Heavens

Now you see it, now you don't.

What astronomers thought was a planet beyond our solar system has now seemingly vanished from sight. Though this happens in science fiction, such as Superman's home planet Krypton exploding, astronomers are looking for a plausible explanation.

What astronomers thought was a planet beyond our solar system, has now seemingly vanished from sight. Astronomers now suggest that a full-grown planet never existed in the first place. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope had instead observed an expanding cloud of very fine dust particles caused by a titanic collision between two icy asteroid-sized bodies orbiting the bright star Fomalhaut, about 25 light-years from Earth.

Irvine, Calif., April 20, 2020 - Though mighty, the Milky Way and galaxies of similar mass are not without scars chronicling turbulent histories. University of California, Irvine astronomers and others have shown that clusters of supernovas can cause the birth of scattered, eccentrically orbiting suns in outer stellar halos, upending commonly held notions of how star systems have formed and evolved over billions of years.

Observations made with ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) have revealed for the first time that a star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way moves just as predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity. Its orbit is shaped like a rosette and not like an ellipse as predicted by Newton's theory of gravity. This long-sought-after result was made possible by increasingly precise measurements over nearly 30 years, which have enabled scientists to unlock the mysteries of the behemoth lurking at the heart of our galaxy.

CHEOPS is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Switzerland, under the leadership of the University of Bern in collaboration with the University of Geneva (UNIGE). After almost three months of extensive testing, with part of it in the midst of the lockdown to contain the coronavirus, on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, ESA declared the CHEOPS space telescope ready for science.

MADISON, Wis. -- When a fire extinguisher is opened, the compressed carbon dioxide forms ice crystals around the nozzle, providing a visual example of the physics principle that gases and plasmas cool as they expand. When our sun expels plasma in the form of solar wind, the wind also cools as it expands through space -- but not nearly as much as the laws of physics would predict.

An international team of researchers, in a paper published today in Nature Astronomy, highlights a new way novae light up the sky: this is indeed shocks from an explosion that create the novae that cause most of the its brightness.

A supernova at least twice as bright and energetic, and likely much more massive than any yet recorded has been identified by an international team of astronomers, led by the University of Birmingham.

The team, which included experts from Harvard, Northwestern University and Ohio University, believe the supernova, dubbed SN2016aps, could be an example of an extremely rare 'pulsational pair-instability' supernova, possibly formed from two massive stars that merged before the explosion. Their findings are published today in Nature Astronomy.

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A nova, or stella nova, the Latin word for "new star," is an explosion on the surface of a star that can produce enough energy to increase the star's brightness by millions of times. Sometimes a nova, which occur in stars called white dwarfs, is so bright it appears as a new star to the naked eye.

What is the origin of the famous interstellar object 'Oumuamua? How was it formed and where did it come from? An article published on April 13 in Nature Astronomy by ZHANG Yun from National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) and Douglas N. C. Lin from University of California, Santa Cruz, offers a first comprehensive answer to this mystery, which involves tidal forces like those felt by Earth's oceans and explains all of the unusual characteristics of this interstellar object.

Unprecedented observations of a nova outburst in 2018 by a trio of satellites, including two NASA missions, have captured the first direct evidence that most of the explosion's visible light arose from shock waves -- abrupt changes of pressure and temperature formed in the explosion debris.

Strong winds blow high in the atmosphere of the brown dwarf 2MASS J1047+21, according to a new study, which presents a simple method to deduce the windspeed in other brown dwarf atmospheres, too. By monitoring the brown dwarf's infrared and radio emissions, the researchers were able to derive the distant world's powerful winds - which whip eastward at an average of 660 meters per second, or roughly 2,400 kilometers per hour. The results demonstrate a technique that could be used to characterize atmospheres of exoplanets.

Microscopic minerals excavated from an ancient outcrop of Jack Hills, in Western Australia, have been the subject of intense geological study, as they seem to bear traces of the Earth's magnetic field reaching as far back as 4.2 billion years ago. That's almost 1 billion years earlier than when the magnetic field was previously thought to originate, and nearly back to the time when the planet itself was formed.

No matter where we look, the same rules apply everywhere in space: countless calculations of astrophysics are based on this basic principle. A recent study by the Universities of Bonn and Harvard, however, has thrown this principle into question. Should the measured values be confirmed, this would toss many assumptions about the properties of the universe overboard. The results are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, but are already available online.

An international research team led by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Turku, Finland, mapped the interstellar magnetic field structure and interstellar matter distribution in the solar neighbourhood. The results of the study have been published in the esteemed European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A) in March.