aug 072012
Mystery of the “Monster Stars" Cracked

  In 2010 scientists discovered four ‘monster’ sized stars, with the heaviest more than 300 times as massive as our Sun. Despite their incredible luminosity, these exotic objects — located in the giant star cluster R136 in the nearby galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud — have oddly so far been found nowhere else. Now a [continue reading]

jul 272012
Moon's Formation a Hit-and-Run Scenario

  A new theory of lunar formation suggests Earth was the victim of a hit-and-run incident — and that the culprit may still be at large. Computer simulations suggest a large, fast-moving body impacted the Earth to create the Moon. The origin of the Moon is one of the more important problems for planetary geologists and [continue reading]

jul 082012
Questions About the Higgs Boson Answered

  CERN’s July 4 announcement that the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have discovered a particle “consistent with the Higgs boson” has raised questions about what scientists have found and what still remains to be found – and what it all means. An example of simulated data modeled for the CMS [continue reading]

jul 062012
The First "Middleweight" Black Hole is Found

  Observations with CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array have confirmed that astronomers have found the first known “middleweight” black hole. Galaxy ESO 243-49, about 300 million light-years away, is home to the newly found black hole. Credit: NASA, ESA and S. Farrell (University of Sydney) Outbursts of super-hot gas observed with a CSIRO radio telescope [continue reading]

jun 282012
New Technique Reveals Mass and Orbit of Exoplanet

  Tau Boötis b is six times the mass of Jupiter   One of the first planets discovered outside of the Solar System, Tau Boötis b, has eluded numerous attempts to measure the light coming from its atmosphere and so has remained something of a mystery. Now, for the first time, an international team has used an [continue reading]

jun 232012
Forgotten Starcluster Useful in Hunt for Earth-Like Planets

  A loose group of stars, known for over 180 years but never before studied in detail, has been revealed to be an important new tool in the quest to understand the evolution of stars like the Sun, and in the search for planets like Earth.    Penn State University astronomers have determined that 80 [continue reading]