Heavens

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.

A recently discovered dwarf galaxy in the constellation Lynx may serve well as a proxy for better understanding the developing chemistry of the early universe, according to a research team that includes University of Virginia astronomers.

Their new finding, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, shows that the oxygen level in the little galaxy is the lowest yet discovered in any star-forming galaxy, likely resembling early nascent galaxies.

In a paper to be published in Science on 22 September, the Pierre Auger Collaboration reports observational evidence demonstrating that cosmic rays with energies a million times greater than that of the protons accelerated in the Large Hadron Collider come from much further away than from our own Galaxy. Ever since the existence of cosmic rays with individual energies of several Joules was established in the 1960s, speculation has raged as to whether such particles are created there or in distant extragalactic objects.

New Haven, Conn. - The most-studied galaxy in the universe -- the Milky Way -- might not be as "typical" as previously thought, according to a new study.

The Milky Way, which is home to Earth and its solar system, is host to several dozen smaller galaxy satellites. These smaller galaxies orbit around the Milky Way and are useful in understanding the Milky Way itself.

In the faint southern constellation of Antlia the careful observer with binoculars will spot a very red star, which varies slightly in brightness from week to week. This very unusual star is called U Antliae and new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA - http://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/alma/) are revealing a remarkably thin spherical shell around it.

Cassiopeia A is a famous supernova remnant, the product of a gigantic explosion of a massive star about 350 years ago. Although discovered in radio observations 50 years ago, now we know that its emitted radiation spans from radio through high-energy gamma rays. It is also one of the few remnants for which the birth date and the type of supernova are known. It was a type IIb, the result of a core collapse supernova explosion.