When light from an exploding star in the Large Magellanic Cloud reached Earth in 1987, it was the closest supernova explosion astronomers had witnessed in centuries. Now Supernova 1987a is making history again, this time as the youngest supernova remnant that can be seen from Earth.
Astronomers just spotted a brand-new supernova mere hours after it exploded, thanks to a robotic telescope and some smart computer algorithms. Now they’re scrambling to use as many telescopes as possible, on Earth and in space, to observe the star’s death throes.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 5:39 pm 0 Comments
Of the 25 to 30 research assistants accepted at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory each year, some are stationed at the Charlottesville, Virginia, headquarters, some at the 27-antenna Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico, and some at the 361-foot Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in Green Bank, West Virginia. For those at the GBT, the internship comes with an unusual requirement: no cellphones.
Astronomers are finding more and more of life’s key ingredients in deep space, from amino acids to a huge water reservoir, and now molecular oxygen.
Teams working with the Herschel Space Telescope have confirmed finding O2 in the Orion nebula, the first time scientists have been able to pinpoint the crucial yet simple molecule.
A nearby galaxy that looks like a smiley face harbors a dark secret: It has twin supermassive black holes, not just one. This rare find could shed light on what happens when ginormous galaxies collide.
Today in pretty space pics, the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile offers us this bird’s-eye view of . . . our own galaxy? The spiral-armed galaxy you see here is not the Milky Way--though it might easily be mistaken for it--but a nearby galaxy known as NGC 6744 that is something of a galactic doppelgänger to our own home galaxy.
Mapping the universe and its billions of galaxies is a tedious business, but a project spanning more than a decade and mashing up near-infrared sky surveys with painstaking redshift analysis has produced the wold’s most detailed 3-D map of the local universe. Reaching out to a distance some 380 million light-years from our own solar system, the 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) was presented today at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
A gigantic black hole at the center of one of the Milky Way’s close neighbors is spewing jets of material into the cosmos, hurling gamma rays and radio waves into interstellar space. Now researchers in the U.S. and Germany peered at the galaxy with the closest-ever resolution, seeing galactic features up to 15 light-days across. That’s incredibly close for a galaxy 12 million miles away.
After a five-year study of 200,000 galaxies, scientists are more certain than ever that dark energy acts as a repulsive force, tearing the universe apart at an accelerating rate. The research confirms the idea that dark energy dominates gravity throughout the cosmos. But no one has any idea what dark energy actually is or how it works.