Heavens

"Clusters form big families of stars that can stay together for large parts of their lifetime. Today, we know of roughly a few thousand star clusters in the Milky Way, but we only recognize them because of their prominent appearance as rich and tight groups of stars. Given enough time, stars tend to leave their cradle and find themselves surrounded by countless strangers, thereby becoming indistinguishable from their neighbours and hard to identify" says Stefan Meingast, lead author of the paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Maunakea, Hawaii - In a surprising discovery, astronomers using two Maunakea Observatories - W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) - have found a globular star cluster in the Andromeda Galaxy that contains a record-breaking low amount of metals.

The stars in the cluster, called RBC EXT8, have on average 800 times less iron than our Sun and are three times more iron-poor than the previous globular cluster record-holder. RBC EXT8 is also extremely deficient in magnesium.

A team of astronomers from the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA-TIFR) in Pune, and the Raman Research Institute (RRI), in Bengaluru, has used the upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) to measure the atomic hydrogen content of galaxies seen as they were 8 billion years ago, when the universe was young. This is the earliest epoch in the universe for which there is a measurement of the atomic gas content of galaxies. This research has been published in the 14 October 2020 issue of the journal Nature.

Two new studies from the University of Melbourne will help the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built to uncover galaxies never before seen by humanity.

The papers are published in The Astrophysical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and show that NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch late next year, will reveal hidden galaxies.

Researchers from MIPT have developed a prototype detector of solar particles. The device is capable of picking up protons at kinetic energies between 10 and 100 megaelectronvolts, and electrons at 1-10 MeV. This covers most of the high-energy particle flux coming from the sun. The new detector can improve radiation protection for astronauts and spaceships, as well as advancing our understanding of solar flares. The research findings are reported in the Journal of Instrumentation.

New research is helping to explain one of the big questions that has perplexed astrophysicists for the past 30 years - what causes the changing brightness of distant stars called magnetars.

Magnetars were formed from stellar explosions or supernovae and they have extremely strong magnetic fields, estimated to be around 100 million, million times greater than the magnetic field found on earth.

New research shows that sunspots and other active regions can change the overall solar emissions. The sunspots cause some emissions to dim and others to brighten; the timing of the changes also varies between different types of emissions. This knowledge will help astronomers characterize the conditions of stars, which has important implications for finding exoplanets around those stars.

The small Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth, encountered by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft on Jan 1 2019, is so far the most distant and most primitive object ever explored by a spacecraft. The discoveries from the mission have provided detailed information on the object's shape, geology, color and composition, which help people to reshape the knowledge and understanding of planetesimal origin and planet formation.

Using telescopes from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other organisations around the world, astronomers have spotted a rare blast of light from a star being ripped apart by a supermassive black hole. The phenomenon, known as a tidal disruption event, is the closest such flare recorded to date at just over 215 million light-years from Earth, and has been studied in unprecedented detail. The research is published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

A rare blast of light, emitted by a star as it is sucked in by a supermassive black hole, has been spotted by scientists using telescopes from around the world.

It's been three years since the landmark detection of a neutron star merger from gravitational waves. And since that day, an international team of researchers led by University of Maryland astronomer Eleonora Troja has been continuously monitoring the subsequent radiation emissions to provide the most complete picture of such an event.

While on COVID lockdown, a University of Sydney honours student has written a research paper on a star system dubbed one of the "exotic peacocks of the stellar world".

Only one in a hundred million stars makes the cut to be classified a Wolf-Rayet: ferociously bright, hot stars doomed to imminent collapse in a supernova explosion leaving only a dark remnant, such as a black hole.

At around 60 million light-years from Earth, the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy, NGC 1365, is captured beautifully in this image by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Located in the constellation of Fornax (the Furnace), the blue and fiery orange swirls show us where stars have just formed and the dusty sites of future stellar nurseries.

At the outer edges of the image, enormous star-forming regions within NGC 1365 can be seen. The bright, light-blue regions indicate the presence of hundreds of baby stars that formed from coalescing gas and dust within the galaxy's outer arms.

NASA's extensive fleet of spacecraft allows scientists to study the Sun extremely close-up - one of the agency's spacecraft is even on its way to fly through the Sun's outer atmosphere. But sometimes taking a step back can provide new insight.

In a new study, scientists looked at sunspots - darkened patches on the Sun caused by its magnetic field - at low resolution as if they were trillions of miles away. What resulted was a simulated view of distant stars, which can help us understand stellar activity and the conditions for life on planets orbiting other stars.

This work, which verifies one of the predictions of Einstein's General Relativity, is to be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.