Heavens

ITHACA, N.Y. - Gravitational waves, first detected in 2016, offer a new window on the universe, with the potential to tell us about everything from the time following the Big Bang to more recent events in galaxy centers.

And while the billion-dollar Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector watches 24/7 for gravitational waves to pass through the Earth, new research shows those waves leave behind plenty of "memories" that could help detect them even after they've passed.

Scientists from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research and collaborators have used simulations to show that the photons emitted by long gamma-ray bursts--one of the most energetic events to take place in the universe--originate in the photosphere--the visible portion of the "relativistic jet" that is emitted by exploding stars.

The center of our galaxy is a frenzy of activity. A behemoth black hole -- 4 million times as massive as the sun -- blasts out energy as it chows down on interstellar detritus while neighboring stars burst to life and subsequently explode.

Now, an international team of astronomers has discovered two exhaust channels -- dubbed "galactic center chimneys" -- that appear to funnel matter and energy away from the cosmic fireworks in the Milky Way's center, about 28,000 light-years from Earth.

Scientists looking for signs of life beyond our solar system face major challenges, one of which is that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone to consider. To narrow the search, they must figure out: What kinds of stars are most likely to host habitable planets?

A new study finds a particular class of stars called K stars, which are dimmer than the Sun but brighter than the faintest stars, may be particularly promising targets for searching for signs of life.

What do tiny specks of silicon carbide stardust, found in meteorites and older than the solar system, have in common with pairs of aging stars prone to eruptions?

A collaboration between two Arizona State University scientists -- cosmochemist Maitrayee Bose and astrophysicist Sumner Starrfield, both of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration -- has uncovered the connection and pinpointed the kind of stellar outburst that produced the stardust grains.

Their study has just been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

A San Diego State University astrophysicist has helped discover evidence of a gigantic remnant surrounding an exploding star--a shell of material so huge, it must have been erupting on a regular basis for millions of years.

On Jan. 30 2019, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired a spectacular limb shot centered on the Chang'e 4 landing site, looking across the floor of Von Kármán crater. At the time, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was more than 200 kilometers from the landing site so Chang'e 4 was only a few pixels across and the rover was not discernable. The following day LRO was closer to the site and again slewed (59 degrees this time) to capture another view. This time the small Yutu-2 rover shows up (two pixels) just north of the lander.

New research undertaken at Northumbria University, Newcastle shows that the Sun's magnetic waves behave differently than currently believed.

Their findings have been reported in the latest edition of the prominent journal, Nature Astronomy.

After examining data gathered over a 10-year period, the team from Northumbria's Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering found that magnetic waves in the Sun's corona - its outermost layer of atmosphere - react to sound waves escaping from the inside of the Sun.

When we think of life on Earth, we might think of individual examples ranging from animals to bacteria. When astrobiologists study life, however, they have to consider not only individual organisms, but also ecosystems, and the biosphere as a whole.

In astrobiology, there is an increasing interest in whether life as we know it is a quirk of the particular evolutionary history of the Earth or, instead, if life might be governed by more general organizing principles.

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study some of the oldest and faintest stars in the globular cluster NGC 6752 have made an unexpected finding. They discovered a dwarf galaxy in our cosmic backyard, only 30 million light-years away. The finding is reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

For many years, scientists assumed the aurora seen around the north pole was identical to the aurora seen around the south pole. The poles are connected by magnetic field lines and auroral displays are caused by charged particles streaming along these field lines. Because the charged particles follow these field lines, it would make sense that the auroras would be mirror images of each other.

The strange orbits of some objects in the farthest reaches of our solar system, hypothesised by some astronomers to be shaped by an unknown ninth planet, can instead be explained by the combined gravitational force of small objects orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune, say researchers.

A team of scientists has, for the first time, used a single, cohesive computer model to simulate the entire life cycle of a solar flare: from the buildup of energy thousands of kilometers below the solar surface, to the emergence of tangled magnetic field lines, to the explosive release of energy in a brilliant flash.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A Northwestern University-led international team is getting closer to understanding the mysteriously bright object that burst in the northern sky this summer.

On June 17, the ATLAS survey's twin telescopes in Hawaii found a spectacularly bright anomaly 200 million light years away in the Hercules constellation. Dubbed AT2018cow or "The Cow," the object quickly flared up, then vanished almost as quickly.

An unusual supernova studied by multiple telescopes, including the SOAR telescope and other telescopes at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) and NSF's Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), is thought to herald the birth of a new black hole or neutron star, caught at the exact moment of its creation. Observations made with facilities ranging from X-rays to optical and radio wavelengths were used to understand this remarkable event.