Heavens

New research by astrophysicists at the University of Kent reveals vital clues about the role recycling plays in the formation of life in our universe.

By investigating the different stages in the life journey of stars and gaining new knowledge about their evolutionary cycle, scientists at the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science have discovered more about a crucial stage in the emergence of life in our Universe. Their research reveals for the first time how matter discarded as stars die is recycled to form new stars and planets.

Moving through cosmic forests and spider webs in deep space in search of answers on the origin of the Cosmos. "We have tested a scenario in which dark matter is composed by non-stellar black holes, formed in the primordial Universe" says Riccardo Murgia, lead author of the study recently published in Physical Review Letters. The research was carried out together with his colleagues Giulio Scelfo and Matteo Viel of SISSA - International School for Advanced Studies and INFN - Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (Trieste division) and Alvise Raccanelli of CERN.

Star clusters are formed by the condensation of molecular clouds, masses of cold, dense gas that are found in every galaxy. The physical properties of these clouds in our own galaxy and nearby galaxies have been known for a long time. But are they identical in distant galaxies that are more than 8 billion light-years away? For the first time, an international team led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) has been able to detect molecular clouds in a Milky Way progenitor, thanks to the unprecedented spatial resolution achieved in such a distant galaxy.

West Virginia University researchers have helped discover the most massive neutron star to date, a breakthrough uncovered through the Green Bank Telescope in Pocahontas County.

Neutron stars - the compressed remains of massive stars gone supernova - are the densest "normal" objects in the known universe. (Black holes are technically denser, but far from normal.) Just a single sugar-cube worth of neutron-star material would weigh 100 million tons here on Earth, or about the same as the entire human population. Though astronomers and physicists have studied and marveled at these objects for decades, many mysteries remain about the nature of their interiors: Do crushed neutrons become "superfluid" and flow freely?

For years, astronomers have looked up at the sky and speculated about the strange dimming behavior of Tabby's Star.

First identified more than a century ago, the star dips in brightness over days or weeks before recovering to its previous luminosity. At the same time, the star appears to be slowly losing its luster overall, leaving researchers scratching their heads.

Now, astronomers at Columbia University believe they've developed an explanation for this oddity.

The Large Magellanic Cloud, or LMC, is one of our nearest galactic neighbors, at only 163 000 light years from Earth. With its sibling the Small Magellanic Cloud, these are among the nearest dwarf satellite galaxies to the Milky Way. The LMC is also the home of various stellar conglomerates and is an ideal laboratory for astronomers to study the processes that shape galaxies.

Amid ongoing uncertainty around the value of the Hubble Constant, uncertainty largely created by issues around measuring distances to objects in the galaxy, scientists who used a new distance technique have derived a different Hubble value, one "somewhat higher than the standard value," as Tamara Davis describes it in a related Perspective.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on 20 June 2019 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth this year, at approximately 1.36 billion kilometres away.

EVANSTON, Ill. -- An international team of astronomers, including Northwestern University's Farhad Yusef-Zadeh, has discovered one of the largest structures ever observed in the Milky Way. A newly spotted pair of radio-emitting bubbles reach hundreds of light-years tall, dwarfing all other structures in the central region of the galaxy.

The team believes the enormous, hourglass-shaped structure likely is the result of a phenomenally energetic burst that erupted near the Milky Way's supermassive black hole several million years ago.

Space agencies must invest more resources on field geology training of astronauts to take full advantage of scientific opportunities on the Moon and other planetary bodies, Kip Hodges and Harrison Schmitt urge, in an Editorial. The Moon represents a pristine archive of the early history of the Solar System, making it an ideal research target for scientists seeking a window into planetary formation. Key to the success of these efforts will be careful field geology prior to sample collection.

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Its size and surface gravity are much larger than Earth's, and its radiation environment may be hostile, but a distant planet called K2-18b has captured the interest of scientists all over the world. For the first time, researchers have detected water vapor signatures in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system that resides in the "habitable zone," the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

Two University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers have identified and corrected a subtle error that was made when applying Einstein's equations to model the growth of the universe.

ITHACA, N.Y. - Lakes of liquid methane on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, were likely formed by explosive, pressurized nitrogen just under the moon's surface, according to new research.

"Titan has very distinctive topography. Its lakes show different kinds of shapes and in some cases sharp ridges," said paper co-author Jonathan Lunine, professor of physical sciences at Cornell University.