Heavens

This image shows an irregular galaxy named IC 10, a member of the Local Group -- a collection of over 50 galaxies in our cosmic neighborhood that includes the Milky Way.

IC 10 is a remarkable object. It is the closest-known starburst galaxy, meaning that it is undergoing a furious bout of star formation fueled by ample supplies of cool hydrogen gas. This gas condenses into vast molecular clouds, which then form into dense knots where pressures and temperatures reach a point sufficient to ignite nuclear fusion, thus giving rise to new generations of stars.

SAN ANTONIO -- June 20, 2019 -- NASA has selected Southwest Research Institute to lead the "Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere" (PUNCH) mission, a landmark Small Explorers Program mission that will image beyond the Sun's outer corona.

The rings of Uranus are invisible to all but the largest telescopes -- they weren't even discovered until 1977 -- but they're surprisingly bright in new heat images of the planet taken by two large telescopes in the high deserts of Chile.

EVANSTON, Ill. -- An international team of astronomers has captured the first-ever polarized radio waves from a distant cosmic explosion.

This explosive event (known as gamma-ray burst GRB 190114C) is part of a class of the most energetic explosions in the universe. It was produced when a star -- much more massive than our sun -- collapsed to form a black hole.

Maunakea, Hawaii - A group of astronomers led by Crystal Martin and Stephanie Ho of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has discovered a dizzying cosmic choreography among typical star-forming galaxies; their cool halo gas appears to be in step with the galactic disks, spinning in the same direction.

The researchers used W. M. Keck Observatory to obtain the first-ever direct observational evidence showing that corotating halo gas is not only possible, but common. Their findings suggest that the whirling gas halo will eventually spiral in towards the disk.

An international research team led by the University of Göttingen has discovered two new Earth-like planets near one of our closest neighboring stars. "Teegarden's star" is only about 12.5 light years away from Earth and is one of the smallest known stars. It is only about 2,700 °C warm and about ten times lighter than the Sun. Although it is so close to us, the star wasn't discovered until 2003. The scientists observed the star for about three years. The results were published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Tropical Cyclone Vayu was fading as it neared the coast of southwestern Pakistan and northwestern India. Dry air and wind shear were preventing development the development of thunderstorms, making the clouds on the storm's western side appear wispy in an image from NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite.

The Sun is why we're here. It's also why Martians or Venusians are not.

When the Sun was just a baby four billion years ago, it went through violent outbursts of intense radiation, spewing scorching, high-energy clouds and particles across the solar system. These growing pains helped seed life on early Earth by igniting chemical reactions that kept Earth warm and wet. Yet, these solar tantrums also may have prevented life from emerging on other worlds by stripping them of atmospheres and zapping nourishing chemicals.

ORLANDO, June 17, 2019 - Even though NASA's Cassini spacecraft's mission to Saturn ended in 2017, scientists are still poring over the copious amounts of data it transmitted.

Now, in a new paper that appeared in Science on Friday and includes two University of Central Florida co-authors, researchers are offering glimpses into the nature and composition of the mighty planet's legendary rings by using data from some of the closest observations ever made of the main rings.

When massive stars die at the end of their short lives, they light up the cosmos with bright, explosive bursts of light and material known as supernovae. A supernova event is incredibly energetic and intensely luminous -- so much so that it forms what looks like an especially bright new star that slowly fades away over time.

Based on preliminary results from a new Gemini Observatory survey of 531 stars with the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), it appears more and more likely that large planets and brown dwarfs have very different roots.

Nestled within this field of bright foreground stars lies ESO 495-21, a tiny galaxy with a big heart. ESO 495-21 may be just 3000 light-years across, but that is not stopping the galaxy from furiously forming huge numbers of stars. It may also host a supermassive black hole; this is unusual for a galaxy of its size, and may provide intriguing hints as to how galaxies form and evolve.

That gold on your ring finger is stellar - and not just in a complimentary way.

In a finding that may overthrow our understanding of where Earth's heavy elements such as gold and platinum come from, new research by a University of Guelph physicist suggests that most of them were spewed from a largely overlooked kind of star explosion far away in space and time from our planet.

As planets form in the swirling gas and dust around young stars, there seems to be a sweet spot where most of the large, Jupiter-like gas giants congregate, centered around the orbit where Jupiter sits today in our own solar system.

The location of this sweet spot is between 3 and 10 times the distance Earth sits from our sun (3-10 astronomical units, or AU). Jupiter is 5.2 AU from our sun.

Over the past four years, an instrument attached to a telescope in the Chilean Andes - known as the Gemini Planet Imager - has set its gaze on 531 stars in search of new planets. The team, led by Stanford University, is now releasing initial findings from the first half of the survey, published June 12 in The Astronomical Journal.

The survey imaged six planets and three brown dwarfs orbiting these 300 stars and offered new details about Jupiter-like planets, which could influence theories about how Earth formed and became habitable.