apr 272013
Record-Breaking Pulsar Shows Einstein Was Right — So Far

  Astronomers have used ESO’s Very Large Telescope, along with radio telescopes around the world, to find and study a bizarre stellar pair consisting of the most massive neutron star confirmed so far, orbited by a white dwarf star. This strange new binary system allows tests of Einstein’s theory of gravity — general relativity — [continue reading]

feb 262013
Evidence for E.T. Might Come from Dying Stars

  Even dying stars could host planets with life – and if such life exists, we might be able to detect it within the next decade. This encouraging result comes from a new theoretical study of Earth-like planets orbiting white dwarf stars. Researchers found that we could detect oxygen in the atmosphere of a white [continue reading]

jan 172013
Anne's Picture of the Day: Planetary Nebula Fleming 1

January 17, 2013 Fleming 1, a planetary nebula in Centaurus Image Credit: ESO/H. Boffin Fleming 1 is a planetary nebula that lies about 10,000 light-years away in the constellation of Centaurus, while moving away from us at approximately 28.6 kilometers per second. It is named after the Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming, who discovered the nebula [continue reading]

jan 152013
Neon Lights up Exploding Stars

  An international team of nuclear astrophysicists has shed new light on the explosive stellar events known as novae. Artistic view of a nova explosion depicting the binary stellar system. Image Credit: David A Hardy and STFC These dramatic explosions are driven by nuclear processes and make previously unseen stars visible for a short time. [continue reading]

jan 042013
Anne's Picture of the Day: The Skull Nebula

 January 4, 2013 The Skull Nebula, a planetary nebula in Cetus Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/J. Hora (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) The Skull Nebula (NGC 246) is a rather old planetary nebula of some 4 – 6 light-years across that surrounds a dying star, the white dwarf HIP 3678. It is located roughly 1,600 light-years away in the constellation [continue reading]