Heavens

A remarkable eclipse of a supermassive black hole and the hot gas disk around it has been observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This eclipse has allowed two key predictions about the effects of supermassive black holes to be tested.

NASA scientists believe they have found a way to predict the color of plants on planets in other solar systems.

Using a trio of space observatories, astronomers may have cracked a 45-year old mystery surrounding two ghostly spiral arms in the galaxy M106 (NGC 4258).

The double sunset that Luke Skywalker gazed upon in the film "Star Wars" might not be a fantasy.

Astronomers using data from several X-ray satellites have caught a magnetar – the remnant of a massive star with an incredibly strong magnetic field – in a sort of giant cosmic blench.

In a galaxy far, far away, a massive star suffered a nasty double whammy. On Oct. 20, 2004, Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki saw the star let loose an outburst so bright that it was initially mistaken for a supernova. The star survived, but for only two years. On Oct. 11, 2006, professional and amateur astronomers witnessed the star actually blowing itself to smithereens as Supernova 2006jc.Swift Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope image of Supernova 2006jc in the galaxy UGC 4904 in three filters. Click image to enlarge.

NGC 1672, visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is seen almost face on and shows regions of intense star formation. The greatest concentrations of star formation are found in the so-called starburst regions near the ends of the galaxy's strong galactic bar. NGC 1672 is a prototypical barred spiral galaxy and differs from normal spiral galaxies in that the spiral arms do not twist all the way into the centre.

Astronomers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have produced the first images of the sky from a prototype of the Long Wavelength Array (LWA), a revolutionary new radio telescope to be constructed in southwestern New Mexico. The images show emissions from the center of our Galaxy, a supermassive black hole, and the remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova over 300 years ago. Not only a milestone in the development of the LWA, the images are also a first glimpse through a new window on the cosmos. "First light" is an astronomical term for the first image produced with a telescope.

An odd, six-sided, honeycomb-shaped feature circling the entire north pole of Saturn has captured the interest of scientists with the Cassini mission.

Imagine two stars with winds so powerful that they eject an Earth's worth of material roughly once every month. Next, imagine those two winds colliding head-on. Such titanic collisions produce multimillion-degree gas, which radiates brilliantly in X-rays. Astronomers have conclusively identified the X-rays from about two-dozen of these systems in our Milky Way. But they have never seen one outside our galaxy — until now.