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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Arp 78: Peculiar Galaxy in Aries

    09/18/2020 4:35:14 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies ^ | 18 Sep, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Bernard Miller
    Explanation: Peculiar spiral galaxy Arp 78 is found within the boundaries of the head strong constellation Aries, some 100 million light-years beyond the stars and nebulae of our Milky Way galaxy. Also known as NGC 772, the island universe is over 100,000 light-years across and sports a single prominent outer spiral arm in this detailed cosmic portrait. Its brightest companion galaxy, compact NGC 770, is toward the upper right of the larger spiral. NGC 770's fuzzy, elliptical appearance contrasts nicely with a spiky foreground Milky Way star in matching yellowish hues. Tracking along sweeping dust lanes and lined with young...
  • Hubble Discovery Hints at a Serious Problem With Our Understanding of Dark Matter

    09/11/2020 10:56:00 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 61 replies ^ | 11 SEPTEMBER 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    It would be extremely optimistic to suggest that we have a good handle on dark matter. But even the slight grasp we do have may be missing something important. New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope have found much higher concentrations of dark matter than expected in some galaxies, by over an order of magnitude. These concentrations are inconsistent with theoretical models, suggesting that there's a big gap in our understanding - the simulations could be incorrect, or there could be a property of dark matter we don't fully understand, according to the research team. "We have done a lot...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - SS 433: Binary Star Micro-Quasar

    08/31/2020 4:41:18 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 14 replies ^ | 31 Aug, 2020 | Animation Credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab
    Explanation: SS 433 is one of the most exotic star systems known. Its unremarkable name stems from its inclusion in a catalog of Milky Way stars which emit radiation characteristic of atomic hydrogen. Its remarkable behavior stems from a compact object, a black hole or neutron star, which has produced an accretion disk with jets. Because the disk and jets from SS 433 resemble those surrounding supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies, SS 433 is considered a micro-quasar. As illustrated in the animated featured video based on observational data, a massive, hot, normal star is locked in...
  • Andromeda’s sphere of influence is much larger than anyone thought

    08/29/2020 8:22:09 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    BGR ^ | 08/28/2020 | Mike Wehner
    NASA scientists have spotted what they are calling a “halo” around Andromeda. The halo, which is more like a huge bloom of plasma, stretches 1.3 million light-years into space. That’s roughly halfway to our own galaxy, which is an impressive feat. We often think of galaxies as self-contained collections of stars, planets, and gasses, but that’s simply not the case. The effects of a galaxy extend far beyond their outer edge. In fact, the line between the edge of a galaxy and empty space is so blurred that there’s hardly a real “edge” at all. In the case of Andromeda,...
  • The Most Powerful Gamma Ray Burst Just Corroborated General Relativity Once Again

    07/10/2020 12:12:41 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 8 replies ^ | 10 JULY 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    Last year, scientists detected the most energetic gamma ray burst we've ever seen. A distant galaxy spat out a colossal flare in the range of a trillion electron volts (TeV), providing invaluable new insight into the physics of these incredibly energetic events. That was pretty amazing on its own - but now astrophysicists have used the burst to perform a new, precise test of the theory of general relativity. And - quelle surprise! - this test found that the speed of light is constant in a vacuum. Relativity, once again, has passed with flying colours. The test hinges on a...
  • 4 mysterious objects spotted in deep space are unlike anything ever seen

    07/08/2020 3:37:51 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 46 replies
    LiveScience ^ | 08 July 2020 | Mara Johnson-Groh
    There's something unusual lurking out in the depths of space: Astronomers have discovered four faint objects that at radio wavelengths are highly circular and brighter along their edges. And they're unlike any class of astronomical object ever seen before. The objects, which look like distant ring-shaped islands, have been dubbed odd radio circles, or ORCs, for their shape and overall peculiarity. Astronomers don't yet know exactly how far away these ORCs are, but they could be linked to distant galaxies. All objects were found away from the Milky Way's galactic plane and are around 1 arcminute across (for comparison, the...
  • Breathtaking new map of the X-ray Universe

    06/20/2020 10:51:41 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 19 replies
    BBC ^ | 19 Jun, 2020 | Jonathan Amos
    Behold the hot, energetic Universe. A German-Russian space telescope has just acquired a breakthrough map of the sky that traces the heavens in X-rays. The image records a lot of the violent action in the cosmos - instances where matter is being accelerated, heated and shredded. Feasting black holes, exploding stars, and searingly hot gas. The data comes from the eRosita instrument mounted on Spektr-RG. This orbiting telescope was launched in July last year and despatched to an observing position some 1.5 million km from Earth. Once commissioned and declared fully operational in December, it was left to slowly rotate...
  • The Porpoise Galaxy from Hubble

