Heavens

Astronomers have caught a rare glimpse of a rapidly fading shroud of gas around an aging star. Archival data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the nebula Hen 3-1357, nicknamed the Stingray nebula, has faded precipitously over just the past two decades. Witnessing such a swift rate of change in a planetary nebula is exceedingly without precedent, researchers say.

Scientists from Cardiff University have helped produce a brand-new, three-dimensional survey of our galaxy, allowing them to peer into the inner structure and observe its star-forming processes in unprecedented detail.

More than 40 years since they launched, the Voyager spacecraft are still making discoveries.

In a new study, a team of physicists led by the University of Iowa report the first detection of bursts of cosmic ray electrons accelerated by shock waves originating from major eruptions on the sun. The detection, made by instruments onboard both the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, occurred as the Voyagers continue their journey outward through interstellar space, thus making them the first craft to record this unique physics in the realm between stars.

Using Planck data from the cosmic microwave background radiation, an international team of researchers has observed a hint of new physics. The team developed a new method to measure the polarization angle of the ancient light by calibrating it with dust emission from our own Milky Way.

While the signal is not detected with enough precision to draw definite conclusions, it may suggest that dark matter or dark energy causes a violation of the so-called "parity symmetry."

A team of researchers led by members of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) has analyzed previously collected data to infer the true nature of a compact object--found to be a rotating magnetar, a type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field--orbiting within LS 5039, the brightest gamma-ray binary system in the Galaxy.

A specialist in spacecraft movement control analyzed the process of placing vehicle stages, boosters, and other space debris into the so-called disposal orbit and suggested cleaning lower orbits up with a spacecraft that has modules with engine units on board. These modules will attach to space debris objects and move them away. As for the geostationary orbit, a preferable way to clean it up would be a towing spacecraft that transports space debris objects into the disposal orbit.

LAWRENCE -- Researchers from the University of Kansas have described a galaxy more than 5.25 billion light years away undergoing a rarely seen stage in its galactic life cycle. Their findings recently were published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The galaxy, dubbed CQ 4479, shows characteristics that normally don't coexist: an X-ray luminous active galactic nuclei (AGN) and a cold gas supply fueling high star formation rates.

New data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provides further evidence for tidal disruption in the galaxy NGC 1052-DF4. This result explains a previous finding that this galaxy is missing most of its dark matter. By studying the galaxy's light and globular cluster distribution, astronomers have concluded that the gravity forces of the neighbouring galaxy NGC 1035 stripped the dark matter from NGC 1052-DF4 and are now tearing the galaxy apart.

An international study led from the University of Turku, Finland, discovered phosphorus and fluorine in solid dust particles collected from a comet. The finding indicates that all the most important elements necessary for life may have been delivered to the Earth by comets.

Researchers have discovered phosphorus and fluorine in solid dust particles collected from the inner coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It takes the comet 6.5 years to orbit the Sun.

Researchers created a new astronomical instrument that has successfully aided in estimating the abundance of metals in the early universe. The WINERED instrument allows for better observations of astronomical bodies like quasars in the early universe, billions of years ago. Researchers hope this deeper level of exploration could help answer questions about the origins not only of metals in the universe but also of the stars themselves.

Earth just got 7 km/s faster and about 2000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. But don't worry, this doesn't mean that our planet is plunging towards the black hole. Instead the changes are results of a better model of the Milky Way Galaxy based on new observation data, including a catalog of objects observed over the course of more than 15 years by the Japanese radio astronomy project VERA.

A unique stage of planetary system evolution has been imaged by astronomers, showing fast-moving carbon monoxide gas flowing away from a star system over 400 light years away, a discovery that provides an opportunity to study how our own solar system developed.

Astronomers have detected fast-moving carbon monoxide gas flowing away from a young, low-mass star: a unique stage of planetary system evolution which may provide insight into how our own solar system evolved and suggests that the way systems develop may be more complicated than previously thought.

WASHINGTON --- Studies of both mice and humans who have traveled into space reveal that critical parts of a cell's energy production machinery, the mitochondria, can be made dysfunctional due to changes in gravity, radiation exposure and other factors, according to investigators at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. These findings are part of an extensive research effort across many scientific disciplines to look at the health effects of travel into space.

AMHERST, Mass. - An international team of about 100 scientists of the Borexino Collaboration, including particle physicist Andrea Pocar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, report in Nature this week detection of neutrinos from the sun, directly revealing for the first time that the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) fusion-cycle is at work in our sun.

The CNO cycle is the dominant energy source powering stars heavier than the sun, but it had so far never been directly detected in any star, Pocar explains.

On November 18 scientists from the US National Science Foundation's (NSF's) National Solar Observatory (NSO) predicted the arrival of a large sunspot just in time for Thanksgiving. Using a special technique called helioseismology, the team has been "listening" to changing sound waves from the Sun's interior which beckon the arrival of a large sunspot. Recent changes in these sound waves pointed to the imminent appearance of new sunspots which we can now see from Earth near the eastern solar limb.