other ground-based telescopes, astronomers have confirmed that a faint object discovered in 2018 and nicknamed ''Farfarout'' is indeed the most distant object yet found in our Solar System. The object has just received its designation from the International Astronomical Union. (2021-02-11)

A new way to look for life-sustaining planets
A new system for mid-infrared exoplanet imaging in combination with long observation time allows ground-based telescopes to directly capture images of planets about three times the size of Earth within the habitable zones of nearby stars. (2021-02-10)

A new method to search for potentially habitable planets
Imaging planets orbiting around nearby stars, which could potentially harbour life, has become a possibility thanks to the progress made in observational methods by an international team of astronomers, including Olivier Absil and Anne-Lise Maire, astrophysicists at the STAR Institute of ULiège. First candidate: Alpha Centauri, a system similar to ours, ''only'' 4.3 light years away. This study is the subject of a publication in the journal Nature Communications. (2021-02-10)

True identity of mysterious gamma-ray source revealed
An international research team including members from The University of Manchester has shown that a rapidly rotating neutron star is at the core of a celestial object now known as PSR J2039?5617 (2021-02-03)

Astronomers detect extended dark matter halo around ancient dwarf galaxy
Findings suggest the first galaxies in the universe were more massive than previously thought. (2021-02-01)

Astronomers spot bizarre activity from one of the strongest magnets in the Universe
Astronomers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) and CSIRO have just observed bizarre, never-seen-before behaviour from a 'radio-loud' magnetar--a rare type of neutron star and one of the strongest magnets in the Universe. Their new findings, published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), suggest magnetars have more complex magnetic fields than previously thought - which may challenge theories of how they are born and evolve over time. (2021-02-01)

Record-breaking laser link could help us test whether Einstein was right
Scientists from Australia have set a world record for the most stable transmission of a laser signal through the atmosphere. The team combined Aussie 'phase stabilisation' technology with advanced self-guiding optical terminals to 'effectively eliminate atmospheric turbulence,' an advance which could help test Einstein's theory of general relativity. (2021-01-22)

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)

Astronomers dissect the anatomy of planetary nebulae using Hubble Space Telescope images
Images of two iconic planetary nebulae taken by the Hubble Space Telescope are revealing new information about how they develop their dramatic features. Researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology and Green Bank Observatory presented new findings about the Butterfly Nebula (NGC 6302) and the Jewel Bug Nebula (NGC 7027) at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (2021-01-19)

Cosmic beasts and where to find them
Two giant radio galaxies have been discovered with South Africa's powerful MeerKAT telescope. These galaxies are thought to be amongst the largest single objects in the Universe. The discovery has been published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. (2021-01-18)

Hubble pinpoints supernova blast
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has observed the supernova remnant named 1E 0102.2-7219. Researchers are using Hubble's imagery of the remnant object to wind back the clock on the expanding remains of this exploded star in the hope of understanding the supernova event that caused it 1700 years ago. (2021-01-15)

Researchers rewind the clock to calculate age and site of supernova blast
Astronomers are winding back the clock on the expanding remains of a nearby, exploded star. By using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, they retraced the speedy shrapnel from the blast to calculate a more accurate estimate of the location and time of the stellar detonation. (2021-01-14)

Quasar discovery sets new distance record
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), along with other telescopes, have discovered the most distant quasar yet found. The bright quasar, powered by a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy, is seen as it was only 670 million years after the Big Bang, and is providing valuable clues about how such huge black holes and their host galaxies formed in the early Universe. (2021-01-12)

Arecibo observatory helps find possible 'first hints' of low-frequency gravitational waves
Data from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has been used to help detect the first possible hints of low-frequency disturbances in the curvature of space-time. The results were presented today at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held virtually, and are published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (2021-01-11)

Striped or spotted? Winds and jet streams found on the closest brown dwarf
Using high-precision brightness measurements from NASA's TESS space telescope, astronomers found that the nearby brown dwarf Luhman 16B's atmosphere is dominated by high-speed, global winds akin to Earth's jet stream system. This global circulation determines how clouds are distributed in the brown dwarf's atmosphere, giving it a striped appearance. (2021-01-07)

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)

Looking for dark matter near neutron stars with radio telescopes
In 1983, theoretical physicist Pierre Sikivie found that axions have another remarkable property: In the presence of an electromagnetic field, they should sometimes spontaneously convert to easily detectable photons. What was once thought to be completely undetectable, turned out to be potentially detectable as long as there is high enough concentration of axions and strong magnetic fields. (2020-12-21)

Scientists complete yearlong pulsar timing study after reviving dormant radio telescopes
While the scientific community grapples with the loss of the Arecibo radio telescope, astronomers who revived a long-dormant radio telescope array in Argentina hope it can help compensate for the work Arecibo did in pulsar timing. Last year, scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology and the Instituto Argentino de Radioastronom­ia (IAR) began a pulsar timing study using two upgraded radio telescopes in Argentina. They are releasing observations from the first year in a new study. (2020-12-21)

