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Universe Current Events and Universe News from Brightsurf

Universe Current Events and Universe News Events, Discoveries and Articles from Brightsurf

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The search for dark matter widens

Tue, 20 Mar 18 00:13:20 -0700

In this week's issue of Journal of Applied Physics, investigators report the discovery of a new material that may be able to directly detect dark matter. The material, known as a scintillator, should be sensitive to dark matter that is lighter than a proton. This will allow the search for dark matter to enter a largely unexplored mass range, below that of the proton.

Cosmologists create largest simulation of galaxy formation, break their own record

Mon, 19 Mar 18 00:02:20 -0700

An international consortium of cosmology researchers are releasing initial findings from IllustrisTNG, their follow-up to the 2015 record-breaking Illustris simulation -- the largest-ever hydrological simulation of galaxy formation.

UH scientists investigating mysterious dark matter

Thu, 15 Mar 18 00:10:30 -0700

University of Houston scientists are helping to develop a technology that could hold the key to unraveling one of the great mysteries of science: what constitutes dark matter?

Double or nothing: Astronomers rethink quasar environment

Tue, 13 Mar 18 00:14:50 -0700

Using Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) mounted on the Subaru Telescope, astronomers have identified nearly 200 'protoclusters,' the progenitors of galaxy clusters, in the early Universe, about 12 billion years ago, about ten times more than previously known. They also found that quasars don't tend to reside in protoclusters; but if there is one quasar in a protocluster, there is likely a second nearby. This result raises doubts about the relation between protoclusters and quasars.

NASA's James Webb Observatory prepares for additional testing

Mon, 12 Mar 18 00:04:10 -0700

Engineers removed the combined optics and science instruments of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope from their shipping container in a high bay at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, on March 8, signaling the next step in the observatory's integration and testing.

Arrested development: Hubble finds relic galaxy close to home

Mon, 12 Mar 18 00:07:00 -0700

Astronomers have put NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on an Indiana Jones-type quest to uncover an ancient 'relic galaxy' in our own cosmic backyard.

NASA's Webb Telescope to make a splash in search for interstellar water

Fri, 09 Mar 18 00:14:50 -0800

Water is crucial for life, but how do you make water? Cooking up some H2O takes more than mixing hydrogen and oxygen. It requires the special conditions found deep within frigid molecular clouds, where dust shields against destructive ultraviolet light and aids chemical reactions. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will peer into these cosmic reservoirs to gain new insights into the origin and evolution of water and other key building blocks for habitable planets.

Amazing universe captured with the Subaru Telescope! 'HSC Viewer' released to the public

Thu, 08 Mar 18 00:06:50 -0800

The first dataset from the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Plan (HSC-SSP) can be seen easily with the 'HSC Viewer' on your PC or tablet.

A new kind of star

Thu, 08 Mar 18 00:09:40 -0800

A new kind of star comes up from a study by SISSA's postdoctoral researcher Raúl Carballo-Rubio. In a piece of research recently published in Physical Review Letters, Carballo-Rubio has developed a novel mathematical model that combines general relativity with the repulsive effect of quantum vacuum polarization. The inclusion of this repulsive force allows describing ultracompact configurations of stars, which were previously considered by scientists not to exist in equilibrium.

A peculiar galactic clash

Thu, 08 Mar 18 00:11:40 -0800

Galaxies are not static islands of stars -- they are dynamic and ever-changing, constantly on the move through the darkness of the Universe. Sometimes, as seen in this spectacular Hubble image of Arp 256, galaxies can collide in a crash of cosmic proportions.

Physicists lay groundwork to better understand the birth of the universe

Tue, 06 Mar 18 00:15:40 -0800

Sebastian Deffner at UMBC and Anthony Bartolotta at Caltech have developed the first techniques for describing the thermodynamics of very small systems with very high energy -- like the universe at the start of the Big Bang -- which could lead to a better understanding of the birth of the universe and other cosmological phenomena. The work builds on the burgeoning field of quantum stochastic thermodynamics and is

Chemical sleuthing unravels possible path to forming life's building blocks in space

Mon, 05 Mar 18 00:05:10 -0800

Scientists have used experiments at Berkeley Lab to retrace the chemical steps leading to the creation of complex hydrocarbons in space. They showed pathways to forming 2-D carbon-based nanostructures in a mix of heated gases.

