This festive NASA Hubble Space Telescope image resembles a holiday wreath made of sparkling lights. The bright southern hemisphere star RS Puppis, at the center of the image, is swaddled in a gossamer cocoon of reflective dust illuminated by the glittering star. The super star is ten times more massive than our Sun and 200 times larger.
Was Einstein right? The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 14 Million Euros to a team of European astrophysicists to construct the first accurate image of a black hole. The team will test the predictions of current theories of gravity, including Einstein's theory of General Relativity.
W49A might be one of the best-kept secrets in our galaxy. This star-forming region shines 100 times brighter than the Orion nebula, but is so obscured by dust that very little visible or infrared light escapes. The Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array has peered through the dusty fog to provide the first clear view of this stellar nursery.
Scientists are currently trying to gain a better understanding of how craters are formed. Their work involves smashing miniature meteorites into rock under laboratory conditions - and then analyzing the craters using ultrasound tomography.
Two astronomers from Bonn have proposed a new path for the formation of a newly discovered class of millisecond pulsars with similar orbital periods and eccentricities. In the scenario of Paulo Freire and Thomas Tauris, a massive white dwarf star accretes matter and angular momentum from a normal companion star and grows beyond the critical Chandrasekhar mass limit. The new hypothesis makes several testable predictions about this recently discovered sub-class of millisecond pulsars.
South Pole Telescope scientists have detected for the first time a subtle distortion in the oldest light in the universe, which may help reveal secrets about the earliest moments in the universe's formation.
Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments - like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks - have always been done on Earth. Now, for the first time, researchers at Caltech have successfully determined the age of a Martian rock - with experiments performed on Mars. This work could not only help in understanding the geologic history of Mars but also aid in the search for evidence of ancient life there.
First discovered in 2007, 'fast radio bursts' continue to defy explanation. These cosmic chirps last for only a thousandth of a second. The characteristics of the radio pulses suggested that they came from galaxies billions of light-years away. However, new work points to a much closer origin - flaring stars within our own galaxy.
Maybe it happens tomorrow. Maybe in a billion years. Physicists have long predicted that the universe may one day collapse, and that everything in it will be compressed to a small hard ball. New calculations from physicists at the University of Southern Denmark now confirm this prediction - and they also conclude that the risk of a collapse is even greater than previously thought.
The Astronomic Observatory of the University of Valencia has undertaken this year the project 'A touch of the Universe', a non-profit mission that aims to create thirty kits with tactile astronomical activities for children with visual difficulties.