jan 272013
 
Giant, Magnetized Outflows from our Galactic Center

  Two years ago, CfA astronomers reported the discovery of giant, twin lobes of gamma-ray emission protruding about 50,000 light-years above and below the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, and centered on the supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s core. The scientists argued then that the bubbles were produced either by an eruption from [continue reading]

nov 292012
 
Dust Grains in Protoplanetary Disks Form Fully-Grown Planets

  An international team of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and the Japanese universities of Kobe, Hyogo, and Saitama used the Subaru Telescope to capture a clear image of the protoplanetary disk of the star UX Tauri A. The team’s subsequent, detailed study of the disk’s characteristics suggests that its dust [continue reading]

aug 042012
 
Supernovae Show Clumpy Structure

  A research group led by Dr. Masaomi Tanaka (NAOJ), Dr. Koji Kawabata (Hiroshima University), Dr. Takashi Hattori (NAOJ), and Dr. Keiichi Maeda (University of Tokyo, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe) used the Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph (FOCAS) on the Subaru Telescope to conduct observations that revealed a clumpy [continue reading]

apr 072012
 
Measuring Magnetic Fields

Polarized light is a familiar phenomenon, as people who prefer polarized sunglasses can testify. The electric field in a beam of light can vibrate either left-right or up-down, and the scattering or reflection of light can result in the preferential absorption of one or the other of these two “polarizations.” The majority of sunlight on [continue reading]