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Astronomy


— Space

Smart dust could put telescopes in a spray can

By - December 2, 2014
Good things come in small packages – and sometimes in aerosol cans. To prove this, researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California are working on technology for a future generation of space telescopes that may one day see the giant instruments replaced by swarms of particles that are deployed from a can and herded into place by laser beams. Read More
— Space

ALMA telescope reveals planetary formation in sharpest ever submillimeter image

By - November 14, 2014 4 Pictures
The Atacama Larger Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has been used to study the formation of planets in a distant solar system, with the results likely to further our understanding of the process. This latest observation represents the first time the telescope has been used in its near-final configuration, and is the sharpest ever submillimeter wavelength image. Read More
— Space

Discovery of new molecule suggests origins of life may reside in interstellar space

By - September 29, 2014 2 Pictures
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) group of radio telescopes have discovered a carbon-based molecule with a branched structure – a common feature in molecules that are required for life to form. Contained within a giant gas cloud in the star-forming region of Sagittarius B2, the molecule of isopropyl cyanide is the first hint that other complex molecules may form in space before finding their way to the surface of planets. Read More
— Space

Dwarf galaxy suggests black holes may be more common than previously thought

By - September 19, 2014 5 Pictures
Astronomers from the University of Utah, using the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, have discovered a dwarf galaxy that is the smallest ever recorded with a supermassive black hole at its center. The galaxy, M60-UCD1, has been found to contain a black hole with a mass equivalent to 21 million times that of our own sun and whose presence may suggest that such enormous black holes could be more common than previously thought. Read More
— Space

Hubble helps find hidden supernova companion

By - September 9, 2014 5 Pictures
A star accompanying a rare type of supernova in close orbit has been discovered by astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Confirming a long-held theory that the explosion originated in a binary star arrangement, observations verify that the companion star precipitated the destruction of the aging primary star by drawing off mass until its core collapsed and triggered a supernova event. Read More
— Space

Galactic supercluster identified as home to our Milky Way

By - September 3, 2014 2 Pictures
A new study has revealed that our Milky Way is a member of a group of local galaxies interconnected within a larger supercluster made up of a myriad of other galaxies, all interlinked within a tenuous web of filaments many millions of light years long. Dubbed "Laniakea" (Hawaiian for "immense sky") by astronomers working at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF's) Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and others around the world, this research defines hitherto unknown boundaries and connections in our corner of the universe. Read More
— Space

Titanic eruptions on Io could lead to better understanding of Earth's surface formation

By - August 7, 2014 2 Pictures
A series of three massive volcanic eruptions detected on the surface of Jupiter's moon Io in August last year, has the potential to yield insights into the formation process of the surface of Earth-like planets. By any standards, these eruptions were enormous, characterized as titanic curtains of lava issuing forth from fissures several miles in length, that spewed massive amounts of material high above the moon's surface. Read More
— 3D Printing

Create your own hi-res 3D model of a stellar outburst

By - July 14, 2014 3 Pictures
Using a 3D printer to make key fobs and automatic pistols is old hat. The latest thing is a 3D-printed model stellar nebulae. Using new telescopic observations, NASA has created a 3D model of the Homunculus Nebula that isn't just a string of mathematical equations, but a printable plan for a physical representation of an exploding star system. It’s intended to give astronomers a better understanding of the nature of the stars, but can also be downloaded and printed out by the public using a 3D printer. Read More
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