Astronomy News

Courtesy of Science Daily

Welcome to Sea and Sky's Astronomy News. Here you can find links to the latest space news headlines on the topic of astronomy. Click on any yellow title below to view the full news article. The news article will open in a new browser window. Simply close the browser window when you are finished reading the article to return to the news article listing. You can use the "Click for More" link to go to a page with more news headlines.


Astronomy News -- ScienceDaily
Updated : Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:41:41 EDT

NASA's Fermi finds record-breaking binary in galaxy next door
Scientists have found the first gamma-ray binary in another galaxy and the most luminous one ever seen. The dual-star system, dubbed LMC P3, contains a massive star and a crushed stellar core that interact to produce a cyclic flood of gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light.
Publ.Date : Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:01:32 EDT

Rosetta instrument provided first-ever ultraviolet observations of a comet
After a two-year orbital tour around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft -- carrying the Alice ultraviolet spectrograph -- will end its mission on Sept. 30. Rosetta is the first spacecraft to orbit and escort a comet, and Alice, developed and operated for NASA, is the first instrument to obtain far-ultraviolet observations at a comet.
Publ.Date : Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:58:57 EDT

Spiral arms in protoplanetary disk: They're not just for galaxies any more
Astronomers have found distinct spiral arms in the disk of gas and dust surrounding the young star Elias 2-27. While similar features have been observed on the surfaces of such disks before, this is the first time they have been identified within the disk, where planet formation takes place. Structures such as these could either indicate the presence of a newly formed planet, or else create the necessary conditions for a planet to form. As such, the results are a crucial step towards a better understanding how planetary systems like our Solar system came into being.
Publ.Date : Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:53:29 EDT

Curiosity finds evidence of Mars crust contributing to atmosphere
NASA's Curiosity rover has found evidence that chemistry in the surface material on Mars contributed dynamically to the makeup of its atmosphere over time. It's another clue that the history of the Red Planet's atmosphere is more complex and interesting than a simple legacy of loss.
Publ.Date : Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:34:38 EDT

ALMA catches stellar cocoon with curious chemistry: First of its kind to be found outside the Milky Way
A hot and dense mass of complex molecules, cocooning a newborn star, has been discovered astronomers using ALMA. This unique hot molecular core is the first of its kind to have been detected outside the Milky Way galaxy. It has a very different molecular composition from similar objects in our own galaxy -- a tantalizing hint that the chemistry taking place across the Universe could be much more diverse than expected.
Publ.Date : Thu, 29 Sep 2016 08:20:19 EDT

Rosetta may be crashing, but its legacy lives on here on Earth
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014, following a ten-year journey through the Solar System after its launch on 2 March 2004. The Philae lander was sent down to the surface of the comet on 12 November 2014. Confirmation of the end of mission is expected from ESA's main control room at 11:20 GMT or 13:20 CEST +/- 20 minutes on 30 September, with the spacecraft set on a collision course with the comet the evening before.
Publ.Date : Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:19:54 EDT

Hubble spots possible water plumes erupting on Jupiter's moon Europa
Astronomers have imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes.
Publ.Date : Mon, 26 Sep 2016 14:29:19 EDT

New low-mass objects could help refine planetary evolution
When a star is young, it is often still surrounded by a primordial rotating disk of gas and dust, from which planets can form. Astronomers like to find such disks because they might be able to catch the star partway through the planet formation process, but it's highly unusual to find such disks around brown dwarfs or stars with very low masses. New work has discovered four new low-mass objects surrounded by disks.
Publ.Date : Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:18:28 EDT

X-rays that don't come from any known source
Space is filled with types of light we can't see -- from infrared signals released by hot stars and galaxies, to the cosmic microwave background. Some of this invisible light that fills space takes the form of X-rays, the source of which has been hotly contended over the past few decades. A new study confirms some ideas about where these X-rays come from, shedding light on our solar neighborhood's early history. But it also reveals a new mystery -- an entire group of X-rays that don't come from any known source.
Publ.Date : Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:47:00 EDT

