Heavens

Research from the University of Sheffield has found that the chance of finding Earth-like planets in their early stages of formation is much higher than previously thought.

The team studied groups of young stars in the Milky Way to see if these groups were typical compared to theories and previous observations in other star-forming regions in space, and to study if the populations of stars in these groups affected the likelihood of finding forming Earth-like planets.

New results from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest the formation of the first stars and galaxies in the early Universe took place sooner than previously thought. A European team of astronomers have found no evidence of the first generation of stars, known as Population III stars, as far back as when the Universe was just 500 million years old.

The research, led by PhD candidate Adelle Goodwin from the Monash School of Physics and Astronomy will be featured at an upcoming American Astronomical Society meeting this week before it is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Adelle leads a team of international researchers, including her supervisor, Monash University Associate Professor Duncan Galloway, and Dr David Russell from New York University Abu Dhabi.

MADISON -Using the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper telescope, astronomers have for the first time measured the Fermi Bubbles in the visible light spectrum. The Fermi Bubbles are two enormous outflows of high-energy gas that emanate from the Milky Way and the finding refines our understanding of the properties of these mysterious blobs.

We can all picture that incredible image of a black hole that travelled around the world about a year ago. Yet, according to new research by SISSA, ICTP and INFN, black holes could be like a hologram, where all the information is amassed in a two-dimensional surface able to reproduce a three-dimensional image. In this way, these cosmic bodies, as affirmed by quantum theories, could be incredibly complex and concentrate an enormous amount of information inside themselves, as the largest hard disk that exists in nature, in two dimensions.

A new ultra-bright source of X-rays has awakened in between our galactic neighbours the Magellanic Clouds, after a 26-year slumber. This is the second-closest such object known to date, with a brightness greater than a million Suns. The discovery is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

A new paper has shown how large structures in the distribution of galaxies in the Universe provide the most precise tests of dark energy and cosmic expansion yet.

The study uses a new method based on a combination of cosmic voids - large expanding bubbles of space containing very few galaxies - and the faint imprint of sound waves in the very early Universe, known as baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO), that can be seen in the distribution of galaxies. This provides a precise ruler to measure the direct effects of dark energy driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe.

Computer simulations conducted by astrophysicists at Tohoku University in Japan, have revealed a new theory for the origin of supermassive black holes. In this theory, the precursors of supermassive black holes grow by swallowing up not only interstellar gas, but also smaller stars as well. This helps to explain the large number of supermassive black holes observed today.

The Sun is the brightest object in the sky and has been studied for hundreds of years, but it continues to hide some secrets. We all know that the visible Sun is extremely hot, at temperature of about 5500 degrees. Surprisingly, on top of this sits a layer of gas, called the corona, which is at a temperature of almost 2 million degrees, over 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun! What heats up the corona to 2 million degrees is one of the most challenging puzzles about the Sun and no one found a satisfactory answer to this until date.

A team of researchers, led by astrophysicist Sumner Starrfield of Arizona State University (ASU), has combined theory with both observations and laboratory studies and determined that a class of stellar explosions, called classical novae, are responsible for most of the lithium in our galaxy and solar system.

The results of their study have been recently published in the Astrophysical Journal of the American Astronomical Society.

The halo that surrounds our own Milky Way galaxy is much hotter than scientists once believed - and it may not be unique among galaxies.

The new findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, held online this week because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In previous work, researchers at The Ohio State University found that parts of the Milky Way's halo - the hazy fog of dust, gas and dark matter that surrounds some galaxies - was at least 10 times hotter than anyone had known before.

Astronomers using European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes have discovered giant spots on the surface of extremely hot stars hidden in stellar clusters. Not only are these stars plagued by magnetic spots, some also experience superflare events, explosions of energy several million times more energetic than similar eruptions on the Sun. The findings, published today in Nature Astronomy, help astronomers better understand these puzzling stars and open doors to resolving other elusive mysteries of stellar astronomy.

Maunakea, Hawaii - Determined to find a needle in a cosmic haystack, a pair of astronomers time traveled through archives of old data from W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauankea in Hawaii and old X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to unlock a mystery surrounding a bright, lensed, heavily obscured quasar.

The existence of a planet the size of Earth around the closest star in the solar system, Proxima Centauri, has been confirmed by an international team of scientists including researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE). The results, which you can read all about in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, reveal that the planet in question, Proxima b, has a mass of 1.17 earth masses and is located in the habitable zone of its star, which it orbits in 11.2 days.

Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) play a major role in galaxy evolution. Astronomers from the University of Groningen and Netherlands Institute for Space Research have now used a record-sized sample of galaxies to confirm that galaxy mergers have a positive effect on igniting AGNs. They were able to compile about ten times more images of merging galaxies than previous studies by using a machine-learning algorithm. The results were published on 27 May in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.