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Collage of galaxies in which Type la supernovae have taken place (Image: SDSS)

NASA astronomers may have found a way to take more precise measurements of the distances between galaxies. Currently, astronomers use a certain type of supernova, known as a Type la supernova, to gauge the distances between galaxies and from this, the rate at which the universe is expanding. The reason that this particular breed of supernova is singled out for this purpose, is that when they explode, they give out a very similar amount of light.  Read More

Astronomers have identified a white dwarf star that's hurtling through the Milky Way at a ...

An international team led by astronomers from Queen's University Belfast has identified the fastest ever star on an escape trajectory from the Milky Way – the white dwarf US708, which is traveling at a staggering 1,200 km per sec (746 miles per sec). The discovery of this star may shed light on the astronomical events that are vital to the calculation of distances in our universe.  Read More

Image of NGC 1275 displaying filimentary structures of gas surrounding the galaxy in the c...

For a long time, scientists have been searching for an answer as to how galaxy clusters regulate the number of stars they create. Given that the amount of interstellar gas used to create the stellar giants exists in such abundance, this theoretically allows for the creation of many times the current number of stars. A team of researchers from MIT, Columbia University and Michigan State University believe they have found the answer.  Read More

X-ray image of galaxy NGC 2276 (Image:NASA/CXC/SAO/M.Mezcua et al & NASA/CXC/INAF/A.Wolter...

Ever since they were theorized by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity back in 1915, black holes have captured the imagination and curiosity of the public and scientists alike. However, despite this popularity, relatively little is known about how these all-consuming giants evolve and shape the environment around them. NASA scientists are hoping to unravel some of these mysteries by observing an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) sitting 100 million light years away in the spiral arm of galaxy NGC 2276.  Read More

Research carried out by New York University points towards dark matter as a driving force ...

A new study carried out by Professor Michael Rampino of New York University suggests that dark matter may have had a part to play in the periodic mass extinction events that are known to have taken place throughout Earth's history. It takes our planet roughly 250 million years to circle the Milky Way, and around every 30 million years the Sun's orbit takes us through what is known as the galactic disk. The galactic disk is where the majority of the mass in our galaxy resides, and alongside it a thin disk of dark matter.  Read More

Artist's concept of a supermassive black hole (Image: ASA/JPL-Caltech)

Supermassive black holes are titanic oddities. Usually sited at the core of galaxies and various high-energy phenomena such as quasars, their mass can be anywhere from that of a hundred thousand to billions of suns. Now observations from NASA and ESA space telescopes are shedding light on the incredibly powerful cosmic winds they produce, which can have more energy than an entire galaxy.  Read More

The new map from Planck, where blue areas indicate the presence of synchrotron radiation, ...

ESA's Planck mission is yielding some surprising findings along with a beautiful new map of the Milky Way that breaks down some of the key elements of our galaxy. The telescope spent four years studying the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), a relic from the birth of the universe. The resulting data from this endeavor is now helping us refine how we measure matter, how we understand dark matter and generally just unraveling the secrets of the universe.  Read More

Extract from the VISTA survey of the central parts of our galaxy, displaying the stars ord...

The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) VISTA survey telescope has revealed a beautiful new aspect of the Trifid Nebula, a star formation area that sits around 5,200 light years away from Earth, in the direction of the galactic center. By observing and imaging the nebula in infrared light, astronomers can look through the dust-filled, central parts of the Milky Way to expose new objects.  Read More

Hubble composite showing the larger galaxy NGC 7714 having its structure deformed by the n...

NASA's venerated Hubble Space Telescope has captured a striking image of the larger galaxy NGC 7714 colliding with its smaller companion NGC 7715. A similar cataclysmic collision is due to take place between our own galaxy – the Milky Way – and our closest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, in around four billion years. The image itself is a composite, comprised of a number of images captured by Hubble over a wide range of wavelengths.  Read More

The KOI-3158 system compared to other known planets (Image credit: Tiago Campante)

A team of scientists has found what they claim is the oldest Earth-sized planet in the Milky Way, hinting at the possibility of ancient life elsewhere in our galaxy. Located about 117 light years from us in the constellation Lyra, the star KOI-3158 is estimated to be 11.2 billion years old, give or take 900 million years or so. For some perspective, our own sun and solar system is believed to be less than 5 billion years old.  Read More

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