Heavens

Black holes are the final stage in the evolution of the most massive stars. Some black holes form a pair, orbiting around each other and gradually getting closer while losing energy in the form of gravitational waves, until a point is reached where the process suddenly accelerates. They then end up coalescing into a single black hole. Merging black holes have already been observed three times by the LIGO detectors, in 2015 and early 2017 . This time, three instruments detected the event on 14 August 2017 at 10:30 UTC, enabling vastly improved localization in the sky.

For the first time, three detectors have tracked the gravitational waves emitted by a merger of two black holes -- a critical new capability that allows scientists to more closely locate a gravitational wave's birthplace in space. Gravitational waves are ripples in space and time created when two massive, compact objects such as black holes merge.

An international team of researchers has successfully used a super-computer simulation to recreate the formation of a massive black hole from supersonic gas streams left over from the Big Bang. Their study, published in this week's Science, shows this black hole could be the source of the birth and development of the largest and oldest super-massive black holes recorded in our Universe.

This oddly-shaped galactic spectacle is bursting with brand new stars. The pink fireworks in this image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope are regions of intense star formation, triggered by a cosmic-scale collision. The huge galaxy in this image, NGC 4490, has a smaller galaxy in its gravitational grip and is feeling the strain.

NASA's Aqua satellite and Global Precipitation Measurement mission, or GPM, satellites have been peering into what appears to be a somewhat lop-sided Hurricane Maria. The storm appears asymmetric because vertical wind shear is pushing clouds and showers to the eastern side of the storm.

On Sept. 27, NHC forecaster Daniel Brown noted, "Deep convection and banding has increased over the eastern and northeastern portion of the large circulation of Maria since yesterday."

University Park, PA -- For the first time, three detectors have tracked the gravitational waves emitted by a merger of two black holes -- a critical new capability that allows scientists to more closely locate a gravitational wave's birthplace in space. Gravitational waves are ripples in space and time created when two massive, compact objects such as black holes merge. A paper about the new gravitational wave, known as GW170814, has been accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters.

While people across the nation gazed at August's total solar eclipse from Earth, a bread loaf-sized NASA satellite had a front row seat for the astronomical event.

In August, detectors on two continents recorded gravitational wave signals from a pair of black holes colliding. This discovery, announced today, is the first observation of gravitational waves by three different detectors, marking a new era of greater insights and improved localization of cosmic events now available through globally networked gravitational-wave observatories.

The Saturn Nebula is located approximately 5000 light years away in the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Bearer). Its name derives from its odd shape, which resembles everyone's favourite ringed planet seen edge-on.

ANN ARBOR--Eighty-eight percent of American adults viewed the August total solar eclipse directly or electronically. This audience of 215 million adults is nearly twice the size of the viewership of recent Super Bowl football games.