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Astronomy: January 2021



Astronomers using images from Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory have created the largest ever map of the sky, comprising over a billion galaxies.


Data from the DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) Legacy Imaging Surveys have revealed over 1200 new gravitational lenses, approximately doubling the number of known lenses.


A remarkable prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity--the theory that connects space, time, and gravity--is that rotating black holes have enormous amounts of energy available to be tapped.


On April 15, 2020, a brief burst of high-energy light swept through the solar system, triggering instruments on several NASA and European spacecraft.


The most distant quasar known has been discovered. The quasar, seen just 670 million years after the Big Bang, is 1000 times more luminous than the Milky Way, and is powered by the earliest known supermassive black hole, which weighs in at more than 1.6 billion times the mass of the Sun.


In 2020, astronomers added a new member to an exclusive family of exotic objects with the discovery of a magnetar. New observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory help support the idea that it is also a pulsar, meaning it emits regular pulses of light.



Pairs of black holes billions of times more massive than the Sun may be circling one another, generating ripples in space itself.


One of the Hubble Space Telescope's most iconic images is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, which unveiled myriad galaxies across the universe, stretching back to within a few hundred million years of the Big Bang.


NASA has chosen four small-scale astrophysics missions for further concept development in a new program called Pioneers.


It is during rare merging events that galaxies undergo dramatic changes in their appearance and in their stellar content. These systems are excellent laboratories to trace the formation of star clusters under extreme physical conditions.


This 2003 Chandra image of the supermassive black hole at our Galaxy's center, a.k.a. Sagittarius A* or Sgr A*, was made from the longest X-ray exposure of that region to date.


Chandra's 2003 image of M83 shows numerous point-like neutron star and black hole X-ray sources scattered throughout the disk of this spiral galaxy.


While the scientific community grapples with the loss of the Arecibo radio telescope, astronomers who recently revived a long-dormant radio telescope array in Argentina hope it can help modestly compensate for the work Arecibo did in pulsar timing.


Lying inside our home galaxy, the Milky Way, this Herbig-Haro object is a turbulent birthing ground for new stars in a region known as the Orion B molecular cloud complex, located 1,350 light-years away.