Unprecedentedly wide and sharp dark matter map

Fri, 02 Mar 18 00:06:00 -0800

A research team released an unprecedentedly wide and sharp dark matter map based on the newly obtained imaging data by Hyper Suprime-Cam on the Subaru Telescope. The dark matter distribution is estimated by the weak gravitational lensing technique. The team found indications that the number of dark matter halos could be inconsistent with what the simplest cosmological model suggests. This could be a new clue to understanding why the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

Can strongly lensed type 1a supernovae resolve cosmology's biggest controversy?

Thu, 01 Mar 18 00:02:30 -0800

Astrophysicists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and University of Portsmouth discovered how to control the 'micolensing' effects of strongly lensed Type 1a Supernovae with supercomputers at NERSC. Armed with this knowledge they believe they will be able to find 1,000 strongly lensed Type Ia supernovae in realtime from LSST data -- that's 20 times more than previous expectations.

Six decades of cosmology

Wed, 28 Feb 18 00:07:30 -0800

In a recent paper published in EPJ H, Jayant V. Narlikar, professor emeritus at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India, shares his personal reminiscences of the evolution of the subject of cosmology over six decades. He tells of the increase in our confidence in the standard model of cosmology to the extent that it has become a dogma.

Astronomers detect earliest evidence yet of hydrogen in the universe

Wed, 28 Feb 18 00:10:00 -0800

MIT and ASU astronomers have detected the earliest signs of hydrogen in the universe, suggesting first stars appeared around 180 million years after the Big Bang.

Unlocking the secrets of the universe

Wed, 28 Feb 18 00:09:40 -0800

After 12 years of experimental effort, a team of scientists, led by Arizona State University astronomer Judd Bowman, has detected the fingerprints of the earliest stars in the universe. Using radio signals, the detection provides the first evidence for the oldest ancestors in our cosmic family tree, born by a mere 180 million years after the universe began.

Astronomers detect ancient signal from first stars in universe.

Wed, 28 Feb 18 00:09:00 -0800

For the first time, astronomers have detected a signal from stars emerging in the early universe. Using a radio antenna not much larger than a refrigerator, the researchers discovered that ancient suns were active within 180 million years of the Big Bang.

Search for first stars uncovers 'dark matter'

Wed, 28 Feb 18 00:11:50 -0800

New research from a Tel Aviv University astrophysicist, published today in Nature, offers the first direct proof that dark matter exists and that it is composed of low-mass particles.

Rare first moment of stellar explosion captured by amateur astronomer

Thu, 22 Feb 18 00:14:20 -0800

An amateur astronomer testing his new camera captures the moment a supernova became visible in the night sky, which has helped an international team of researchers to test their theory about the beginning stages of a stellar explosion.

Improved Hubble yardstick gives fresh evidence for new physics in the universe

Thu, 22 Feb 18 00:13:30 -0800

Astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to make the most precise measurements of the expansion rate of the universe since it was first calculated nearly a century ago. Intriguingly, the results are forcing astronomers to consider that they may be seeing evidence of something unexpected at work in the universe.

Amateur astronomer captures rare first light of massive exploding star

Wed, 21 Feb 18 00:08:30 -0800

An amateur astronomer in Argentina captured images of a distant galaxy before and after the supernova's 'shock breakout' - when a supersonic pressure wave from the exploding core of the star hits and heats gas at the star's surface to a very high temperature, causing it to emit light and rapidly brighten. Victor Buso's chances of such a discovery, his first supernova, is estimated at one in 10 million or perhaps even as low as one in 100 million.

