An international team of researchers detected a so-called “normal-size” black hole in the distant galaxy Centaurus A, which is located about 12 million light-years away from Earth. By observing the black hole’s X-ray emissions as it gobbles material from its surrounding environment, the scientists determined that it is a low-mass black hole, one likely in the final stages of an outburst and locked in a binary system with another star.
New study suggests that there should be billions of habitable, rocky planets around the faint red stars of our galaxy. The findings are based on a survey of 102 stars in a class called red dwarfs. Red dwarfs are fainter, cooler, less massive and longer-lived than the sun, and are thought to make up about 80 percent of the stars in our galaxy. Using the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-metre telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, astronomers found nine planets slightly larger than Earth over a six-year period.
The team of researchers from the University of Leicester (UK) and Monash University in Australia investigated how some black holes grow so fast that they are billions of times heavier than the sun. Professor Andrew King from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, said that almost every galaxy has an enormously massive black hole in its center. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has one about four million times heavier than the sun.
New study finds that planets in tight orbits around stars that get ejected from our galaxy may actually themselves be tossed out of the Milky Way at blisteringly fast speeds of up to 30 million miles per hour, or a fraction of the speed of light. As said Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. these warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in the galaxy, aside from photons and particles like cosmic rays.
Astronomers have identified the star that may be responsible for a supernova discovered by skywatchers last week. The supernova popped up in the galaxy M95 about 33 million light-years from Earth. It was first reported last week by a several different observers and soon confirmed by major observatories. Now a team led by Nancy Elias-Rosa of Spain’s Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia has compared new photos of the exploded star with pictures taken before the supernova occurred to identify what could very well have been the culprit star.
An international team of astronomers from Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Finland has discovered a rare dwarf galaxy, called LEDA 074886, which has a striking resemblance to an emerald cut diamond. The astronomers discovered the rectangular shaped galaxy within a group of 250 galaxies some 70 million light years away. As said Associate Professor Alister Graham from Swinburne University of Technology in the Universe around us, most galaxies exist in one of three forms: spheroidal, disc-like, or lumpy and irregular in appearance.
Studies using X-ray and ultraviolet observations from NASA’s Swift satellite provide new insights into the elusive origins of an important class of exploding star called Type Ia supernovae. These explosions, which can outshine their galaxy for weeks, release large and consistent amounts of energy at visible wavelengths. These qualities make them among the most valuable tools for measuring distance in the universe.
According to scientists cosmic rays from beyond our solar system constantly pummel Earth’s moon, fundamentally changing the chemistry and color of the lunar ice and dirt. New measurements of the strength of this space radiation from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show that these cosmic rays can cause significant chemical alteration on the surface of the moon. The measurements also help scientists test theoretical models of the moon’s radiation environment.
The globular cluster, called Messier 9, shines in this new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope.The cluster Messier 9 contains hordes of stars swarming in a spherical cloud about 25,000 light-years from Earth. The object is too faint to be seen with the naked eye, and when it was discovered by French astronomer Charles Messier in 1764, the scientist could only resolve it as a faint smudge that he classified as a nebula. Hubble Space Telescope released a new picture of Messier 9 on March 16.