Astronomers have found the faintest galaxy yet seen in the deep, distant reaches of space, an object whose light has taken 13 billion years to reach us. The tiny galaxy, which existed about 800 million years after the Big Bang created the universe, is among the top 10 most distant objects known. According to astronomers this image is like a baby picture of this galaxy, taken when the universe was only 5 percent of its current age.
Four billion years from now, the Milky Way galaxy as we know it will cease to exist. Our Milky Way is bound for a head-on collision with the similar-sized Andromeda galaxy, researchers announced on May 31. Over time, the huge galactic smashup will create an entirely new hybrid galaxy, one likely bearing an elliptical shape rather than the Milky Way’s trademark spiral-armed disk. Astronomers have long known that the Milky Way and Andromeda, which is also known as M31, are barrelling toward one another at a speed of about 250,000 mph (400,000 kph).
The world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope will be shared by South Africa and Australia, project organizers announced on May 25. Both nations had been vying to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a future mega-scope that will connect 3,000 separate radio dishes, each about 50 feet (15 meters) wide. But SKA officials have now decided to spread the project over both sites, rather than pick one over the other.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured the image of the spiral galaxy known as ESO 498-G5. One interesting feature of this galaxy is that its spiral arms wind all the way into the center, so that ESO 498-G5’s core looks like a bit like a miniature spiral galaxy. This sort of structure is in contrast to the elliptical star-filled centers of many other spiral galaxies, which instead appear as glowing masses. Astronomers refer to the distinctive spiral-like bulge of galaxies such as ESO 498-G5 as disc-type bulges, or pseudobulges, while bright elliptical centers are called classical bulges.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful wide field Advanced Camera for Surveys towards NGC 891 spiral galaxy and took this close-up of its northern half. The galaxy’s central bulge is just out of the image on the bottom left. NGC 891 (also known as Caldwell 23) is a spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It was discovered by William Herschel on October 6 1784.
The Herschel Space Observatory has discovered a giant, galaxy-packed filament ablaze with billions of new stars. The filament connects two clusters of galaxies that, along with a third cluster, will smash together and give rise to one of the largest galaxy superclusters in the universe. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions. The filament is the first structure of its kind spied in a critical era of cosmic buildup when colossal collections of galaxies called superclusters began to take shape.
The new image shows spectacular new view of a peculiar galaxy Centaurus A, which is a sprawling elliptical galaxy located about 12 million light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur). The peculiar galaxy emits strong radio emissions and is the most prominent radio galaxy in the sky, according to officials from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Centaurus A’s bright nucleus, powerful radio emissions, and jets may be produced by a supermassive central black hole that is 100 million times more massive than the sun, astronomers have said.
The Herschel Space Observatory has shown galaxies with the most powerful, active black holes at their cores produce fewer stars than galaxies with less active black holes. The results are the first to demonstrate black holes suppressed galactic star formation when the universe was less than half its current age. Herschel is a European Space Agency-led mission with important NASA contributions. Supermassive black holes, weighing as much as millions of suns, are believed to reside in the hearts of all large galaxies.
For the first time, astronomers have identified a stellar victim of a giant black hole, an unlucky star whose death may ultimately provide more clues on the inner workings of the enigmatic gravitational monster that devoured it. Supermassive black holes are objects millions to billions times the sun’s mass that lurk in the hearts of most galaxies. They lay quietly until victims, such as stars, wander close enough to get shredded apart by their extraordinarily powerful gravitational pull.