Astrophysics

A New Study of How Binary Stars Form

A New Study of How Binary Stars Form

  Using the new capabilities of the upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), scientists have discovered previously-unseen binary companions to a pair of very young protostars. The discovery gives strong support for one of the competing explanations for how double-star systems form. Binary star formation through disk fragmentation starts (left) with a young [continue reading]

Dutch Scientists Found Youngest Protoplanetary Disk Ever

Dutch Scientists Found Youngest Protoplanetary Disk Ever

  Planets form in disks of gas and dust around a star in the making, but when and how such protoplanetary disks form is still a mystery. Now, by using the ALMA radio telescope, a team of astronomers, led by the Leiden PhD student Nadia Murillo and professor Ewine Dishoeck, has found the youngest protoplanetary disk [continue reading]

The Oldest Brown Dwarfs in our Galaxy Discovered

The Oldest Brown Dwarfs in our Galaxy Discovered

  A team of astronomers led by Dr David Pinfield at the University of Hertfordshire have discovered two of the oldest brown dwarfs in our Milky Way galaxy. These ancient objects are moving at speeds of 100-200 kilometers per second, much faster than normal stars and other brown dwarfs and are thought to have formed [continue reading]

The First Stars

The First Stars

  The first stars in the Universe are believed to have formed only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, about 13.7 billion years ago. They heated and ionized the pristine intergalactic medium, and their supernova explosions enriched the primordial gas with the first heavy elements (the Universe was born with only hydrogen [continue reading]

Infant Galaxies Merging Near ‘Cosmic Dawn’

Infant Galaxies Merging Near ‘Cosmic Dawn’

  Astronomers using the combined power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a far-flung trio of primitive galaxies nestled inside an enormous blob of primordial gas nearly 13 billion light-years from Earth. This composite image reveals the structure of Himiko, an object representing the merger of [continue reading]

Small Star Pulled Apart by Medium-Sized Black Hole

Small Star Pulled Apart by Medium-Sized Black Hole

  On the edge of the nearby galaxy Messier 86, astronomers have observed a strange X-ray flash. This flash has almost certainly been caused by a rare cosmic accident in which a small star is pulled apart by a medium-sized black hole. The discovery may provide the missing evidence for the existence of medium-sized black [continue reading]