A new, detailed radio image showed that what astronomers thought was one galaxy actually is two, superimposed on the sky. The alignment allows using the farther one as an unexpected tool for studying the foreground galaxy.
The Hubble Space Telescope has provided the first visual evidence showing how our home galaxy, the Milky Way, assembled itself into the majestic pinwheel of stars we see today. Perusing Hubble's deep-sky surveys, astronomers traced 400 galaxies similar to our Milky Way at various stages of construction over a time span of 11 billion years.
Researchers from Bern have developed a method to simplify the search for Earth-like planets: By using new theoretical models they rule out the possibility of Earth-like conditions, and therefore life, on certain planets outside our solar system - and limit their search by doing so.
Astronomers at ESO have captured the best image so far of the clouds around the star cluster NGC 3572. This image shows how these clouds of gas and dust have been sculpted into bubbles, arcs and the odd features known as elephant trunks by the stellar winds flowing from this gathering of hot stars. The brightest of these cluster stars are much heavier than the Sun and will end their short lives as supernova explosions.
Brown researchers have helped to confirm the idea that the surface of Phobos contains tons of dust, soil, and rock blown off the Martian surface by large projectile impacts. That means a sample-return mission planned by the Russian space agency could sample two celestial bodies for the price of one.
Astronomers viewing our solar system's asteroid belt with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have seen for the first time an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes on a wheel.
Over billions of years, small black holes can slowly grow into supermassive black holes by taking on mass from their surroundings, and also by merging with other black holes. But this slow process can't explain how supermassive black holes existing in the early universe would have formed less than one billion years after the Big Bang. New findings from a group of Caltech researchers help to test a model that solves this problem.