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Astronomy Articles

Rocky Planets Could Be More Common Than Previously Thought

Astronomers have now observed that the dust disc orbiting a brown dwarf contains millimeter-sized solid particles – the same “grains” found in the denser discs surrounding new stars.The new data suggests that rocky planets, such as Earth, may be more …

Astronomers Spot the Most Massive Black Hole Yet Seen

Astronomers have measured the mass of what could be the most massive black hole yet discovered. The object, located at the center of the galaxy NGC 1277, is the equivalent of 17 billion Suns and makes up 14% of it’s …

Astronomers Spot the Most Massive Quasar Outflow Yet Seen

Astronomers have discovered a quasar with the most massive outflow ever seen. Quasars are bright galactic centers powered by supermassive black holes, and many of them accelerate the material around them, throwing it out a high speed in a process …

Astronomers Spot Massive Comet Belts in Nearby Systems

Astronomers using the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel space observatory have discovered massive comet belts orbiting two nearby planetary systems. The systems, named GJ 581 and 61 Vir, are known to host planets that range in mass from Earth-sized to …

Astronomers Discover Dwarf Planet Makemake Has No Atmosphere

Astronomers have discovered that a dwarf planet in our solar system named Makemake has no atmosphere. The object, which orbits in the outer solar system, was expected to have an atmosphere similar to another dwarf planet, Pluto, but new observations …

Astronomers Spot ‘Bridge’ of Hot Gas Connecting Galaxy Clusters

Astronomers using the Planck space telescope have confirmed the presence of a bridge of hot gas bridging the 10 million light-years of intergalactic space between two galaxy clusters. “Planck is helping to reveal hidden material between galaxy clusters that we …

New “Super-Jupiter” Directly Imaged by Astronomers
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Astronomers have directly imaged a “super-Jupiter” planet orbiting around the star Kappa Andromedae. According to NASA, Kappa Andromedae now holds the record for the most massive star to host a directly imaged planet or lightweight brown dwarf companion. The planet, …

NASA May Have Found A New Most Distant Galaxy
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NASA today announced that astronomers have found a candidate for the new most distant galaxy ever seen. This comes just after a similar announcement in September, when a different red blob took the record. The object, dubbed MACS0647-JD, is observed …

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Ends Its Prime Mission, Begins Another
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NASA this week marked the end of the Kepler Space Telescope’s prime mission, which began in March 2009. Like other NASA equipment, the telescope is now beginning another, extended mission NASA says could last as long as four years. Kepler’s …

Close Rogue Planet Identified by ESO Astronomers

Astronomers have identified what is “very probably” a relatively close-by planet hurtling through space – not orbiting a star. The European Southern Observatory used its Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope to study the object, which it calls the …

ESA Releases New Supernova Remnant Photo

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a new image of the aftershock of a supernova remnant named W44. The image, seen above, combines infrared and X-ray light captured by the ESA’s Herschel and XMM-Newton space observatories. W44 is located …

New “Super Earth” Planet Discovered in Six-Planet System
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U.K. and German Astronomers announced this week that they have discovered a new “super Earth” planet that could, conceivably, have an Earth-like climate. The planet exists in the habitable zone of a nearby star called HD 40307 and is part …

Near-Earth Asteroid Imaged by NASA
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NASA scientists announced today that they have created multiple radar images showing the near-Earth asteroid named 2007 PA8. The images were generated using data collected from the 70-meter Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, California on October 28 through October …

Superman Planet Found: Krypton Pinpointed by Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Just weeks after his alter-ego Clark Kent quit the Daily Planet, Superman is getting help from a real-life astrophysicist to pinpoint the location of his home planet. In an Action Comics #14 story titled “Star Light, Star Bright,” famous astrophysicist …

NASA Spots Comet Breaking Up in the Inner-Solar System

Astronomers following the progress of the Hergenrother comet through the inner-solar system are now reporting that the comet is breaking up. Over the past few weeks the comet has been generating “outbursts” of dusty material, and now the object’s nucleus …

Asteroid Belts Could Determine Earth-Like Potential, Study Suggests

A new study shows that planets like Earth could be rare if they depend on asteroid belts of a specific mass range. Researchers suggested that the size and location of a solar system’s asteroid belt could determine whether complex life …

NASA May Have Found the Source of the Sky’s Mysterious Infrared Glow
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NASA today announced that the mystery of the blotchy pattern of infrared light seen across the entire sky may finally be solved. According to a new study published in the journal Nature, the light comes from isolated stars that lie …

NASA Spots Milky Way Black Hole “Flare-Up”
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NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has taken its first images of the giant black hole at the center of our galaxy and caught it in the middle of a “flare-up.” “We got lucky to have captured an outburst from …

Jupiter’s Atmosphere is Seeing Big Changes
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The results of a paper on Jupiter’s atmosphere were released by NASA today, and it appears that big changes are happening for the solar system’s biggest planet. Among the roiling clouds covering Jupiter, belts of the atmosphere are changing color, …

Four-Star Planet Discovered by Planet Hunter Volunteers

Volunteers for the Planet Hunter project have discovered a planet that is part of a four-star system. The planet, named PH1, orbits a pair of stars that is itself orbited by a more distant pair of stars. The Planet Hunter …

Jovian Trojan Asteroids’ Secrets Uncovered by NASA’s WISE
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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) may have been decommissioned last year, but the data it has provided is continuing to reveal clues about our solar system. NASA today announced that researchers using data from WISE have discovered a bit …