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.

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Dark Matter Theories Challenged By Galaxy Structures

According to astronomers at the University of Bonn in Germany, who made the discovery, the structure of satellite galaxies and star clusters around the Milky Way is so vast that it reaches across a million light-years 10 times as wide as the Milky Way itself. Existing dark matter theories fail to explain the arrangement of these cosmic objects. As said study team member Pavel Kroupa, a professor of astronomy at the University of Bon their model appears to rule out the presence of dark matter in the universe, threatening a central pillar of current cosmological theory.

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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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Cosmic Rays Have Left Scientists in Dark

Cosmic rays are charged subatomic particles that streak to Earth from deep in outer space. A few rare cosmic rays are extraordinarily powerful, with energies up to 100 million times greater than any attained by human-made particle colliders, such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The sources of these cosmic rays are a mystery. According to study co-author Francis Halzen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, principal investigator at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a massive telescope designed to find the tiny subatomic particles nature is capable of accelerating elementary particles to macroscopic energies.

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Missing Dark Matter

Dark matter is one of the greatest cosmic mysteries of our time, an invisible, intangible material thought to make up five-sixths of all matter in the universe. Scientists currently think it is composed of a new type of particle, one that interacts normally with gravity but only very weakly with all the other known forces of the universe. As such, dark matter is detectable only via the gravitational pull it generates.

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Oldest and Closest White Dwarfs

Scientists from the University of Oklahoma have identified two white dwarf stars considered the oldest and closest known to man. Astronomers identified these 11- to 12-billion-year-old white dwarf stars only 100 light-years away from Earth. According to scientists these stars are the closest known examples of the oldest stars in the universe forming soon after the Big Bang. Mukremin Kilic, assistant professor of physics and astronomy in the OU College of Arts and Sciences and lead author on a recently published paper said that a white dwarf is like a hot stove, once the stove is off, it cools slowly over time.

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WISE Mission has Revealed More than 200 Blazars

With the help the data collected by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) astronomers are actively hunting a class of supermassive black holes throughout the universe called blazars. The mission has revealed more than 200 blazars.Blazars are among the most energetic objects in the universe. They consist of supermassive black holes actively “feeding,” or pulling matter onto them, at the cores of giant galaxies.

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The Universe Expansion is Accelerating

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.

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Map of Distant Galaxies May Reveal Dark Energy History

Scientists think that dark energy, the weird force blamed for propelling the universe to expand at an accelerated speed, probably turned on between 5 and 7 billion years ago. Now astronomers have mapped thousands of galaxies from this era, and have determined the most precise distances to them yet, in an effort to get to the bottom of the dark energy mystery. Dark energy is thought to represent about 74 percent of the universe’s total mass and energy, dwarfing ordinary matter.

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