Heavens

HANOVER, N.H. - February 12, 2021 - A newly discovered planetary system will provide researchers with the rare chance to study a group of growing planets, according to research co-led by Dartmouth.

The new system, named TOI 451, is made up of at least three neighboring planets that orbit the same sun. The planets range in size between that of Earth and Neptune.

Using observations from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), an international team of astronomers has discovered a trio of hot worlds larger than Earth orbiting a much younger version of our Sun called TOI 451. The system resides in the recently discovered Pisces-Eridanus stream, a collection of stars less than 3% the age of our solar system that stretches across one-third of the sky.

It is now possible to capture images of planets that could potentially sustain life around nearby stars, thanks to advances reported by an international team of astronomers in the journal Nature Communications.

Using a newly developed system for mid-infrared exoplanet imaging, in combination with a very long observation time, the study's authors say they can now use ground-based telescopes to directly capture images of planets about three times the size of Earth within the habitable zones of nearby stars.

Within the constellation Cygnus, an elderly star and its massive companion are having one last hurrah, flinging off mass at an incredible rate before they explode as supernovae and collapse into a black hole.

Now, researchers including recent Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate Laura M. Lee have mapped the elderly star's orbit around its oversized and equally ancient partner. In a scientific first, they have also determined the dynamical mass of both stars that make up a binary system called Wolf-Rayet 133.

Astronomers may have found our galaxy's first example of an unusual kind of stellar explosion. This discovery, made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, adds to the understanding of how some stars shatter and seed the universe with elements critical for life on Earth.

In data gathered and analyzed over 13 years, the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) Physics Frontiers Center (PFC) has found an intriguing low-frequency signal that may be attributable to gravitational waves.

An international research team including members from The University of Manchester has shown that a rapidly rotating neutron star is at the core of a celestial object now known as PSR J2039?5617

New study found that electrons can reach ultra-relativistic energies for very special conditions in the magnetosphere when space is devoid of plasma.

Astronomers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) and CSIRO have just observed bizarre, never-seen-before behaviour from a 'radio-loud' magnetar--a rare type of neutron star and one of the strongest magnets in the Universe.

Their new findings, published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), suggest magnetars have more complex magnetic fields than previously thought - which may challenge theories of how they are born and evolve over time.

The complex mechanics determining how galaxies spin, grow, cluster and die have been revealed following the release of all the data gathered during a massive seven-year Australian-led astronomy research project.

The scientists observed 13 galaxies at a time, building to a total of 3068, using a custom-built instrument called the Sydney-AAO Multi-Object Integral-Field Spectrograph (SAMI), connected to the 4-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) at Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales. The telescope is operated by the Australian National University.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- At some point between 300 million and 1 billion years ago, a large cosmic object smashed into the planet Venus, leaving a crater more than 170 miles in diameter. A team of Brown University researchers has used that ancient impact scar to explore the possibility that Venus once had Earth-like plate tectonics.

When it launches in the mid-2020s, NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will explore an expansive range of infrared astrophysics topics. One eagerly anticipated survey will use a gravitational effect called microlensing to reveal thousands of worlds that are similar to the planets in our solar system. Now, a new study shows that the same survey will also unveil more extreme planets and planet-like bodies in the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, thanks to their gravitational tug on the stars they orbit.

Musical notes that sound pleasant together can form a harmony. These notes are usually in a special relationship with each other: when expressed as frequencies, their ratios result in simple fractions, such as four-thirds or three-halves. Similarly, a planetary system can also form a kind of harmony when planets, whose orbital period ratios form simple fractions, regularly attract each other with their gravity. When one planet takes three days to orbit its star and its neighbor takes two days, for example.

A new international study led by astrophysicist Eric Agol from the University of Washington has measured the densities of the seven planets of the exoplanetary system TRAPPIST-1 with extreme precision, the values obtained indicating very similar compositions for all the planets. This fact makes the system even more remarkable and helps to better understand the nature of these fascinating worlds. This study has just been published in the Planetary Science Journal.

HOUSTON - (Jan. 21, 2021) - Where did Earth's nitrogen come from? Rice University scientists show one primordial source of the indispensable building block for life was close to home.

The isotopic signatures of nitrogen in iron meteorites reveal that Earth likely gathered its nitrogen not only from the region beyond Jupiter's orbit but also from the dust in the inner protoplanetary disk.