Heavens

A unique discovery of two celestial explosions at exactly the same position in the sky has led astronomers to suggest they have witnessed the death of one of the most massive stars that can exist.

The Milky Way's total mass is about 100 billion solar masses - enormous to us but average among galaxies. It spirals around a black hole that is about three million solar masses, say cosmologists.

University of Colorado researchers will scan Venus during a spacecraft flyby this week using an $8.7 million instrument they designed and built for NASA's MESSENGER Mission, launched in 2004 and speeding toward Mercury.

University of Michigan astronomers combined light from four widely separated telescopes to produce the first picture showing surface details on a sun-like star beyond our solar system.

The image of the rapidly rotating, hot star Altair is the most detailed stellar picture ever made using an innovative light-combining technique called optical interferometry, said U-M astronomer John Monnier.Credit: Zina Deretsky (National Science Foundation)

Using ESO's VLTI on Cerro Paranal and the VLBA facility operated by NRAO, an international team of astronomers has made what is arguably the most detailed study of the environment of a pulsating red giant star.

An international team of astronomers with the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey today announce the discovery of their third planet, TrES-3. The new planet was identified by astronomers looking for transiting planets - that is, planets that pass in front of their home star - using a network of small automated telescopes in Arizona, California, and the Canary Islands.

The large molecular gas cloud in the constellation of Taurus is the nearest star formation region and a star formation test environment for expert theorists and observers alike. The XMM-Newton project has provided by far the most sensitive and comprehensive X-ray survey of this region, for the first time systematically detecting almost all young stars embedded in the cloud as X-ray sources, including many objects with the lowest mass, the so-called brown dwarfs, and stars still in the process of growing, the so-called protostars.

An international team of astronomers led by Ohio State University has examined dark matter in the outer reaches of our galaxy in a new way.

The latest find from an international planet-hunting team of amateur and professional astronomers is one of the oddest extrasolar planets ever cataloged -- a mammoth orb more than 13 times the mass of Jupiter that orbits its star in less than four days.

Two merging black holes can generate gravitational waves so powerful that the merged hole shoots out of its host galaxy at a speed of up to 2,500 miles per second, according to a new simulation.

The world's largest and most prolific team of planet hunters announced today (Monday, May 28) the discovery of 28 new planets outside our solar system, increasing to 236 the total number of known exoplanets.

A newly discovered dwarf galaxy in the Local Group has been found to have formed in a region of space far from our own and is falling into our system for the first time in its history, according to new data obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory. An international team of astronomers report that the dwarf galaxy, Andromeda XII, marks the best piece of evidence for small galaxies which are just now arriving in our Local Group.

A CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) is a solar body slam to our high-tech civilization. CMEs begin when the sun launches a billion tons of electrically conducting gas (plasma) into space at millions of miles per hour. A CME cloud is laced with magnetic fields, and CMEs directed our way smash into Earth's magnetic field. If the CME magnetic fields have the correct orientation, they dump energy into Earth's magnetic field, causing magnetic storms. These storms can cause widespread blackouts by overloading power line equipment with extra electric current. But wait; there's more.

Using NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) satellite and ground-based telescopes, astronomers have determined, for the first time, the properties of a rare, extremely massive, and young binary star system.

 NASA / JPL-Caltech / GSFC / SDSSIn just a short amount of time, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has bagged more than a thousand previously unknown dwarf galaxies in a giant cluster of galaxies.