When astronomers study protoplanetary disks of gas and dust that surround young stars, they sometimes spot a dark gap like the Cassini division in Saturn's rings. It has been suggested that any gap must be caused by an unseen planet that formed in the disk and carved out material from its surroundings. However, new research shows that a gap could be a sort of cosmic illusion and not the sign of a hidden planet after all.
The simulation, run on the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, modeled the evolution of the universe from just 50 million years after the Big Bang to the present day - from its earliest infancy to its current adulthood.
A team of astronomers is proposing that huge spiral patterns seen around some newborn stars, merely a few million years old, may be evidence for the presence of giant unseen planets. This idea not only opens the door to a new method of planet detection, but also could offer a look into the early formative years of planet birth.
A newly published National Space Weather Strategy identifies high-level priorities and goals for the nation, while an accompanying Action Plan outlines how federal agencies will implement the strategy.
The Vista Variables in the Via Lactea Survey (VVV) ESO public survey is using the VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory to take multiple images at different times of the central parts of the galaxy at infrared wavelengths. It is discovering huge numbers of new objects, including variable stars, clusters and exploding stars.
Some of the most intractable scientific problems involve natural and physical processes that span many scales and disciplines, from atoms to organs, and from quarks to galaxies. Developing coherent theories that can describe these fundamental phenomena will be crucial to understanding the origins of the Universe and life on Earth. Researchers are inventing solutions to link the vast with the tiny.
Astronomers compile the largest astronomical image of all time. In order to view it, researchers have provided an online tool. The image contains data gathered in astronomical observations over a period of five years.
Astronomers have discovered never-before-seen structures within a dusty disc surrounding a nearby star. The fast-moving wave-like features in the disc of the star AU Microscopii are unlike anything ever observed, or even predicted, before now. The origin and nature of these features present a new mystery for astronomers to explore.