Pulsating Aurora mysteries uncovered with help from NASA's THEMIS mission

Tue, 20 Feb 18 00:01:20 -0800

The precise mechanism driving pulsating auroras, long unknown, has now been identified with help from NASA's THEMIS mission.

Some black holes erase your past

Tue, 20 Feb 18 00:11:40 -0800

Physicists insist on determinism: your past and present determine your future uniquely, per Einstein's equations of general relativity. They call this strong cosmic censorship. A UC Berkeley mathematician found some types of black holes -- charged, non-rotating objects in an expanding universe -- that allow an observer inside the black hole to travel across a horizon into a place where the past is obliterated and there are an infinite number of possible futures for every initial state.

Astronomers reveal secrets of most distant supernova ever detected

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:05:20 -0800

An international team of astronomers led by the University of Southampton has confirmed the discovery of the most distant supernova ever detected -- a huge cosmic explosion that took place 10.5 billion years ago, or three-quarters the age of the Universe itself.

Humans will actually react pretty well to news of alien life

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:02:20 -0800

Hollywood has it wrong. Humans would actually react positively to news of alien life -- intelligent or microbial.

ASU professor Davies addresses why we have yet to find extraterrestrial life

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:01:50 -0800

Are we alone in the universe? Few questions have captured the public imagination more than this. Yet to date we know of just one sample of life, that which exists here on Earth. Arizona State University Regents Professor and noted cosmologist Paul Davies will talk about efforts to identify extraterrestrial life at a press briefing Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas.

UChicago astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars

Fri, 09 Feb 18 00:00:30 -0800

Using one of the world's most powerful laser facilities, a team led by University of Chicago scientists experimentally confirmed a long-held theory for cosmic magnetic field generation: the turbulent dynamo. By creating a hot turbulent plasma the size of a penny, that lasts a few billionths of a second, the researchers recorded how the turbulent motions can amplify a weak magnetic field to the strengths of those observed in our sun, distant stars, and galaxies.

Friction found where there should be none: In superfluids near absolute zero

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:12:50 -0800

Physicists at Aalto University have discovered unexpected friction while rotating superfluid helium. Understanding the friction's provenance and implications is crucial for designing any devices that rely on superconducting quantum phenomena, such as quantum computers.

Supermassive black holes can feast on one star per year

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:03:10 -0800

Supermassive black holes in some galaxies can eat stars at a rate of one per year in the period following a galactic merger, helping explain a longstanding astronomical mystery about eccentric stellar orbits.

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.

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.

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.

Overabundance of massive stars in the Tarantula Nebula

Wed, 31 Jan 18 00:13:10 -0800

An international team of astronomers with participation of researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) has revealed an 'astonishing' overabundance of massive stars in a neighbouring galaxy. The discovery, made in a gigantic star-forming region of the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, has 'far-reaching' consequences for our understanding of how stars transformed the pristine Universe into the one we live in today.

New universe simulation prompts breakthrough discoveries in astrophysics

Wed, 31 Jan 18 00:07:00 -0800

Novel computational methods have helped create the most information-packed, universe-scale simulation ever produced. The new tool provides fresh insights into how black holes influence the distribution of dark matter, how heavy elements are produced and distributed throughout the cosmos, and where magnetic fields originate.

Applying machine learning to the universe's mysteries

Tue, 30 Jan 18 00:16:10 -0800

Berkeley Lab physicists and their collaborators have demonstrated that computers are ready to tackle the universe's greatest mysteries -- they used neural networks to perform a deep dive into data simulating the subatomic particle soup that may have existed just microseconds after the big bang.

Stellar embryos in nearby dwarf galaxy contain surprisingly complex organic molecules

Tue, 30 Jan 18 00:02:50 -0800

New observations ALMA have uncovered the surprisingly clear chemical 'fingerprints' of the complex organic molecules methanol, dimethyl ether, and methyl formate. Though previous observations found hints of methanol in the LMC, the latter two are unprecedented findings and stand as the most complex molecules ever conclusively detected outside of our galaxy.

