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 : Sun, 22 Jan 2017 02:41:38 EST

Astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
Astronomers have located the habitable zone, the region where water could exist on the surface of a planet, on the Wolf 1061, a planetary system that's 14 light years away.
Publ.Date : Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:15:46 EST

Deep-space mission to metal asteroid
Scientists are planning to send a deep-space probe to a metal asteroid, enabling them to see what is believed to be a planetary core. Psyche, an asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter, is made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal.
Publ.Date : Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:41:45 EST

A tale of two pulsars' tails: Plumes offer geometry lessons to astronomers
Like cosmic lighthouses sweeping the universe with bursts of energy, pulsars have fascinated and baffled astronomers since they were first discovered 50 years ago. In two studies, international teams of astronomers suggest that recent images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory of two pulsars -- Geminga and B0355+54 -- may help shine a light on the distinctive emission signatures of pulsars, as well as their often perplexing geometry.
Publ.Date : Tue, 17 Jan 2017 13:57:43 EST

The sun in detail: Contorted center of sunspot nearly twice the size of Earth
New images have revealed otherwise invisible details of our Sun, including a new view of the dark, contorted center of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth. The images are the first ever made of the Sun with a facility where ESO is a partner. The results are an important expansion of the range of observations that can be used to probe the physics of our nearest star.
Publ.Date : Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:18:35 EST

Astrophysicists discover dimming of binary star
A team astrophysicists has observed the unexplained fading of an interacting binary star, one of the first discoveries using the Sarah L. Krizmanich Telescope.
Publ.Date : Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:11:02 EST

Galaxy murder mystery
It’s the big astrophysical whodunnit. Across the Universe, galaxies are being killed and the question scientists want answered is, what’s killing them?
Publ.Date : Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:06:20 EST

Presumed young star turns out to be a galactic senior citizen
49 Lib, a relatively bright star in the southern sky, is twelve billion years old rather than just 2.3 billion. For many decades, researchers were stumped by conflicting data pertaining to this celestial body, because they had estimated it as much younger than it really is. Determining its age anew, astronomers have now successfully resolved all inconsistencies.
Publ.Date : Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:20:35 EST

Hubble gazes into a black hole of puzzling lightness
The beautiful spiral galaxy visible in the center of the image is known as RX J1140.1+0307, a galaxy in the Virgo constellation imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and it presents an interesting puzzle. At first glance, this galaxy appears to be a normal spiral galaxy, much like the Milky Way.
Publ.Date : Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:54:06 EST

Understanding blended galaxies
Galaxies are merging all the time, even our own galaxy, the Milky Way. But how these mergers occur isn't entirely clear. An American astrophysicist will use a National Science Foundation grant to find and characterize supermassive black holes associated with merging galaxies.
Publ.Date : Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:33:19 EST

Searching for planets in the Alpha Centauri system
Astronomers are conducting a search for planets in the nearby star system Alpha Centauri. Such planets could be the targets for an eventual launch of miniature space probes by the Breakthrough Starshot initiative.
Publ.Date : Thu, 12 Jan 2017 13:07:36 EST

Our galaxy's black hole is spewing out planet-size 'spitballs'
Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic 'spitball.'
Publ.Date : Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:08:18 EST

Farthest stars in Milky Way might be ripped from another galaxy
The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy stream of stars extending one million light-years across space, or 10 times the width of our galaxy.
Publ.Date : Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:08:10 EST

Struggle to escape distant galaxies creates giant halos of scattered photons
Astronomers have discovered giant halos around early Milky Way type galaxies, made of photons (elementary particles of light) that have struggled to escape them.
Publ.Date : Wed, 11 Jan 2017 09:14:23 EST

Next-generation optics offer the widest real-time views of vast regions of the sun
A groundbreaking new optical device to correct images of the Sun distorted by multiple layers of atmospheric turbulence, is providing scientists with the most precisely detailed, real-time pictures to date of solar activity occurring across vast stretches of the star's surface.
Publ.Date : Tue, 10 Jan 2017 16:10:18 EST

Hubble's front row seat when galaxies collide
IRAS 14348-1447 is actually a combination of two gas-rich spiral galaxies doomed by gravity to affect and tug at each other and slowly, destructively, merge into one.
Publ.Date : Tue, 10 Jan 2017 12:06:25 EST

How a moon slows the decay of Pluto's atmosphere
A new study provides additional insight into relationship between Pluto and its moon, Charon, and how it affects the continuous stripping of Pluto's atmosphere by solar wind. When Charon is positioned between the sun and Pluto, the research indicates that the moon can significantly reduce atmospheric loss.
Publ.Date : Mon, 09 Jan 2017 16:23:42 EST

How Earth's previous moons collided to form the moon: New theory
A new theory suggests the Moon we see every night is not Earth's first moon, but rather the last in a series of moons that orbited our planet. Moons formed through the process could cross orbits, collide and merge, slowly building the bigger moon we see today.
Publ.Date : Mon, 09 Jan 2017 12:51:25 EST

High energy x-rays used to peer beneath the obscuring skin of growing black holes
A black hole under investigation is so hidden that it requires highly sensitive observations in the highest energy X-rays to classify it as obscured. But they give themselves away when material they feed on emits high-energy X-rays that NASA's NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission can detect. That's how astronomers used NuSTAR to recently identify a gas-enshrouded supermassive black holes located at the center of a nearby galaxy IC 3639 some 175 million light years from Earth.
Publ.Date : Sun, 08 Jan 2017 13:05:59 EST

Hubble captures 'shadow play' caused by possible planet
Astronomers have been surprised to see a huge shadow sweeping across a disk of dust and gas encircling the nearby, young star TW Hydrae. They have a bird's-eye view of the disk, because it is tilted face-on to Earth, and the shadow sweeps around the disk like the hands moving around a clock. But, unlike the hands of a clock, the shadow takes 16 years to make one rotation. Hubble has 18 years' worth of observations of the star; therefore, astronomers could assemble a time-lapse movie of the shadow's rotation.
Publ.Date : Sat, 07 Jan 2017 11:35:38 EST

Hubble detects 'exocomets' taking the plunge into a young star
Interstellar forecast for a nearby star: Raining comets! NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered comets plunging onto the star HD 172555, which is a youthful 23 million years old and resides 95 light-years from Earth.
Publ.Date : Fri, 06 Jan 2017 16:30:03 EST