A sun-like star some 127 light years away may harbor a record number of planets, nine, spotted in another solar system. Our own solar system only possesses eight planets, with the recent demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status by astronomers. Accepted for publication by the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, the report by astronomer Mikko Tuomi of the United Kingdom’s University of Hertfordshire, looks at HD 10180, an often-examined star in the constellation of Hydrus, the water snake.
This image, which shows NGC 4980, is composed of exposures taken in visible and infrared light by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The image is approximately 3.3 by 1.5 arcminutes in size.NGC 4980 is a spiral galaxy in the southern constellation of Hydra. The shape of NGC 4980 appears slightly deformed, something which is often a sign of recent tidal interactions with another galaxy. In this galaxy’s case, however, this appears not to be the case as there are no other galaxies in its immediate vicinity.
Skywatcher Bill Snyder took this marvelous photo on February 3, 2012 from Heavens Mirror Observatory in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Comet Garradd sails slowly past globular star cluster Messier 92 (also known as M92 or NGC 6341) in this stunning image. The comet approached Messier 92 (M92) as it flew over the Hercules constellation. It passed within half a degree of Messier 92 (M92) on the day the image was taken.
The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, peaking at April 22, hence they are also called the Alpha Lyrids or April Lyrids. According to experts the Lyrid meteor shower peaks overnight from April 21 to April 22, with the best observing coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd local time. The moon will be new at this time, so the Lyrids’ bright flashes won’t be drowned out by the glare of Earth’s nearest neighbor.
NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite (GALEX) snapped a spectacular photo of a wispy blue nebula with an odd twist. It looks like a giant human head in deep space. NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which took the Cygnus Loop nebula photo, was launched in April 2003 on a mission to map vast areas of the sky in the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum. The spacecraft completed its primary mission in 2007 and was placed in standby mode as engineers prepare to shut it down for good later this year.
Astronomers have discovered a planetary system that formed nearly 13 billion years ago, suggesting the early universe harbored more planets than has been thought. The system consists of a star called HIP 11952 and two Jupiter-like alien planets. It is just 375 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Cetus (the Whale). The planets are likely the oldest yet found, at 12.8 billion years old, they’re just 900 million years younger than the universe itself, according to the commonly accepted Big Bang theory. HIP 11952 contains very little other than hydrogen and helium.
New observations which was made by using ESO’s Very Large Telescope will help to better understand the growth of teenage galaxies. In the biggest survey of its kind astronomers have found that galaxies changed their eating habits during their teenage years the period from about 3 to 5 billion years after the Big Bang. At the start of this phase smooth gas flow was the preferred snack, but later, galaxies mostly grew by cannibalising other smaller galaxies. Galaxies examined through the VLT are located in a tiny patch of sky more than 40 million light-years away, in the constellation of Cetus.
In October 2010, a neutron star near the center of our galaxy erupted with hundreds of X-ray bursts that were powered by a barrage of thermonuclear explosions on the star’s surface. On October 10, 2010, the European Space Agency’s INTEGRAL satellite detected a transient X-ray source in the direction of Terzan 5, a globular star cluster about 25,000 light-years away toward the constellation Sagittarius. The object, dubbed IGR J17480–2446, is classed as a low-mass X-ray binary system, in which the neutron star orbits a star much like the sun and draws a stream of matter from it.
Mars is the only planet with a clearly visible surface and, as such, has been studied by astronomers for hundreds of years. The next two months offer the best opportunity for skywatchers to study Mars for the next two years. Because of their orbits, Mars and Earth have close encounters only once every 26 months. The next encounter is coming up this week. On March 3, Mars will be in opposition to the Earth.