Queen's University scientist unlocks gamma ray burst secrets

Tue, 23 Jan 18 00:00:40 -0800

A Queen's University Belfast scientist has recreated the first ever mini version of a gamma ray burst in a laboratory, opening up a whole new way to investigate their properties and potentially unlocking some of the mysteries around alien civilisation.

New for three types of extreme-energy space particles: Theory shows unified origin

Mon, 22 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0800

One of the biggest mysteries in astroparticle physics has been the origins of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, very high-energy neutrinos, and high-energy gamma rays. Now, a new theoretical model reveals that they all could be shot out into space after cosmic rays are accelerated by powerful jets from supermassive black holes. The model may set a new milestone on the path toward solving the half-century-old enigma of the origin of the highest-energy particles in the universe.

North, east, south, west: The many faces of Abell 1758

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:01:50 -0800

Resembling a swarm of flickering fireflies, this beautiful galaxy cluster glows intensely in the dark cosmos, accompanied by the myriad bright lights of foreground stars and swirling spiral galaxies. A1758N is a sub-cluster of Abell 1758, a massive cluster containing hundreds of galaxies. Although it may appear serene in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, the sub-cluster actually comprises two even smaller structures currently in the turbulent process of merging.

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:02:40 -0800

Dust is everywhere -- not just in your attic or under your bed, but also in outer space. To astronomers, dust can be a tool to study the history of our universe, galaxy, and Solar System. For example, observations indicate that type II supernovae -- explosions of stars more than ten times as massive as the Sun -- produce copious amounts of dust, but how and when they do so is not well understood.

Neutron-star merger yields new puzzle for astrophysicists

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:05:20 -0800

The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten - much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. New observations from NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters, indicate that the gamma ray burst unleashed by the collision is more complex than scientists initially imagined.

Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:05:50 -0800

Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. Portland State University biology professor Ken Stedman and colleagues are trying to change this through their article

Redshift space distortions measured by quasars in scientific first

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:08:40 -0800

The eBOSS team released its latest results on Jan. 10, 2018: a measurement of redshift space distortions (RSD) with high significance has been successfully accomplished using observations of quasars distributed 6.8 to 10.5 billion light years away from Earth (with redshifts 0.8 to 2.2). This is the first probe of cosmic structure growth using quasars.

Hubble weighs in on mass of 3 million billion suns

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:00:30 -0800

In 2014, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope found that this enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion suns. Known officially as ACT-CLJ0102-4915, it is the largest, hottest, and brightest X-ray galaxy cluster ever discovered in the distant universe.

Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume

Fri, 12 Jan 18 00:04:50 -0800

Statistical analysis of supermassive black holes suggests that the spin of the black hole may play a role in the generation of powerful high-speed jets blasting radio waves. By analyzing nearly 8000 quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, research team found that the oxygen emissions are 1.5 times stronger in radio loud quasars than in radio quiet quasars. This implies that spin is an important factor in the generation of jets.

Organic molecule benzonitrile detected in space

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:15:10 -0800

Scientists studying a cold molecular cloud of the Taurus region with radio telescopes have detected the presence of a particular organic molecule called benzonitrile. The finding marks the first time a specific aromatic molecule has been identified in space using radio spectroscopy.

Astronomers detect 'whirlpool' movement in earliest galaxies

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:11:40 -0800

Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the universe. These 'newborns' -- observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago -- spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way. This is the first time that it has been possible to detect movement in galaxies at such an early point in the universe's history.

SETI project homes in on strange 'fast radio bursts'

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:11:30 -0800

Brief and powerful fast radio bursts could be signals from advanced civilizations, which is why Breakthrough Listen at UC Berkeley is monitoring many of the 30-some known FRBs, including FRB 121102, the only repeater. They and another team report that the bursts from FRB 121102 are 100 percent polarized, indicating that they come from a source embedded in a strong magnetic field, like that around a massive black hole at the center of a galaxy.