Monster Sunspot Fires is Unleashing Powerful Solar Flares

According to NASA scientists huge sunspot that dwarfs the Earth is unleashing a series of powerful solar flares as it moves across the surface of the sun. The sunspot AR 1476 was detected by space telescopes on May 5. The huge sunspot is 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) across, so large that when it was first seen in views from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, mission scientists dubbed it a “monster sunspot.”

Giant Black Hole Squashes Star Formation

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.

Alien Solar Systems Unlikely Homes for Earth-Like Planets

As said alien solar systems that are home to so-called Hot Jupiters are unlikely homes for Earth-like planets. Hot Jupiters get their name from the fact that they are approximately Jupiter’s size, but extraordinarily near their stars, at about a tenth of the distance from Mercury to our sun. These roaster planets are among the alien worlds that astronomers have discovered most often since their size and proximity to their parent stars mean they exert large gravitational tugs on their hosts that scientists can readily spot.

Hubble to Observe Venus Transit

Astronomers are planning to use NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to observe next month’s historic transit of Venus across the sun’s face. But there’s a twist. Astronomers can’t point Hubble anywhere near the sun, because our star’s bright light could damage the telescope’s super-sensitive instruments. So Hubble will watch the June 5-6 Venus transit by using the moon as a mirror. The goal is to see if Hubble can determine the makeup of Venus’ atmosphere by studying sunlight that has poured through it.

Monster Black Hole Swallows Unlucky Star

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.

Remarkable Outburst From Old Black Hole

The discovery, made by astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, provides new insight into the nature of a mysterious class of black holes that can produce as much energy in X-rays as a million suns radiate at all wavelengths. Researchers used Chandra to discover a new ultraluminous X-ray source, or ULX. These objects give off more X-rays than most binary systems, in which a companion star orbits the remains of a collapsed star.

Massive Alien Planet May Have Been Ripped into Earth Size Chunks

According to scientists massive alien planet that may have been ripped into Earth-size chunks by its dying parent star is offering a unique glimpse into the evolution of other worlds and their stars. The planet’s two remaining pieces, which researchers tentatively identified as planet-size objects just slightly smaller than Earth, were possibly created when their parent body spiraled inward too close to the bloated red giant star KIC 05807616.

Habitable Planets Around Red Dwarf Stars

According to a recent study, tens of billions of planets around red dwarfs are likely capable of containing liquid water, dramatically increasing the potential to find signs of life somewhere other than Earth. Red dwarfs are stars that are fainter, cooler and less massive than the sun. These stars, which typically also live longer than Class G stars like the sun, are thought to make up about 80 percent of the stars in the Milky Way, astronomers have said.

WISE Catches Aging Star Erupting With Dust

Astronomers by using images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal an old star in the throes of a fiery outburst, spraying the cosmos with dust. The findings offer a rare, real-time look at the process by which stars like our sun seed the universe with building blocks for other stars, planets and even life. The star, catalogued as WISE J180956.27-330500.2, was discovered in images taken during the WISE survey in 2010, the most detailed infrared survey to date of the entire celestial sky.

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