mei 172013
Giant Outbursts from Binary Star System Revealed

  Using the new KAT-7 telescope in the Karoo and the existing 26 m radio telescope at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO), South African and international astronomers have observed a neutron star system known as Circinus X-1 as it fires energetic matter from its core in extensive, compact jets that flare brightly. The details [continue reading]

nov 062012
The Milky Way's Black Hole is Suddenly Eating a Lot More

  As black holes go, Sagittarius A* is relatively low-key. The supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy emits very little energy for its size, giving off roughly as much energy as the Sun, even though it is 4 billion times as massive. This false-color image shows the central region of our Milky [continue reading]

jul 142012
Ungrateful Pulsar Is Destroying Its Companion

  Combining data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and observations with optical telescopes, a KIPAC scientist has discovered the most extreme ‘black widow’ pulsar yet. Artist’s conception of a black widow pulsar system In the catalog of metaphorical names in astronomy, one of the most fanciful is the class of pulsars known as ‘black [continue reading]

jun 292012
Astronomers Detect Dramatic Changes on an Exoplanet

  An international team of astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has made an unparalleled observation, detecting significant changes in the atmosphere of a planet located beyond our solar system. This artist’s impression shows exoplanet HD 189733b, as it passes in front of its parent star, called HD 189733A. Hubble’s instruments observed the [continue reading]

mei 052012
Diagnosing a Supermassive Black Hole Flare

  Black holes can come in a wide range of masses. Some, with only about one solar mass, result from the supernova death of a massive star, while those at the center of galaxies (called supermassive black holes) have millions or even billions of solar masses. Supermassive black holes are relatively famous because they are [continue reading]