jul 182013
 
Stellar Monsters Do Not Collide...

  No hope for a spectacular stellar catastrophe   One might expect that collisions between the remains of monstrous stars, with masses reaching 200-300 times that of our Sun, would be among the most spectacular phenomena in the Universe. Perhaps they are, but we will unfortunately probably never have the chance to find out. Astrophysicists [continue reading]

jul 112013
 
Witnessing the Birth of a Monster Star

  New observations using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA) have given astronomers the best view yet of a monster star in the process of forming within a dark cloud. A stellar womb with over 500 times the mass of the Sun has been found — the largest ever seen in the Milky Way — [continue reading]

mei 052013
 
The Birth of a Black Hole Not as Boring as Thought

  A new kind of cosmic flash may reveal something never seen before: the birth of a black hole.   When a massive star exhausts its fuel, it collapses under its own gravity and produces a black hole, an object so dense that not even light can escape its gravitational grip. According to a new [continue reading]

mrt 272013
 
How To Build A Really, Really Big Star

  It takes a village, say researchers   Stars ten times as massive as the Sun, or more, should not exist: as they grow, they tend to push away the gas they feed on, starving their own growth. Westerhout 3 (W3) is a giant molecular cloud about 6200 light-years away in the Perseus Arm, one of the [continue reading]

mrt 082013
 
A Rare Young-Looking Supernova in an Old Galaxy

  The star Eta Carinae is ready to blow. 170 years ago, this 100-solar-mass object belched out several suns’ worth of gas in an eruption that made it the second-brightest star after Sirius. That was just a precursor to the main event, since it will eventually go supernova. Eta Carinae, situated about 8000 light-years away [continue reading]

feb 052013
 
Massive Stellar Winds are Made of Tiny Pieces

  ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory has completed the most detailed study ever of the fierce wind from a giant star, showing for the first time that it is not a uniform breeze but is fragmented into hundreds of thousands of pieces. Artist’s impression comparing a smooth stellar wind (left) with a highly fragmented stellar wind [continue reading]