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Stars

Artist's impression of Schulz's Star (Image: Michael Osadciw/University of Rochester)

An international team of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile, and South Africa have identified a star system that most likely passed through the outer edge of our solar system at a distance of 0.8 light years some 70,000 years ago. The rogue system, nicknamed Scholz's star, is comprised of a red dwarf with a mass of roughly eight percent of our parent star, while its partner, a brown dwarf, was found to be only six percent as massive as the Sun.  Read More

The SPHERE instrument, which can be seen here in black, was used to search for the brown d...

The ESO has turned the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research instrument (SPHERE) towards an unusual double star with the expectation of finding an orbiting brown dwarf. However, the observations didn’t quite go according to plan, with the instrument – which is the latest addition to the Very Large Telescope (VLT) – coming up short. The findings have led to an ongoing re-examination of the cause of the binary stars’ unusual behaviour.  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

Roscosmos has released a series of videos that replace our Moon and Sun with well known pl...

At some point in their lives, who hasn't looked up at the sky and gazed in wonder at Earth's closest companion? Hanging a dizzying 384,400 km (238, 606 miles) above us, the Moon has stood like a silent sentinel throughout our species' short existence. It has enticed some to visit and inspired others to look to the universe beyond. The Russian space agency Roscosmos recently released series of videos shot from the perspective of Earth, showing us what it would look like if other planets and stars took the place of our Moon and Sun.  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

The M82 X-2 pulsar can be seen in pink at the center of this multi-wavelength portrait of ...

Astronomers have used NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) to detect the brightest-ever recorded pulsar. The distant object was happened upon by the team while observing a recent supernova in the region. In the long run, the discovery may improve our understanding of how black holes grow.  Read More

The CHESS Sounding rocket (Photo:  NASA/WSMR)

In an experiment designed to look for the fundamental building blocks of matter in the dust clouds of interstellar space, NASA recently launched a high-altitude sounding rocket containing the Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS) payload. Enabling scientists to carry out the most comprehensive single instrument study of its type ever conducted, the research promises to give new insights into the formation of stars.  Read More

Composite image of the Flame Nebula, comprised of infrared and x-ray images (Image: NASA/C...

Recent data captured by NASA's Chandra Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope has cast doubt on the basic model that accounts for the creation of star clusters. The data, collected from studies of NGC 2024, located in the Flame Nebula and the Orion Nebula Cluster, will require scientists to think up an entirely new approach as to how these celestial bodies come into creation.  Read More

Artist's impression of HR 5171 A [1] (Image: ESO)

The European Space Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has spotted a massive yellow star with a diameter of more than 1,300 times the size of the Sun. The star is also a part of a binary system, with a companion star orbiting so close that it is actually in physical contact with the giant.  Read More

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