    05/10/2020 8:58:35 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 27 replies
    NASA ^ | 10 May, 2020 | NASA/Hubble
    NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) photo for today. What's happening to this spiral galaxy? Just a few hundred million years ago, NGC 2936, the upper of the two large galaxies shown, was likely a normal spiral galaxy -- spinning, creating stars -- and minding its own business. But then it got too close to the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 2937 below and took a dive. Dubbed the Porpoise Galaxy for its iconic shape, NGC 2936 is not only being deflected but also being distorted by the close gravitational interaction. A burst of young blue stars forms the nose...
  • Distant 'quasar tsunamis' are ripping their own galaxies apart

    03/25/2020 4:18:01 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 23 replies
    Live Science ^ | 24 Mar, 2020 | Brandon Specktor
    At the center of almost every galaxy in the universe is a supermassive black hole gobbling up incredible amounts of matter, and belching out incredible amounts of radiation. The biggest and hungriest of these gobblers — called quasars (or quasi-stellar objects, because they look deceptively like stars when seen through most telescopes) — are some of the most energetic objects in the universe. As infalling matter swirls around the quasar's maw at near-light-speed, that matter heats up and flies outward, propelled by the incredible force of its own radiation. All that intergalactic indigestion makes a quasar an awesome sight, capable...
  • Space-time is swirling around a dead star, proving Einstein right again

    01/31/2020 7:21:44 AM PST · by C19fan · 32 replies ^ | January 30, 2020 | Charles Q. Choi
    The way the fabric of space and time swirls in a cosmic whirlpool around a dead star has confirmed yet another prediction from Einstein's theory of general relativity, a new study finds. That prediction is a phenomenon known as frame dragging, or the Lense-Thirring effect. It states that space-time will churn around a massive, rotating body. For example, imagine Earth were submerged in honey. As the planet rotated, the honey around it would swirl — and the same holds true with space-time. Satellite experiments have detected frame dragging in the gravitational field of rotating Earth, but the effect is extraordinarily...
  • UCF researchers discover mechanisms for the cause of the Big Bang

    11/02/2019 11:26:42 AM PDT · by Salman · 84 replies
    Space Daily ^ | Nov 01, 2019 | Space Daily Staff Writers
    The origin of the universe started with the Big Bang, but how the supernova explosion ignited has long been a mystery - until now. In a new paper appearing in Science Magazine, researchers detailed the mechanisms that could cause the explosion, which is key for the models that scientists use to understand the origin of the universe. "We defined the critical criteria where we can drive a flame to self-generate its own turbulence, spontaneously accelerate, and transition into detonation," says Kareem Ahmed, an assistant professor in UCF's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and co-author of the study. ...
  • Scientists detect a black hole swallowing a neutron star

    08/19/2019 8:44:11 AM PDT · by C19fan · 38 replies ^ | August 19, 2019 | Staff
    Scientists, including from The Australian National University (ANU), say they have detected a black hole swallowing a neutron star for the first time. Neutron stars and black holes are the super-dense remains of dead stars. On Wednesday 14 August 2019, gravitational-wave discovery machines in the United States and Italy detected ripples in space and time from a cataclysmic event that happened about 8,550 million trillion kilometres away from Earth.
  • Our Galaxy's Supermassive Black Hole Has Emitted a Mysteriously Bright Flare

    08/12/2019 1:39:07 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 40 replies
    Science Alert ^ | 12 AUG 2019 | MICHELLE STARR
    The supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, is relatively quiet. It's not an active nucleus, spewing light and heat into the space around it; most of the time, the black hole's activity is low key, with minimal fluctuations in its brightness. When we view that radiation with a telescope using the infrared range, it translates as brightness. Normally, the brightness of Sgr A* flickers a bit like a candle, varying from minutes to hours. But when the surroundings of a black hole flare that brightly, it's a sign something may have gotten close enough...
  • New Hubble constant measurement adds to mystery of universe's expansion rate

    07/16/2019 10:11:43 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 31 replies ^ | July 16, 2019 | by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
    These galaxies are selected from a Hubble Space Telescope program to measure the expansion rate of the universe, called the Hubble constant. The value is calculated by comparing the galaxies' distances to the apparent rate of recession away from Earth (due to the relativistic effects of expanding space). By comparing the apparent brightnesses of the galaxies' red giant stars with nearby red giants, whose distances were measured with other methods, astronomers are able to determine how far away each of the host galaxies are. This is possible because red giants are reliable milepost markers because they all reach the same...
  • Mysterious 'Bridge' of Radio Waves Between Galaxies Seems to Be Smashing the Laws of Physics...

