Astronomy

Most Black Holes Spin Rapidly. This one… Doesn’t

A Chandra X-ray Observatory view of the supermassive black hole at the heart of quasar H1821+643. Courtesy NASA/CXC/Univ. of Cambridge/J. Sisk-Reynés et al. Black holes. They used to be theoretical, up until the first one was found and confirmed back in the late 20th Century. Now, astronomers find them all over the place. We even …

Most Black Holes Spin Rapidly. This one… Doesn’t Read More »

Tidal Heating Could Make Exomoons Much More Habitable (and Detectable)

Within the Solar System, most of our astrobiological research is aimed at Mars, which is considered to be the next-most habitable body beyond Earth. However, future efforts are aimed at exploring icy satellites in the outer Solar System that could also be habitable (like Europa, Enceladus, Titan, and more). This dichotomy between terrestrial (rocky) planets …

Tidal Heating Could Make Exomoons Much More Habitable (and Detectable) Read More »

Red Supergiant Stars Bubble and Froth so Much That Their Position in the Sky Seems to Dance Around

Making a 3D map of our galaxy would be easier if some stars behaved long enough to get good distances to them. However, red supergiants are the frisky kids on the block when it comes to pinning down their exact locations. That’s because they appear to dance around, which makes pinpointing their place in space …

Red Supergiant Stars Bubble and Froth so Much That Their Position in the Sky Seems to Dance Around Read More »

This is How You Get Multiple Star Systems

Stars form inside massive clouds of gas and dust called molecular clouds. The Nebular Hypothesis explains how that happens. According to that hypothesis, dense cores inside those clouds of hydrogen collapse due to instability and form stars. The Nebular Hypothesis is much more detailed than that short version, but that’s the basic idea. The problem …

This is How You Get Multiple Star Systems Read More »

A Dying Star’s Last Act was to Destroy all Its Planets

When white dwarfs go wild, their planets suffer through the resulting chaos. The evidence shows up later in and around the dying star’s atmosphere after it gobbles up planetary and cometary debris. That’s the conclusion a team of UCLA astronomers came to after studying the nearby white dwarf G238-44 in great detail. They found a …

A Dying Star’s Last Act was to Destroy all Its Planets Read More »

Record ‘Fast Nova’ Flares Over a Single Day

A galactic nova flared briefly into naked eye visibility for a day, before vanishing from sight. Some stars burn bright but brief. These transitory novae pepper the sky, with one flaring into naked eye visibility every few years… but it was a recent brief appearance of just such a ‘new star’ that gave astronomers a …

Record ‘Fast Nova’ Flares Over a Single Day Read More »

We Could Discover new Kinds of Particles Around Black Holes Through Gravitational Waves

On February 11th, 2016, researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the detection of gravitational waves (GW) for the first time. As predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, these waves result from massive objects merging, which causes ripples through spacetime that can be detected. Since then, astrophysicists have theorized countless ways that …

We Could Discover new Kinds of Particles Around Black Holes Through Gravitational Waves Read More »

Remember That Rocket That was Going to Crash Into the Moon? Scientists Think They've Found the Crater

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) – NASA’s eye-in-the-sky in orbit around the Moon – has found the crash site of the mystery rocket booster that slammed into the far side of the Moon back on March 4th, 2022. The LRO images, taken May 25th, revealed not just a single crater, but a double crater formed …

Remember That Rocket That was Going to Crash Into the Moon? Scientists Think They've Found the Crater Read More »

NASA blames recent Hubble woes on aging hardware

The Hubble Space Telescope, seen from the space shuttle Columbia at the end of a 2002 servicing mission. The observatory’s door is open in this picture. Credit: NASA Hardware problems that cropped up earlier this month on the Hubble Space Telescope, now approaching the 31st anniversary of its launch, are the latest signs the observatory …

NASA blames recent Hubble woes on aging hardware Read More »

Hubble resumes science observations after software error

The Hubble Space Telescope in the payload bay of space shuttle Atlantis during the last servicing mission in May 2009. Credit: NASA NASA has partially restored the Hubble Space Telescope to science mode after a software error temporarily halted observations, but engineers continue studying a problem that kept the telescope’s aperture door from closing and …

Hubble resumes science observations after software error Read More »