Hubble Observes One-of-a-Kind Star Nicknamed 'Nasty'
Thu, 21 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Astronomers have spent decades trying to determine the oddball behavior of an
aging star nicknamed "Nasty 1" residing in our Milky Way galaxy. Nasty 1 was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly evolving star that is much
more massive than our sun. The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.
Impact crater or supervolcano caldera? - Read more >
Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:00 +0200
At first glance, the region covered by this latest Mars Express image release appears to be pockmarked with impact craters. But the largest structure among them may hold a rather explosive secret: it could be remains of an ancient supervolcano.
Hubble Catches a Stellar Exodus in Action
Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Globular star clusters are isolated star cities, home to hundreds of thousands of
stars. And like the fast pace of cities, there's plenty of action in these stellar
metropolises. The stars are in constant motion, orbiting around the cluster's
center. Past observations have shown that the heavyweight stars live in the
crowded downtown, or core, and lightweight stars reside in the less populated
Hubble Finds Giant Halo Around the Andromeda Galaxy
Thu, 07 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400
The Andromeda galaxy is our Milky Way's nearest neighbor in space. The
majestic spiral of over 100 billion stars is comparable in size to our home galaxy.
At a distance of 2.5 million light-years, it is so close to us the galaxy can be seen
as a cigar-shaped smudge of light high in the autumn sky. But if you could see
the huge bubble of hot, diffuse plasma surrounding it, it would appear 100 times
the angular diameter of the full Moon! The gargantuan halo is estimated to
contain half the mass of the stars in the Andromeda galaxy itself. It can be
thought of as the "atmosphere" of a galaxy. Astronomers using Hubble identified
the gas in Andromeda's halo by measuring how it filtered the light of distant bright background objects
called quasars. It is akin to seeing the glow of a flashlight shining through a fog.
This finding promises to tell astronomers more about the evolution and structure
of one of the most common types of galaxies in the universe.
Send your drawing into space with Cheops - Read more >
Wed, 06 May 2015 17:00:00 +0200
Do you want to send your art into space on the new Cheops satellite? ESA and its mission partners are inviting children to submit drawings that will be miniaturised and engraved on two plaques that will be put on the satellite.
Astronomers Set a New Galaxy Distance Record
Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400
The universe is incredibly big. But how do astronomers know that? Billion-mile-long tape measures can't be found at the hardware store. Instead, astronomers
use the expansion of the universe itself to establish milepost markers. The light
from remote objects is attenuated and weakened as space stretches like a
rubber band. The consequences are that starlight will look redder relative to a
nearby star of the same temperature. When starlight is spread into its component
color via spectroscopy, features in the light will be shifted to the red end of the
spectrum. This "redshift" can be used to reliably calibrate distances. The
challenge is the farthest objects in the universe are typically too faint for
spectroscopy to work. So instead, astronomers deduce a galaxy's distance by
precisely measuring its colors in visible and infrared light. This technique has
found candidates for the farthest object in the universe.
Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years of Unveiling the Universe
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 09:15:00 -0400
NASA and ESA are celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope's silver anniversary of 25
years in space by unveiling some of nature's own fireworks a giant cluster of
about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2. The cluster resides inside a vibrant stellar
breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the
constellation Carina. The comparatively young, 2-million-year-old star cluster
contains some of our galaxy's hottest, brightest, and most massive stars. The
largest stars are unleashing a torrent of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds
that etch away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud. This creates a fantasy
celestial landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys.
Our Sun Came Late to the Milky Way's Star-Birth Party
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Our Sun missed the stellar "baby boom" that erupted in our young Milky Way galaxy 10
billion years ago. During that time the Milky Way was churning out stars 30 times faster
than it does today. Our galaxy was ablaze with a firestorm of star birth as its rich
reservoir of hydrogen gas compressed under gravity, creating myriad stars. But our Sun
was not one of them. It was a late "boomer," arising 5 billion years later, when star birth had plunged to a trickle.
