mrt 222013
 
‘Sideline Quasars’ Helped to Stifle Early Galaxy Formation

  University of Colorado Boulder astronomers targeting one of the brightest quasars glowing in the Universe some 11 billion years ago say “sideline quasars” likely teamed up with it to heat abundant helium gas billions of years ago, preventing small galaxy formation. This is an artist’s impression of a distant quasar. The dust is hiding the view [continue reading]

mrt 072013
 
Gas Giant Planets Can Handle It All

  New theoretical modeling by Carnegie’s Alan Boss provides clues to how the gas giant planets in our Solar System—Jupiter and Saturn—might have formed and evolved. His work was published recently by The Astrophysical Journal. Jupiter, the largest planet — a gas giant — in our Solar System. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U.S. Geological Survey New stars are [continue reading]

feb 282013
 
The Mystery of a Super-Fast Spinning Supermassive Black Hole

  Two X-ray space observatories, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton, have teamed up to measure definitively, for the first time, the spin rate of a black hole with a mass 2 million times that of our Sun.  This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to [continue reading]

feb 012013
 
Hungry Twin Stars Gobbling Their First Meals

  Just-forming stars, like growing babies, are always hungry and must “feed” on huge amounts of gas and dust from dense envelopes surrounding them at birth. Now a team of astronomers including Robert Gutermuth, a University of Massachusetts Amherst expert in imaging data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, reports observing an unusual “baby” star that [continue reading]

jan 282013
 
Possible Birth Of A Quasar Witnessed

  Sighting may help improve understanding of the early Universe   Scientists in Australia believe they’ve identified a quasar in the process of lighting up, for the very first time. This discovery could help scientists answer lingering questions about how these exceptionally bright celestial bodies form, and how they helped the ancient Universe shape today’s galaxies. [continue reading]

jan 212013
 
Martian Crater May Once Have Held Groundwater-Fed Lake

  A NASA spacecraft is providing new evidence of a wet underground environment on Mars that adds to an increasingly complex picture of the Red Planet’s early evolution. This view of layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater shows sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. Image Credit: [continue reading]