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Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

Wed, 21 Feb 18 00:14:20 -0800

Astronomers reveal a new high resolution map of the magnetic field lines in gas and dust swirling around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy, published in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The team, led by Professor Pat Roche of the University of Oxford, created the map, which is the first of its kind, using the CanariCam infrared camera attached to the Gran Telescopio Canarias sited on the island of La Palma.

Astronomers discover S0-2 star is single and ready for big Einstein test

Wed, 21 Feb 18 00:15:10 -0800

A team of astronomers led by Devin Chu, a UCLA scientist from Hawaii, has found that S0-2 does not have a significant other after all, or at least one that is massive enough to get in the way of critical measurements that astronomers need to test Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Up until now, it was thought that S0-2 may be a binary, a system where two stars circle around each other.

A lonely beauty

Wed, 14 Feb 18 00:03:20 -0800

Beauty, grace, mystery -- this magnificent spiral galaxy has all the qualities of a perfect galactic Valentine. Captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the galaxy NGC 3344 presents itself face-on, allowing astronomers a detailed look at its intricate and elegant structure. And Hubble's ability to observe objects over a wide range of different wavelengths reveals features that would otherwise remain invisible.

How seafloor weathering drives the slow carbon cycle

Wed, 14 Feb 18 00:08:50 -0800

A previously unknown connection between geological atmospheric carbon dioxide cycles and the fluctuating capacity of the ocean crust to store carbon dioxide has been uncovered by two geoscientists from the University of Sydney. Better understanding of the slow carbon cycle will help us predict to what extent the continents, oceans and ocean crust will take up the extra human-induced rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long run.

Milky Way ties with neighbor in galactic arms race

Wed, 14 Feb 18 00:10:30 -0800

Astronomers have discovered that our nearest big neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, is roughly the same size as the Milky Way. It had been thought that Andromeda was two to three times the size of the Milky Way, and that our own galaxy would ultimately be engulfed by our bigger neighbor. But the latest research, published today, evens the score between the two galaxies.

OU astrophysicists discover planets in extragalactic galaxies using microlensing

Fri, 02 Feb 18 00:15:20 -0800

A University of Oklahoma astrophysics team has discovered for the first time a population of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Using microlensing--an astronomical phenomenon and the only known method capable of discovering planets at truly great distances from the Earth among other detection techniques--OU researchers were able to detect objects in extragalactic galaxies that range from the mass of the Moon to the mass of Jupiter.

Natural telescope sets new magnification record

Fri, 02 Feb 18 00:01:40 -0800

An international team of astronomers, led by Harald Ebeling of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has discovered one of the most extreme instances of magnification by gravitational lensing. Using the Hubble Space Telescope to survey a sample of huge clusters of galaxies, the team found a distant galaxy, eMACSJ1341-QG-1, that is magnified 30 times thanks to the distortion of space-time created by the massive galaxy cluster dubbed eMACSJ1341.9-2441.

Astronomy: A rotating system of satellite galaxies raises questions

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:05:30 -0800

Astronomers have examined the distribution and movement of dwarf galaxies in the constellation Centaurus, but their observations do not fit with the standard model of cosmology that assumes the existence of dark matter. The international team of researchers led by the University of Basel reported their findings in the journal Science.

Surprise: Satellite galaxies of Centaurus A are on a coordinated dance

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:05:10 -0800

The satellite dwarf galaxies orbiting around the much larger galaxy Centaurus A are rotating in synchrony around their host, to researchers' surprise.

Distant galaxy group contradicts common cosmological models, simulations

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:04:40 -0800

An international team of astronomers has determined that Centaurus A, a massive elliptical galaxy 13 million light-years from Earth, is accompanied by a number of dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting the main body in a narrow disk. In a paper published today in Science, the researchers note that this is the first time such a galactic arrangement has been observed outside the Local Group, home to the Milky Way.

New study challenges popular theory about dwarf galaxies

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:04:10 -0800

A new international study involving The Australian National University (ANU) has found a plane of dwarf galaxies orbiting around Centaurus A in a discovery that challenges a popular theory about how dwarf galaxies are spread around the Universe.

IAC astronomers find one of the first stars formed in the Milky Way

Wed, 31 Jan 18 00:11:10 -0800

Researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) have identified, using the Gran Telescopio de Canarias (GTC) a star which is a key to the formation of the first chemical elements in the Galaxy. The results of this research are published today in the scientific journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Galaxies that feed on other galaxies

Wed, 31 Jan 18 00:11:50 -0800

An international team of astronomers led by Giuseppina Battaglia, researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), finds signs that the outer halo of the Milky Way contains stellar remains of massive dwarf galaxies that were devoured by our own.

CALIFA renews the classification of galaxies

Wed, 31 Jan 18 00:11:40 -0800

This project, in which the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) is collaborating, has made a map with 300 galaxies close to the Milky Way, which they have classified on the basis of the way the stars are moving, rather than using the morphological classification used until now.

Chasing dark matter with the oldest stars in the Milky Way
Just how quickly is the dark matter near Earth zipping around? The speed of dark matter has far-reaching consequences for modern astrophysical research, but this fundamental property has eluded researchers for years. In a paper published Jan. 22 in the journal Physical Review Letters, Princeton researchers provided the first clue: The solution to this mystery, it turns out, lies among some of the oldest stars in the galaxy.