NASA and STScI Select Hubble Fellows for 2015
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:00:00 -0400
NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) have announced the
selection of 17 new Hubble Fellows. STScI in Baltimore, Maryland, administers
the Hubble Fellowship Program for NASA. The Hubble Fellowship Program
includes all research relevant to present and future missions relating to NASA's
Cosmic Origins Program. These missions currently include the Herschel Space
Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the James Webb Space
Telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and
the Spitzer Space Telescope. The new Hubble Fellows will begin their programs
in the fall of 2015.
Hubble Finds Phantom Objects Near Dead Quasars
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:00:00 -0400
In 2007, Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel discovered a never-before-seen
ghostly structure near a galaxy, while she was participating in an online amateur
scientist project called Galaxy Zoo. The galaxy hosts a bright quasar that may
have illuminated the apparition by hitting it with a beam of light from hot gas
around a central black hole. Astronomers eagerly used the Hubble Space
Telescope to do follow-up observations, which revealed knots of dust and gas in
the "greenish blob." Assuming that this feature could offer insights into the
puzzling behavior of active galaxies, Bill Keel of the University of Alabama,
Tuscaloosa, initiated a search for other similar phenomenon. After all, where
there's one strange blob there could be more. Keel had 200 volunteers look at
archival data of 15,000 galaxies hosting quasars. In the end, he found eight other
galaxies with bright active nuclei that have illuminated material far outside the
radius of the galaxy. The eerie structures have looping, spiral, and braided
shapes. Hubble's images show that they are like the remnants of galaxy
Join Hubble scientists for a live Hubble Hangout discussion at 3pm EDT on Thurs.,
April 2, to learn even more. Visit: http://hbbl.us/y6c .
Hubble and Chandra Discover Dark Matter Is Not as Sticky as Once Thought
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:00:00 -0400
In particle physics labs, like the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland,
scientists smash atoms together to study the underpinnings of matter and energy.
On the scale of the macrocosm, nature provides a similar experiment by crashing
clusters of galaxies together. Besides galaxies and gas, the galaxy clusters
contain huge amounts of dark matter. Dark matter is a transparent form of matter
that makes up most of the mass in the universe. During collisions, the clouds of
gas enveloping the galaxies crash into each other and slow down or stop.
Astronomers found that the dark matter continued straight through the violent
collisions, without slowing down relative to the galaxies. Their best explanation
is that the dark matter did not interact with visible particles, and it also
interacted less frequently with other dark matter than previously thought.
Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory to study
72 large galaxy cluster collisions. Chandra traced the hot gas, and Hubble saw
how the invisible dark matter warps space and distorts the images of background
stars. This allowed for the distribution of dark matter in the collision to be
mapped. The finding narrows down the options for what this dark matter might be.
Hubble Source Catalog: One-Stop Shopping for Astronomers
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Johns Hopkins
University, both in Baltimore, Maryland, have created a new master catalog of
astronomical objects called the Hubble Source Catalog. The catalog provides one-stop
shopping for measurements of objects observed with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Mars hills hide icy past - Read more >
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:00:00 +0100
A complex network of isolated hills, ridges and small basins spanning 1400 km on Mars is thought to hide large quantities of water-ice.
Planck: gravitational waves remain elusive - Read more >
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0100
Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA’s Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves.
Rosetta watches comet shed its dusty coat - Read more >
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:00:00 +0100
ESA’s Rosetta mission is providing unique insight into the life cycle of a comet’s dusty surface, watching 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it sheds the dusty coat it has accumulated over the past four years.
Getting to know Rosetta’s comet - Read more >
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:00:00 +0100
Rosetta is revealing its host comet as having a remarkable array of surface features and with many processes contributing to its activity, painting a complex picture of its evolution.
Mysteries in Nili Fossae - Read more >
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:26:00 +0100
These new images from the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express show Nili Fossae, one of the most enticing regions on Mars. This ‘graben system’ lies northeast of the volcanic region of Syrtis Major on the northwestern edge of the large Isidis impact basin – and intriguing hints of methane have been seen here.