Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Researchers have now found that miniature solar flares called 'nanoflares' - and the speedy electrons they produce - might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun's corona.
Using instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft to measure the wobbles of Mimas, the closest of Saturn's regular moons, an astronomer has inferred that this small moon's icy surface cloaks either a rugby ball-shaped rocky core or a sloshing sub-surface ocean.
Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have made what may be the most reliable distance measurement yet of an object that existed in the Universe's formative years. The galaxy is one of the faintest, smallest and most distant galaxies ever seen and measuring its distance with this accuracy was possible due only to the incredibly detailed mapping of how giant galaxy clusters warp the space-time around them.
Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. Now, for the first time ever, an international team of researchers has successfully tested a new model that explains how magnetic fields form these emissions in young stars.
Astronomers have used the APEX telescope to probe a huge galaxy cluster that is forming in the early Universe and revealed that much of the star formation taking place is not only hidden by dust, but also occurring in unexpected places. This is the first time that a full census of the star formation in such an object has been possible.
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has provided scientists their first look at a storm of energetic solar particles at Mars and produced unprecedented ultraviolet images of the tenuous oxygen, hydrogen and carbon coronas surrounding the Red Planet.
As the search for Earth-like planets wages on, a team of researchers may have found a way to speed up the process. The team is developing a new laser-based technology known as the green astro-comb to obtain information about the mass of a distant planet. Using this information, astronomers will be able to determine whether distant exoplanets are rocky worlds like Earth or less dense gas giants like Jupiter.
Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of radioactive waves known in the universe. However, how they're made and where they come from have been a bit of a mystery. But now a team of researchers has made a discovery that may shed some light on the subject.
Astronomers have discovered a black hole that is consuming gas from a nearby star 10 times faster than previously thought possible. The black hole - known as P13 - lies on the outskirts of the galaxy NGC7793 about 12 million light years from Earth and is ingesting a weight equivalent to 100 billion billion hot dogs every minute.