How to merge two black holes in a simple way
The merger of two black holes, such as the one that produced the gravitational waves discovered by the LIGO Observatory, is considered an extremely complex process that can only be simulated by the world's most powerful supercomputers. However, two theoretical physicists have demonstrated that what occurs on the space-time boundary of the two merging objects can be explained using simple equations, at least when a giant black hole collides with a tiny black hole.
Publ.Date : Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:59:56 EDT

Australian technology installed on world’s largest single-dish radio telescope
The world’s largest filled single-dish radio telescope has launched, and it relies on a piece of West Australian innovation. The telescope -- known as FAST -- uses a data system developed at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy in Perth and the European Southern Observatory to manage the huge amounts of data it generates.
Publ.Date : Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:58:15 EDT

Colorful demise of a sun-like star
Our sun will eventually burn out and shroud itself with stellar debris, but not for another 5 billion years.
Publ.Date : Fri, 23 Sep 2016 15:49:25 EDT

ALMA Explores the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: Deepest ever millimeter observations of early Universe
International teams of astronomers have used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to explore the distant corner of the Universe first revealed in the iconic images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). These new ALMA observations are significantly deeper and sharper than previous surveys at millimetre wavelengths. They clearly show how the rate of star formation in young galaxies is closely related to their total mass in stars. They also trace the previously unknown abundance of star-forming gas at different points in time, providing new insights into the “Golden Age” of galaxy formation approximately 10 billion years ago.
Publ.Date : Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:16:48 EDT

Hubble finds planet orbiting pair of stars
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and a trick of nature, have confirmed the existence of a planet orbiting two stars in the system OGLE-2007-BLG-349, located 8,000 light-years away towards the center of our galaxy. The Hubble observations represent the first time such a three-body system has been confirmed using the gravitational microlensing technique.
Publ.Date : Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:07:08 EDT

Twin jets pinpoint the heart of an active galaxy
Two particle jets shoot out from the heart of active galaxy NGC 1052 at the speed of light, apparently originating in the vicinity of a massive black hole. Researchers have now measured the magnetic fields in this area. They observed the bright, very compact structure of just two light days in size using a global ensemble of millimeter-wavelength telescopes. The magnetic field value recorded at the event horizon of the black hole was between 0.02 and 8.3 tesla. The team concludes that the magnetic fields provide enough magnetic energy to power the twin jets.
Publ.Date : Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:01:19 EDT

NASA scientists find 'impossible' cloud on Titan -- again
The puzzling appearance of an ice cloud seemingly out of thin air has prompted NASA scientists to suggest that a different process than previously thought -- possibly similar to one seen over Earth's poles -- could be forming clouds on Saturn's moon Titan.
Publ.Date : Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:38:36 EDT

In exploring the ‘now,’ new theory links flow of time with Big Bang
A simple question from his wife -- Does physics really allow people to travel back in time? -- propelled a physicist on a quest to resolve a fundamental problem that had puzzled him throughout his 45-year career: Why does the arrow of time flow inexorably toward the future, constantly creating new "nows"?
Publ.Date : Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:12:34 EDT

Feeding a Mars mission: The challenges of growing plants in space
Plants will play a critical role in the survival of human beings on long-duration space missions, such as a mission to Mars.  However, as a new paper shows, many challenges need to be addressed if astronauts are to successfully grow enough food on board spacecraft and on other planets.
Publ.Date : Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:39:18 EDT

In rotating galaxies, distribution of normal matter precisely determines gravitational acceleration
Researchers have found a significant new relationship in spiral and irregular galaxies: the acceleration observed in rotation curves tightly correlates with the gravitational acceleration expected from the visible mass only. The discovery may alter the understanding of dark matter and the internal dynamics of galaxies.
Publ.Date : Wed, 21 Sep 2016 08:50:52 EDT

Galactic fireworks illuminate monster hydrogen blob in space
An international team of researchers using ALMA and other telescopes has discovered the power source illuminating a so-called Lyman-alpha Blob -- a rare, brightly glowing, and enormous concentration of gas in the distant universe.
Publ.Date : Wed, 21 Sep 2016 08:50:46 EDT