From the outside, galaxies appear as a mass of stars orbiting a dense center. But inside, they are more complex, with some groups of stars moving at different speeds or directions, in part because they originated from separate galaxies that collided billions of years ago. To untangle these disparate components of the Milky Way, the European Space Agency plans to launch Gaia in October.
Water, oxygen and now sugar molecules have been found floating around in space, in the right place and at the right moment to wind up on newly forming planets. Astronomers have found sugar molecules around a star for the first time, using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.
Astronomers have glimpsed the first evidence of a dying star devouring one of its planets, a fate that may await the inner planets -- including Earth -- in our own solar system. The star in the new study swallowed its planet as it mushroomed into a red giant.