    06/07/2019 9:55:18 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 57 replies
    Live Science ^ | June 6, 2019 12:48pm ET | Brandon Specktor,
    The galaxy clusters Abell 0399 and Abell 0401 are some of the most massive objects in the universe. In a new study, researchers have discovered a 10-million-light-year-long bridge of radio waves (shown in blue in this composite image) linking them, and it’s doing crazy things to electrons. On the big roadmap of the universe, bustling clusters of galaxies are connected by long highways of plasma weaving around the wilderness of empty space. These interspace roadways are known as filaments, and they can stretch for hundreds of millions of light-years, populated only by dust, gas and busy electrons driving very close...
  • “The Phantom Universe” –There’s a New ‘Unknown’ Messing with the Cosmos

    03/10/2019 1:28:42 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 39 replies
    There’s a crisis brewing in the cosmos. Measurements over the past few years of the distances and velocities of faraway galaxies don’t agree with the increasingly controversial “standard model” of the cosmos that has prevailed for the past two decades. Astronomers think that a 9 percent discrepancy in the value of a long-sought number called the Hubble Constant, which describes how fast the universe is expanding, might be revealing something new and astounding about the universe. The cosmos has been expanding for 13.8 billion years and its present rate of expansion, known as the Hubble constant, gives the time elapsed...
  • Gravitational waves will settle cosmic conundrum

    02/17/2019 8:54:27 AM PST · by ETL · 26 replies ^ | February 14, 2019 | Simons Foundation
    Measurements of gravitational waves from approximately 50 binary neutron stars over the next decade will definitively resolve an intense debate about how quickly our universe is expanding, according to findings from an international team that includes University College London (UCL) and Flatiron Institute cosmologists. When neutron stars collide, they emit light and gravitational waves, as seen in this artist's illustration. By comparing the timing of the two emissions from many different neutron star mergers, researchers can measure how fast the universe is expanding. Credit: R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL The cosmos has been expanding for 13.8 billion years. Its present rate of expansion,...
  • Something Is Not Quite Right In the Universe, Ultraprecise New Measurement Reveals

    02/09/2019 9:49:05 AM PST · by ETL · 82 replies ^ | February 9, 2019 | Mara Johnson-Groh, Live Science Contributor
    Something isn't quite right in the universe. At least based on everything physicists know so far. Stars, galaxies, black holes and all the other celestial objects are hurtling away from each other ever faster over time. Past measurements in our local neighborhood of the universe find that the universe is exploding outward faster than it was in the beginning. That shouldn't be the case, based on scientists' best descriptor of the universe. If their measurements of a value known as the Hubble Constant are correct, it means that the current model is missing crucial new physics, such as unaccounted-for fundamental...
  • Birth of Massive Black Holes in the Early Universe Revealed

    02/01/2019 10:49:18 AM PST · by Simon Green · 23 replies
    Georgia Tech ^ | 01/23/19
    The light released from around the first massive black holes in the universe is so intense that it is able to reach telescopes across the entire expanse of the universe. Incredibly, the light from the most distant black holes (or quasars) has been traveling to us for more than 13 billion light years. However, we do not know how these monster black holes formed. New research led by researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, Michigan State University, the University of California at San Diego, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and IBM provides a new and extremely promising...
  • Astronomers use split images of quasars to produce a new estimate of the Hubble constant

    01/22/2019 2:38:36 PM PST · by ETL · 22 replies ^ | January 22, 2019 | University of California, Los Angeles
    The question of how quickly the universe is expanding has been bugging astronomers for almost a century. Different studies keep coming up with different answers—which has some researchers wondering if they've overlooked a key mechanism in the machinery that drives the cosmos. Now, by pioneering a new way to measure how quickly the cosmos is expanding, a team led by UCLA astronomers has taken a step toward resolving the debate. The group's research is published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.At the heart of the dispute is the Hubble constant, a number that relates distances to the...