Astronomy TOP STORY

The Milky Way's New Neighbor

© RAS

Galaxy KKs3

The Milky Way, the galaxy we live in, is part of a cluster of more than 50 galaxies that make up the 'Local Group', a collection that includes the famous Andromeda galaxy and many other far smaller objects.


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Astronomy TOP STORIES

Compact Galaxy Groups Reveal Details of Close Encounters

© NOAO

Compact Galaxy Group

Galaxies - spirals laced with nests of recent star formation, quiescent ellipticals composed mainly of old red stars, and numerous faint dwarfs - are the basic visible building blocks of the universe.

'Perfect Storm' Quenching Star Formation around a Supermassive Black Hole

'Perfect Storm' Quenching Star Formation around a Supermassive Black Hole

High-energy jets powered by supermassive black holes can blast away a galaxy's star-forming fuel, resulting in so-called "red and dead" galaxies: those brimming with ancient red stars yet containing little or no hydrogen gas to create new ones.


ScienceCasts: Embers from a Rock Comet: The 2014 Geminid Meteor Shower

ScienceCasts: Embers from a Rock Comet: The 2014 Geminid Meteor Shower Video in Story

Earth is passing through a stream of debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters expect as many as 120 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Dec. 13-14.


Swarms of Pluto-size Objects Kick Up Dust Around Sun-like Star

Swarms of Pluto-size Objects Kick Up Dust Around Sun-like Star

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) may have detected the dusty hallmarks of an entire family of Pluto-size objects swarming around an adolescent version of our own Sun.


Gas Spirals as Nurseries of Twin Stars

Gas Spirals as Nurseries of Twin Stars Video in Story

Stars form in interstellar clouds of molecular gas and dust.


How Buckyballs Form in Interstellar Space

How Buckyballs Form in Interstellar Space

Scientists from Leiden University have shown in the laboratory how Buckyballs -- molecular soccer balls -- form in space.


Observing The Blow Out Phase of Galactic Evolution

Observing The Blow Out Phase of Galactic Evolution

For the first time, an international team of astronomers, led by Dr. James Geach from the University of Hertfordshire, has revealed the dramatic 'blow out' phase of galactic evolution.


Two Stars Will End Up Merging into a Supermassive Star

Two Stars Will End Up Merging into a Supermassive Star

Most of the stars in our galaxy have been formed in binary or multiple systems, some of which are "eclipsing," that is, consisting of two or more stars which, observed from Earth, undergo eclipses and mutual transits because of their orbital plane tipped edge-on to our planet.


Construction of Extremely Large Telescope Approved

Construction of Extremely Large Telescope Approved

At a recent meeting ESO's main governing body, the Council, gave the green light for the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in two phases.


Pulsars with Black Holes Could Hold the Holy Grail of Gravity

Pulsars with Black Holes Could Hold the Holy Grail of Gravity

Pulsars are very dense neutron stars that are the size of a city (their radius approaches ten kilometers), which, like lighthouses for the universe, emit gamma radiation beams or X-rays when they rotate up to hundreds of times per second.


Atomic Hydrogen Emission Detected at Record-Breaking Distances

Atomic Hydrogen Emission Detected at Record-Breaking Distances

Using the world's largest radio telescope, two astronomers from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have detected the faint signal emitted by atomic hydrogen gas in galaxies three billion light years from Earth, breaking the previous record distance by 500 million light years. Their results appear in a paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Strange Galaxy Perplexes Astronomers

Strange Galaxy Perplexes Astronomers

With the help of citizen scientists, a team of astronomers has found an important new example of a very rare type of galaxy that may yield valuable insight on how galaxies developed in the early universe. The new discovery technique promises to give astronomers many more examples of this important and mysterious type of galaxy.


ESO: A Colourful Gathering of Middle-aged Stars

ESO: A Colourful Gathering of Middle-aged Stars Video in Story

NGC 3532 is a bright open cluster located some 1300 light-years away in the constellation of Carina (The Keel of the ship Argo). It is informally known as the Wishing Well Cluster, as it resembles scattered silver coins which have been dropped into a well.


Video: Launching the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission to Study the Mysterious Magnetic Reconnection

Video: Launching the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission to Study the Mysterious Magnetic Reconnection Video in Story

In March of 2015, an unprecedented NASA mission will launch to study a process so mysterious that no one has ever directly measured it in action.


Evicted? Possible Black Hole Found 2,600 Light Years from Home

Evicted? Possible Black Hole Found 2,600 Light Years from Home

An international team of researchers analyzing decades of observations from many facilities -- including the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakala and NASA's Swift satellite -- has discovered what appears to be a black hole booted from it's host galaxy.


Sudden Appearance of Galaxies Detected in the Early Universe

Sudden Appearance of Galaxies Detected in the Early Universe

A team of astronomers using the Subaru Telescope's Suprime-Cam to perform the Subaru Ultra-Deep Survey for Lyman-alpha Emitters have looked back more than 13 billion years to find 7 early galaxies that appeared quite suddenly within 700 million years of the Big Bang.


Spooky Alignment of Quasars Across Billions of Light Years

Spooky Alignment of Quasars Across Billions of Light Years

Quasars are galaxies with very active supermassive black holes at their centres.



More top stories from December.