At its meeting in Paris today, the Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency (ESA) selected the 'The Hot and Energetic Universe' as the theme for its next Large mission, which is expected to be launched in 2028.
Gemini observations support an unexpected discovery in the galaxy Messier 101. A relatively small black hole (20-30 times the mass of our sun) can sustain a hugely voracious appetite while consuming material in an efficient and tidy manner - something previously thought impossible. The research also affects the long quest for elusive intermediate-mass black holes.
The Large Magellanic Cloud is one of the closest galaxies to our own. Astronomers have now used the power of ESO's Very Large Telescope to explore one of its lesser known regions. This new image shows clouds of gas and dust where hot new stars are being born and are sculpting their surroundings into odd shapes. But the image also shows the effects of stellar death - filaments created by a supernova explosion.
The Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) has awarded a 1.2 million Euro grant to the research program 'Quantum gravity and the search for quantum spacetime', led by professor Renate Loll of Radboud University Nijmegen.
Two months ago astronomers created a new 3D map of stars at the centre of our Galaxy, showing more clearly than ever the bulge at its core. Previous explanations suggested that the stars that form the bulge are in banana-like orbits, but a paper published this week suggests that the stars probably move in peanut-shell or figure of eight-shaped orbits instead.
Scientists should take the conservative approach when searching for habitable zones where life-sustaining planets might exist, according to James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, including when building terrestrial planet finders.
When a star explodes as a supernova, the material blasted outward from the explosion still glows hundreds or thousands of years later, forming a picturesque supernova remnant. What powers such long-lived brilliance? In the case of Tycho's supernova remnant, astronomers have discovered that a reverse shock wave racing inward at Mach 1000 (1,000 times the speed of sound) is heating the remnant and causing it to emit X-ray light.
By working with a model spacesuit, a group of Kansas State University engineering professors and students are exploring how wearable medical sensors can be used in future space missions to keep astronauts healthy.
No matter how painstakingly we choose the materials to build satellites, once a mission is over they are just so much junk. But what if one day they could be recycled in space for future missions - perhaps as construction material, fuel or even food?
Much like the Grand Canyon, Nanedi Valles snakes across the Martian surface suggesting that liquid water once crossed the landscape, according to a team of researchers who believe that molecular hydrogen made it warm enough for water to flow.