aug 142012
 
New Warning System Could Predict Solar Flares

  Researchers may have discovered a new method to predict solar flares more than a day before they occur, providing advance warning to help protect satellites, power grids and astronauts from potentially dangerous radiation. This image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) shows in great detail a solar flare and its prominence taken [continue reading]

jul 282012
 
Largest Ever Cherenkov Telescope Sees First Light

  On 26 July 2012, the H.E.S.S. II telescope started operation in Namibia. Dedicated to observing the most violent and extreme phenomena of the Universe in very high energy gamma-rays, H.E.S.S. II is the largest Cherenkov telescope ever built, with its 28-meter-sized mirror. Together with the four smaller (12 meter) telescopes already in operation since [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]

mei 212012
 
A New Way to Discover Millisecond Pulsars

  Although the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has seen the gamma-rays from over 100 pulsars, many potential pulsars remain undiscovered because the pulsations are not obvious in the Fermi data. Combining radio observations with Fermi, scientists have now found five more rapidly rotating pulsars, including one particularly intriguing object, indicating that techniques will continue to [continue reading]

apr 132012
 
NASA's WISE Mission Sees Skies Ablaze With Blazars

Astronomers are actively hunting a class of supermassive black holes throughout the universe called blazars thanks to data collected by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The mission has revealed more than 200 blazars and has the potential to find thousands more. This artist’s concept shows a “feeding,” or active, supermassive black hole with a [continue reading]

apr 032012
 
Fermi Observations of Dwarf Galaxies Provide New Insights on Dark Matter

There’s more to the cosmos than meets the eye.  About 80 percent of the matter in the universe is invisible to telescopes, yet its gravitational influence is manifest in the orbital speeds of stars around galaxies and in the motions of clusters of galaxies. Yet, despite decades of effort, no one knows what this “dark [continue reading]