Distant exploding stars observed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are providing astronomers with a powerful tool to determine the strength of naturally-occurring 'cosmic lenses' that are used to magnify objects in the remote universe.
For the first time an international team of astronomers has measured circular polarisation in the bright flash of light from a dying star collapsing to a black hole, giving insight into an event that happened almost 11 billion years ago.
Over the past two decades, almost 1,500 exoplanets have been discovered orbiting distant stars - but Dutch astronomers have determined for the very first time just how fast one of those exoplanets is spinning on its axis.
Researchers discovered an indicator of when re-ionization of the primordial Universe began. Direct measurement of the absorption features in the spectrum of the afterglow toward GRB 130606A, located at a great distance, revealed the proportion of neutral hydrogen gas absorbing the light in its vicinity. This finding provides the best estimate of the amount of such neutral gas in the early Universe.
The galaxy known as M87 has a fastball that would be the envy of any baseball pitcher. It has thrown an entire star cluster toward us at more than two million miles per hour. The newly discovered cluster, which astronomers named HVGC-1, is now on a fast journey to nowhere. Its fate: to drift through the void between the galaxies for all time.
If you have often imagined yourself piloting your X-Wing fighter on an attack run on the Death Star, you'll be reassured that University of Leicester students have demonstrated that your shields could take whatever the Imperial fleet can throw at you.
The biggest-sized junkyard in the world orbits it, and a University of Alabama in Huntsville aerospace systems engineering graduate student says it's time to get active about reducing the debris field before we reach a tipping point beyond which we may not be able to do much.
Microsatellites have to be very light - every gram counts. The same applies to the gyroscopes used to sense the satellite's orientation when in orbit. A novel prototype is seven times lighter and significantly smaller than earlier systems.
A new study suggests the search for life on planets outside our solar system may be more difficult than previously thought. The study finds the method used to detect biosignatures on such planets, known as exoplanets, can produce a false positive result.
Streaming jets of high-speed matter produce some of the stunning objects seen in space. Astronomers have seen them shooting out of young stars just being formed, X-ray binary stars and supermassive black holes at the centers of large galaxies. Theoretical explanations for what causes those beam-like jets have been around for years, but now an experiment by French and American researchers using extremely high-powered lasers offers experimental verification of one proposed mechanism for creating them.
A 'brown dwarf' star that appears to be the coldest of its kind has been discovered by a Penn State University astronomer using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Images from the space telescopes also pinpointed the object's distance at 7.2 light-years away, making it the fourth closest system to our Sun.
Although more than 1,000 exoplanets have been discovered since the first one was found in 1995, only a handful of those are thought to be habitable, at least by life as we know it. New research shows that exomoons, too, could provide habitable environments.