Heavens

Maunakea, Hawaii - The most distant quasar known has been discovered. The quasar, seen just 670 million years after the Big Bang, is 1000 times more luminous than the Milky Way, and is powered by the earliest known supermassive black hole, which weighs in at more than 1.6 billion times the mass of the Sun. Seen more than 13 billion years ago, this fully formed distant quasar is also the earliest yet discovered, providing astronomers with insight into the formation of massive galaxies in the early universe.

Scientists have used a "galaxy-sized" space observatory to find possible hints of a unique signal from gravitational waves, or the powerful ripples that course through the universe and warp the fabric of space and time itself.

The new findings, which appeared recently in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, hail from a U.S. and Canadian project called the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav).

Two billion years after the Big Bang, the Universe was still very young. However, thousands of huge galaxies, rich in stars and dust, were already formed. An international study, led by SISSA - Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati, now explains how this was possible. Scientists combined observational and theoretical methods to identify the physical processes behind their evolution and, for the first time, found evidence for a rapid growth of dust due to a high concentration of metals in the distant Universe.

It is well known that the expansion of the universe is accelerating due to a mysterious dark energy. Within galaxies, stars also experience an acceleration, though this is due to some combination of dark matter and the stellar density. In a new study to be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters researchers have now obtained the first direct measurement of the average acceleration taking place within our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

ORLANDO, Jan. 11, 2021 - Data from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has been used to help detect the first possible hints of low-frequency disturbances in the curvature of space-time.

The results were presented today at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held virtually, and are published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Arecibo Observatory is managed by the University of Central Florida for the National Science Foundation under a cooperative agreement.

In 2020, astronomers added a new member to an exclusive family of exotic objects with the discovery of a magnetar. New observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory help support the idea that it is also a pulsar, meaning it emits regular pulses of light.

Magnetars are a type of neutron star, an incredibly dense object mainly made up of tightly packed neutron, which forms from the collapsed core of a massive star during a supernova.

A University of Arizona-led research team has found bands and stripes on the brown dwarf closest to Earth, hinting at the processes churning the brown dwarf's atmosphere from within.

ITHACA, N.Y. - From an observatory high above Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers have taken a new look at the oldest light in the universe.

Their observations, plus a bit of cosmic geometry, suggest that the universe is 13.77 billion years old - give or take 40 million years. A Cornell University researcher co-authored one of two papers about the findings, which add a fresh twist to an ongoing debate in the astrophysics community.

The Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) is home to many interdisciplinary projects which benefit from the synergy of a wide range of expertise available at the institute. One such project is the study of black holes that could have formed in the early universe, before stars and galaxies were born.

Any Neapolitan ice cream lover knows three flavors are better than one. New research from Northwestern University has found that by studying all three "flavors" involved in a supernova, they've unlocked more clues as to how and why stars die.

Scientists look at neutrinos (subatomic particles) for critical information about supernova explosions. While previous research identified three "flavors" of neutrinos, many researchers continued to simplify studies on the topic by studying "vanilla" while ignoring "chocolate" and "strawberry."

Stars are born in dense clouds of molecular hydrogen gas that permeates interstellar space of most galaxies. While the physics of star formation is complex, recent years have seen substantial progress towards understanding how stars form in a galactic environment. What ultimately determines the level of star formation in galaxies, however, remains an open question.

New simulations carried out in part on the ATERUI II supercomputer in Japan have found that the reason ions exist at higher temperatures than electrons in space plasma is because they are better able to absorb energy from compressive turbulent fluctuations in the plasma. These finding have important implications for understanding observations of various astronomical objects such as the images of the accretion disk and shadow of the M87 supermassive black hole captured by the Event Horizon Telescope.

Just as archaeologists dig hoping to find traces of the past, an international group of astrophysicists managed to get into the thick cloud of dust around the centre of the Milky Way (also known as the bulge) discovering primordial clumps of gas and stars never found so far. They named this new class of stellar system "Bulge Fossil Fragments". A research team led by Francesco Ferraro (Department of Physics and Astronomy "Augusto Righi" at the University of Bologna and member of the National Institute for Astrophysics - INAF) carried out a study published in Nature Astronomy.

Cambridge, MA (December 17, 2020)--Artificial intelligence is classifying real supernova explosions without the traditional use of spectra, thanks to a team of astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. The complete data sets and resulting classifications are publicly available for open use.

An international group of scientists, including Case Western Reserve University Astronomy Chair Stacy McGaugh, has published research contending that a rival idea to the popular dark matter hypothesis more accurately predicts a galactic phenomenon that appears to defy the classic rules of gravity.