Heavens

BOZEMAN -- A new search led by Montana State University has revealed more than a dozen massive black holes in dwarf galaxies that were previously considered too small to host them, and surprised scientists with their location within the galaxies.

Stellar black holes form when massive stars end their life in a dramatic collapse. Observations have shown that stellar black holes typically have masses of about ten times that of the Sun, in accordance with the theory of stellar evolution. Recently, a Chinese team of astronomers claimed to have discovered a black hole as massive as 70 solar masses, which, if confirmed, would severely challenge the current view of stellar evolution.

Astrophysics, Galaxies: The most distant dying galaxy discovered so far, more massive than our Milky Way -- with more than a trillion stars -- has revealed that the 'cores' of these systems had formed already 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, about 1 billion years earlier than previous measurements revealed. The discovery will add to our knowledge on the formation of the Universe more generally, and may cause the computer models astronomers use, one of the most fundamental tools, to be revised.

An analysis of cyclical changes in the light spectrum emitted by Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun, suggests it may be orbited by a second planet. Mario Damasso and colleagues present data suggesting that this candidate planet orbits Proxima Centauri every 5.2 years and may be a "super-Earth", with a mass higher than Earth's, though much lower than that of the Solar System ice giants Uranus and Neptune. If its existence is confirmed, this planet may provide insights into how low-mass planets form around low-mass stars.

Astronomers from UCLA's Galactic Center Orbits Initiative have discovered a new class of bizarre objects at the center of our galaxy, not far from the supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*. They published their research today in the journal Nature.

"These objects look like gas and behave like stars," said co-author Andrea Ghez, UCLA's Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics and director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group.

The dwarf galaxy Gaia-Enceladus collided with the Milky Way probably approximately 11.5 billion years ago. A team of researchers including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany for the first time used a single star affected by the collision as a clue for dating. Using observational data from ground-based observatories and space telescopes, the scientists led by the University of Birmingham were able to determine the age of the star and the role it played in the collision.

Phosphorus, present in our DNA and cell membranes, is an essential element for life as we know it. But how it arrived on the early Earth is something of a mystery. Astronomers have now traced the journey of phosphorus from star-forming regions to comets using the combined powers of ALMA and the European Space Agency's probe Rosetta. Their research shows, for the first time, where molecules containing phosphorus form, how this element is carried in comets, and how a particular molecule may have played a crucial role in starting life on our planet.

Washington, DC-- A "cold Neptune" and two potentially habitable worlds are part of a cache of five newly discovered exoplanets and eight exoplanet candidates found orbiting nearby red dwarf stars, which are reported in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series by a team led by Carnegie's Fabo Feng and Paul Butler.

A new study by a group of researchers at the University of Birmingham has found that collisions of supermassive black holes may be simultaneously observable in both gravitational waves and X-rays at the beginning of the next decade.

A single bright star in the constellation of Indus, visible from the southern hemisphere, has revealed new insights on an ancient collision that our galaxy the Milky Way underwent with another smaller galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus early in its history.

When it comes to the biggest and brightest explosions seen in the Universe, University of Warwick astronomers have found that it takes two stars to make a gamma-ray burst.

New research solves the mystery of how stars spin fast enough to create conditions to launch a jet of highly energetic material into space, and has found that tidal effects like those between the Moon and the Earth are the answer.

Researchers at San Diego State University have found a new way to harness food as medicine, which has far reaching implications to control harmful microbes in our gut while balancing microbial diversity by fostering the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Foods we eat commonly affect our gut microbiota. New research shows they do so by triggering the production of bacteriophage - viruses that infect and replicate inside bacteria. Compounds in these foods have an antimicrobial effect which causes the phage to replicate.

Stellar black holes form when massive stars end their life in a dramatic collapse. Observations have shown that stellar black holes typically have masses of about ten times that of the Sun, in accordance with the theory of stellar evolution. Recently, a Chinese team of astronomers claimed to have discovered a black hole as massive as 70 solar masses, which, if confirmed, would severely challenge the current view of stellar evolution. The publication immediately triggered theoretical investigations as well as additional observations by other astrophysicists.

A group of scientists, among them several from GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung and from Technical University of Darmstadt, succeeded to experimentally determine characteristics of nuclear processes in matter ten million times denser and 25 times hotter than the centre of our Sun. A result of the measurement is that intermediate-mass stars are very likely to explode, and not, as assumed until now, collapse. The findings are now published in the scientific magazine Physical Review Letters.

A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch.