jul 052012
Planet-Forming Disk Vanishes Into Thin Air

  A study published in the July 5 edition of the journal Nature is challenging scientists’ understanding of planet formation, suggesting that planets might form much faster than previously thought or, alternatively, that stars harboring planets could be far more numerous. Animation showing the disappearance of dust from the TYC 8241 2652 system. Credit: Gemini [continue reading]

jun 262012
Radio Galaxies in the Distant Universe

  For over a decade astronomers have been probing a region of the northern sky, not far from the handle of the Big Dipper, that is relatively free of bright stars and the diffuse glow of the Milky Way. The scientists want to take advantage of the clarity of the sky there to peer beyond [continue reading]

jun 232012
Galaxy Developed from Multiple Mergers

  A team of astronomers led by Professor Yoshiaki Taniguchi (Ehime University) has concluded that the ultraluminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) Arp 220 (Figure 1) developed from a multiple merger among four or more galaxies. Their new imaging data from the Subaru Telescope and optical spectroscopy from the W. M. Keck Observatory revealed two tidal tails [continue reading]

jun 202012
Most Quasars Live on Snacks, Not on Large Meals

  Black holes in the early universe needed a few snacks rather than one giant meal to fuel their quasars and help them grow, a new study shows. The galaxies in these four images have so much dust surrounding them that the brilliant light from their quasars cannot be seen in these Hubble Space Telescope [continue reading]

jun 082012
The Numerous First Objects in the Universe Burned Furiously

  The faint, lumpy glow given off by the very first objects in the universe may have been detected with the best precision yet, using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. These faint objects might be wildly massive stars or voracious black holes. They are too far away to be seen individually, but Spitzer has captured new, [continue reading]

jun 012012
Faintest Distant Galaxy Discovered

  Astronomers at Arizona State University have found an exceptionally distant galaxy, ranked among the top 10 most distant objects currently known in space. Light from the recently detected galaxy left the object about 800 million years after the beginning of the universe, when the universe was in its infancy. False color image of the [continue reading]