The Subaru Telescope photographs the next target asteroid for Hayabusa2
On December 10, 2020 (Hawai?i Standard Time), the Subaru Telescope imaged the small asteroid 1998 KY26, the target of Hayabusa2's extended mission. The positional data for 1998 KY26 collected during the observations will be used to more accurately determine the orbital elements of this object. (2020-12-17)

Most-distant galaxy helps elucidate the early universe
New work from an international team of astronomers improves our understanding of the most-distant known astrophysical object-- GN-z11, a galaxy 13.4 billion light-years from Earth. (2020-12-16)

A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
An international research team led by the University of Bern has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting around each other from a very large distance. Although these objects look like giant exoplanets, they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems deprived of a Sun. (2020-12-16)

Astronomers detect possible radio emission from exoplanet
By monitoring the cosmos with a radio telescope array, a Cornell University-led international team of scientists has detected radio bursts emanating from the constellation Boötes. The signal could be the first radio emission collected from a planet beyond our solar system. (2020-12-16)

Dark storm on Neptune reverses direction, possibly shedding a fragment
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope watched a mysterious dark vortex on Neptune abruptly steer away from a likely death on the giant blue planet. (2020-12-16)

Device mimics life's first steps in outer space
A device developed by scientists at the CY Cergy Paris University and Paris Observatory promises insight into how the building blocks of life form in outer space. In Review of Scientific Instruments, the scientists detail how VENUS -- an acronym of the French phrase ''Vers de Nouvelles Syntheses,'' which means ''toward new syntheses'' -- mimics how molecules come together in the freezing darkness of interstellar space. (2020-12-15)

The farthest galaxy in the universe
A team of astronomers used the Keck I telescope to measure the distance to an ancient galaxy. They deduced the target galaxy GN-z11 is not only the oldest galaxy but also the most distant. It's so distant it defines the very boundary of the observable universe itself. The team hopes this study can shed light on a period of cosmological history when the universe was only a few hundred million years old. (2020-12-14)

Hubble pins down weird exoplanet with far-flung orbit
A planet in an unlikely orbit around a double star 336 light-years away may offer a clue to a mystery much closer to home: a hypothesized, distant body in our solar system dubbed 'Planet Nine.' (2020-12-10)

Hubble identifies strange exoplanet that behaves like the long-sought "Planet Nine"
The 11-Jupiter-mass exoplanet called HD106906 b occupies an unlikely orbit around a double star 336 light-years away and it may be offering clues to something that might be much closer to home: a hypothesized distant member of our Solar System dubbed ''Planet Nine.'' This is the first time that astronomers have been able to measure the motion of a massive Jupiter-like planet that is orbiting very far away from its host stars and visible debris disc. (2020-12-10)

Study confirms dark coating can reduce satellite reflectivity
Observations conducted by the Murikabushi Telescope of Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory confirmed that dark coating can reduce satellite reflectivity by half. There are concerns that numerous artificial satellites in orbit could impair astronomical observations, but these findings may help alleviate such conditions. (2020-12-08)

Inouye Solar Telescope releases first image of a sunspot
The US NSF's Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope just released its first image of a sunspot. The telescope's four-meter primary mirror will give the best views of the sun from Earth throughout the next solar cycle. This image is an indication of the telescope's advanced optics. The image is released along with the first of a series of Inouye-related articles featured in the Solar Physics journal. (2020-12-04)

Hubble captures unprecedented fading of Stingray nebula
Astronomers have caught a rare look at a rapidly fading shroud of gas around an aging star. Archival data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the nebula Hen 3-1357, nicknamed the Stingray nebula, has faded precipitously over just the past two decades. Witnessing such a swift rate of change in a planetary nebula is exceeding rare, say researchers. (2020-12-04)

Leaving so soon? Unusual planetary nebula fades mere decades after it arrived
The tiny Stingray Nebula unexpectedly appeared in the 1980s is by far the youngest planetary nebula in our sky. But a team of astronomers recently analyzed a more recent image of the nebula, taken in 2016 by Hubble, and found that it has faded significantly and changed shape over the course of just 20 years. If dimming continues at current rates, in 20 or 30 years the Stingray Nebula will be barely perceptible. (2020-12-03)

Scientists solve big limitation of stratospheric balloon payloads
Nearly all photons emitted after the Big Bang are now visible only at far-infrared wavelengths. Earth's atmosphere blocks most of this light, so scientists are turning to huge stratospheric balloons to explore it. However, it is quite difficult to cool a telescope the size of a living room to nearly absolute zero while flying it from a balloon. This is where the Balloon-Borne Cryogenic Telescope Testbed comes in. (2020-12-01)

Earth faster, closer to black hole in new map of galaxy
Earth just got 7 km/s faster and about 2000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. But don't worry, this doesn't mean that our planet is critical. Instead the changes are results of a better model of the Milky Way Galaxy based on new observation data, including a catalog of objects observed over the course of more than 15 years by the Japanese radio astronomy project VERA. (2020-11-30)

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