New study finds that supernova explosions and the jets of a monstrous black hole are scattering a galaxy’s star-making gas like a cosmic leaf blower. The findings, which relied on ultraviolet observations from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer and a host of other instruments, fill an important gap in the current understanding of galactic evolution. It has long been known that gas-rich spiral galaxies like our oun smash together to create elliptical galaxies such as the one observed in the study.
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.
The universe is filled with high-energy radiation, much of which is made of gamma rays belched out by strange pulsing stars and the remnants of supernova explosions. But nearly one-third of all gamma-ray emitting objects seen to date defy identification. The objects were spotted by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which scans the entire sky over the course of three hours, mapping the powerful spectrum.
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.
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.
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.
Astronomers have caught a galaxy in the act of recycling material that it previously threw out, which may explain the discrepancy. New observations provide the first direct evidence of gas flowing into distant galaxies that are actively creating baby stars, offering support for the “galactic recycling” theory. Our Milky Way galaxy seems to turn about one solar mass’ worth of matter into new stars every year.
NASA unveiled a new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky showing more than a half billion stars, galaxies and other objects captured by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. WISE launched December 14, 2009, and mapped the entire sky in 2010 with vastly better sensitivity than its predecessors. It collected more than 2.7 million images taken at four infrared wavelengths of light, capturing everything from nearby asteroids to distant galaxies. Since then, the team has been processing more than 15 trillion bytes of returned data.
According to researchers an explosion in space first seen in the 19th century was apparently colder than before thought, throwing a new mystery into what may have triggered it. The cosmic eruption came from Eta Carinae, a star about 7,500 light-years away from Earth that is one of the most massive stars in our Milky Way galaxy. It blazed into ultra-brightness in 1838, becoming the second-brightest star in the sky for 10 years in a rare celestial outburst later dubbed the Great Eruption. The star later dimmed, and is now not even in the top 100 list of brightest stars. Scientists have found that Eta Carinae is a kind of star known as a luminous blue variable, meaning it goes through episodes of dimness and brightness.