19
May 10

A beautiful view of M83

Source: ESO Photo Release eso1020


Messier 83 by HAWK-I/VLT.
Credit: ESO/M. Gieles

ESO is releasing a beautiful image of the nearby galaxy Messier 83 taken by the HAWK-I instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The picture shows the galaxy in infrared light and demonstrates the impressive power of the camera to create one of the sharpest and most detailed pictures of Messier 83 ever taken from the ground. (read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
19
May 10

Unique Eclipsing Binary Star System Discovered

Source: Space Daily


Artist conception of the unique binary star NLTT 11748.
Credit: Steve Howell/Pete Marenfeld/NOAO

Santa Barbara CA (SPX) May 19, 2010 Astrophysicists at UC Santa Barbara are the first scientists to identify two white dwarf stars in an eclipsing binary system, allowing for the first direct radius measurement of a rare white dwarf composed of pure helium.

The results will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. These observations are the first to confirm a theory about a certain type of white dwarf star. (read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
19
May 10

Astronomers Find Nine New Planets and Upset the Theory of Planetary Formation

Source: Universtity of California, Santa Barbara


Gallery of exoplanets with retrograde orbits. Exoplanets, discovered by WASP together with ESO telescopes, that unexpectedly have been found to have retrograde orbits, are shown in this artist's conception. In all cases the star is shown to scale, with its rotation axis pointing up and with realistic colors. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

The discovery of nine new planets challenges the reigning theory of the formation of planets, according to new observations by astronomers. Two of the astronomers involved in the discoveries are based at the UC Santa Barbara-affiliated Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT), based in Goleta, Calif., near UCSB.

Unlike the planets in our solar system, two of the newly discovered planets are orbiting in the opposite direction to the rotation of their host star. This, along with a recent study of other exoplanets, upsets the primary theory of how planets are formed. There is a preponderance of these planets with their orbital spin going opposite to that of their parent star. They are called exoplanets because they are located outside of our solar system. (read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon