It is one of the most intriguing questions in astrochemistry: the mystery of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs), a collection of about 400 absorption bands that show up in spectra of light that reaches the earth after having traversed the interstellar medium. Despite intense research efforts over the last few decades, an assignment of the DIBs has remained elusive, although indications exist that they may arise from the presence of large hydrocarbon molecules in interstellar space. Recent experiments lend novel credibility to this hypothesis.
A new study shown that meteorite impacts on ancient oceans may have created nucleobases and amino acids. Researchers discovered this after conducting impact experiments simulating a meteorite hitting an ancient ocean.
Scientists have been fascinated by a series of unusual exploding stars - outcasts beyond the typical cozy confines of their galaxies. A new analysis of 13 supernovae is helping astronomers explain how some young stars exploded sooner than expected, hurling them to a lonely place far from their host galaxies.
Astronomers studying over 200,000 galaxies have measured the energy generated within a large portion of space more precisely than ever. This represents the most comprehensive assessment of the energy output of the nearby Universe. They confirm that the energy produced in a section of the Universe today is only about half what it was two billion years ago and is occurring from the ultraviolet to the far infrared.
Astronomers have uncovered a unique process for how the universe's largest elliptical galaxies continue making stars long after their peak years of star birth. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's exquisite high resolution and ultraviolet-light sensitivity allowed the astronomers to see brilliant knots of hot, blue stars forming along the jets of active black holes found in the centers of giant elliptical galaxies.
Gravity, one of the four fundamental forces of nature, appears reassuringly constant across the Universe, according to a decades-long study of a distant pulsar. This research helps to answer a long-standing question in cosmology: Is the force of gravity the same everywhere and at all times? The answer, so far, appears to be yes.