jan 122013
 
The Largest-Known Spiral Galaxy Revealed

  The spectacular barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 has ranked among the biggest stellar systems for decades. Now a team of astronomers from the United States, Chile and Brazil has crowned it the largest-known spiral, based on archival data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) mission, which has since been loaned to the California Institute [continue reading]

jul 122012
 
Wow! Dark Galaxies of the Early Universe Spotted

  For the first time, dark galaxies — an early phase of galaxy formation, predicted by theory but unobserved until now — may have been spotted. These objects are essentially gas-rich galaxies without stars. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, an international team thinks they have detected these elusive objects by observing them glowing as they [continue reading]

jul 112012
 
Ghost Galaxies Unmasked

  Astronomers have puzzled over why some puny, extremely faint dwarf galaxies spotted in our Milky Way galaxy’s back yard contain so few stars. Simulation of dark matter in the Milky Way halo These ghost-like galaxies are thought to be some of the tiniest, oldest, and most pristine galaxies in the universe. They have been [continue reading]

jul 032012
 
Magnetic Fields on the Sun will be Studied by SUMI

  On July 5, NASA will launch a mission called the Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation or SUMI, to study the intricate, constantly changing magnetic fields on the Sun in a hard-to-observe area of the Sun’s low atmosphere called the chromosphere. SUMI’s instruments are designed to study magnetic fields of the sun’s chromosphere — a thin [continue reading]

mei 202012
 
 Planetary Nebula is Born of Uncertain Parentage

A new Legacy Image from the Gemini Observatory reveals the remarkable complexity of the planetary nebula Sharpless 2-71 (Sh 2-71). Embroiled in a bit of controversy over its “birth parents” the nebula likely resulted from interactions between a pair of two old and dying stars. Legacy images like this one share the stunning beauty of [continue reading]

mei 032012
 
Star Being Ripped Apart By A Black Hole

  Astronomers have gathered the most direct evidence yet of a supermassive black hole shredding a star that wandered too close. Supermassive black holes, weighing millions to billions times more than the Sun, lurk in the centers of most galaxies. These hefty monsters lay quietly until an unsuspecting victim, such as a star, wanders close [continue reading]