The Herschel Space Observatory has studied the dusty belt around the nearby star Fomalhaut. As said scientists the dust appears to be coming from collisions that destroy up to thousands of icy comets every day. Fomalhaut is a young star, just a few hundred million years old, and twice as massive as the sun.Fomalhaut’s comet belt arrangement is similar to the Kuiper belt of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune in our own solar system.
The universe’s expansion is accelerating, an observation that prompted astronomers to invoke an unknown entity called dark energy to explain it, has been further confirmed by new measurements. Scientists have used cosmic magnifying glasses called gravitational lenses to observe super-bright distant galaxies, giving a measure of how quickly the universe is blowing up like a giant balloon. They found, in agreement with previous measurements, that the universe’s expansion is indeed speeding up over time.
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.
The U.K. agency tasked with monitoring the country’s weather forecasts is expanding its research on how space weather affects Earth and the atmospheres of alien planets around other stars. The U.K. Met Office, which is funded by the government to provide national weather services, is now also planning to supply space weather forecasts for the region. Two teams of scientists presented their research at the U.K.-Germany National Astronomy Meeting held in March in Manchester, England.
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.
New Infrared and X-ray observations from two space telescopes strengthen the view that the galaxy may have been created by the cataclysmic collision of two older galaxies. The infrared light was captured by the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory. The X-ray observations were made by the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton space telescope. Centaurus A is the closest giant elliptical galaxy to Earth, at a distance of around 12 million light-years.
As space agency announced on April 4 NASA’s prolific Kepler space observatory, which has discovered more than 2,300 potential alien planets to date, will keep hunting strange new worlds for at least four more years. The $600 milllion Kepler observatory launched in March 2009 on a mission to find Earth-size planets in the so-called habitable zones of their parent stars, a just-right range of distances that could support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it.
According to scientists massive supernova explosion that destroyed a faraway star apparently turned the left over stellar corpse inside out as well. Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory spacecraft, a team of researchers mapped the distribution of elements in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A for short) in unprecedented detail. They found that Cas A, which is located about 11,000 light-years from Earth and exploded 300 years ago from our perspective, is wearing its guts on the outside.