Jul 16

Space... the final frontier

Source: ESA/Hubble Photo Release heic1615

heic1615aAbell S1063, the final frontier.
Image credits: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI)

Fifty years ago Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise began their journey into space — the final frontier. Now, as the newest Star Trek film hits cinemas, the NASA/ESA Hubble space telescope is also exploring new frontiers, observing distant galaxies in the galaxy cluster Abell S1063 as part of the Frontier Fields programme.(read more)

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Jul 16

Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population

Source: Chandra Space Telescope

VLA J2130+12.
Image credits:X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Alberta/B.Tetarenko et al;
Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/AUI/NRAO/Curtin Univ./J. Miller-Jones.

Astronomers have identified the true nature of an unusual source in the Milky Way galaxy. As described in our latest press release, this discovery implies that there could be a much larger number of black holes in the Galaxy that have previously been unaccounted for.

The result was made by combining data from many different telescopes that detect various forms of light, each providing key pieces of information. These telescopes included NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, NSF's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), Green Bank Telescope, Arecibo Observatory, and the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network. (learn more)

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Jul 16

Stellar Outburst Brings Water Snow Line Into View

Source: ESO Science Release eso1626

eso1626aArtist’s impression of the water snowline around the young star V883 Orionis.
Image credits: A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO).

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made the first ever resolved observation of a water snow line within a protoplanetary disc. This line marks where the temperature in the disc surrounding a young star drops sufficiently low for snow to form. A dramatic increase in the brightness of the young star V883 Orionis flash heated the inner portion of the disc, pushing the water snow line out to a far greater distance than is normal for a protostar, and making it possible to observe it for the first time. The results are published in the journal Nature on 14 July 2016. (learn more)

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Jul 16

Deepest Ever Look into Orion

Source: ESO Science Release eso1625

This spectacular image of the Orion Nebula star-formation region was obtained from multiple exposures using the HAWK-I infrared camera on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. This is the deepest view ever of this region and reveals more very faint planetary-mass objects than expected.

ESO’s HAWK-I infrared instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile has been used to peer deeper into the heart of Orion Nebula than ever before. The spectacular picture reveals about ten times as many brown dwarfs and isolated planetary-mass objects than were previously known. This discovery poses challenges for the widely accepted scenario for Orion’s star formation history.(learn more)

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Jul 16

A Surprising Planet with Three Suns

Source: ESO Science Release eso1624

Artist’s impression of planet in the HD 131399 system.
Image credits: ESO/L.Calçada.

A team of astronomers have used the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to image the first planet ever found in a wide orbit inside a triple-star system. The orbit of such a planet had been expected to be unstable, probably resulting in the planet being quickly ejected from the system. But somehow this one survives. This unexpected observation suggests that such systems may actually be more common than previously thought. The results will be published online in the journal Science on 7 July 2016. (learn more)

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Jul 16

The Crab Nebula as never seen before

Source: ESA/Hubble Photo Release heic1614

While many other images of the famous Crab Nebula nebula have focused on the filaments in the outer part of the nebula, this image shows the very heart of the Crab Nebula including the central neutron star — it is the rightmost of the two bright stars near the centre of this image. The rapid motion of the material nearest to the central star is revealed by the subtle rainbow of colours in this time-lapse image, the rainbow effect being due to the movement of material over the time between one image and another.

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the beating heart of one of the most visually appealing, and most studied, supernova remnants known — the Crab Nebula. At the centre of this nebula the spinning core of a deceased star breathes life into the gas that surrounds it. (learn more)

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Jul 16

Hubble captures vivid auroras in Jupiter’s atmospher

Source: ESA/Hubble Photo Release heic1613

heic1613aAuroras on Jupiter.
Image credits: NASA, ESA.

Astronomers are using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras — stunning light shows in a planet’s atmosphere — on the poles of the largest planet in the Solar System, Jupiter. This observation programme is supported by measurements made by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently on its way to Jupiter. (learn more)

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