BEST ASTRONOMY

Space / Astronomy News and Articles

Sun11192017

Last update01:23:23 PM GMT

Back Cosmology Cosmology

Cosmology

Quasars: Mileposts marking the universe's expansion

Artist's concept illustrating a quasar. (Credit: NASA/ESA)

BestAstronomy (Sep. 18, 2012) — Scientists can't travel deep space the way Columbus sailed and charted the New World or Lewis and Clark mapped the west. But, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and two partnering institutions have found a possible way to map the spread and structure of the universe, guided by the light of quasars.

The technique, combined with the expected discovery of millions more far-away quasars over the next decade, could yield an unprecedented look back to a time shortly after the Big Bang, when the universe was a fraction the size it is today.

Researchers found the key while analyzing the visible light...

Erosional origin of linear dunes on Earth and Saturn's moon Titan

BestAstronomy (Feb. 24, 2012) — Linear dunes, widespread on Earth and Saturn's moon, Titan, are generally considered to have been formed by deposits of windblown sand. It has been speculated for some time that some linear dunes may have formed by "wind-rift" erosion, but this model has commonly been rejected due to lack of sufficient evidence. Now, new research supported by China's NSF and published this week in GSA BULLETIN indicates that erosional origin models should not be ruled...

10 Crazy Theories About The Universe That Were Proved True

No.10 Round EarthThis is an idea that is fully accepted by most people, but it was not always held with such certainty. While it is a misconception to think that most people believed in a flat earth well into the early modern period, it was certainly a commonly held belief in early Chinese thought, and it was not until the great Greek mathematicians that Europeans started to accept the spherical earth theory. Pythagoras is the man most commonly associated with the idea, but it was really only...

Are We Really All Made of Stars?

The theory that everyone  and everything on Earth contains minuscule star particles dates back further than Moby's popular 2002 song "We Are All Made of Stars."

In the early 1980s, astronomer Carl Sagan hosted and narrated a 13-part television series called "Cosmos" that aired on PBS. On the show, Sagan thoroughly explained many science-related topics, including Earth's history, evolution, the origin of life and the solar system.

"We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part...

When the multiverse and many-worlds collide

TWO of the strangest ideas in modern physics - that the cosmos constantly splits into parallel universes in which every conceivable outcome of every event happens, and the notion that our universe is part of a larger multiverse - have been unified into a single theory. This solves a bizarre but fundamental problem in cosmology and has set physics circles buzzing with excitement, as well as some bewilderment.

The problem is the observability of our universe. While most of us simply take...

Formaldehyde: Poison could have set the stage for the origins of life

— Formaldehyde, a poison and a common molecule throughout the universe, is likely the source of the solar system's organic carbon solids -- abundant in both comets and asteroids. Scientists have long speculated about the how organic, or carbon-containing, material became a part of the solar system's fabric. New research from Carnegie's George Cody, along with Conel Alexander and Larry Nittler, shows that these complex ...

— Formaldehyde, a poison and a common molecule throughout the...

Continent-wide telescope extends cosmic 'yardstick' three times farther into universe

— Using the super-sharp radio "vision" of astronomy's most precise telescope, scientists have extended a directly-measured "yardstick" three times farther into the cosmos than ever before, an achievement with important implications for numerous areas of astrophysics, including determining the nature of Dark Energy, which constitutes 70 percent of the Universe. The continent-wide Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) also ...

— Using the super-sharp radio "vision" of astronomy's most precise...

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope: Africa to shed light on the 'dark ages' of the universe

— Africa's bid to build and host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope -- which will for the first time provide humankind with detailed pictures of the "dark ages" 13.7 billion years back in time -- is gaining momentum with significant scientific breakthroughs.

An important milestone was reached with the "detection of fringes" in a joint very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observation. For the first time...

— Africa's bid to build and host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA)...

Giant radio telescope goes multi-national: First images from LOFAR

— In the quest to discover more about our Universe and the birth of stars and galaxies, a new UK telescope connected for the first time to others across Europe has delivered its first 'radio pictures'. The images of the 3C196 quasar (a black hole in a distant galaxy) were taken in January 2011 by the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT). LOFAR (Low Frequency Array), which is co-ordinated by ASTRON in the Netherlands, ...

— In the quest to discover more about our Universe and the birth of...

Most distant galaxy candidate yet seen: Hubble sees farther back in time than ever before

— Astronomers have pushed NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to it limits by finding what they believe to be the most distant object ever seen in the universe -- at a distance of 13.2 billion light years, some 3% of the age of universe. This places the object roughly 150 million light years more distant than the previous record holder. The observations provide the best insights yet into the birth of the first stars and ...

— Astronomers have pushed NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to it limits...

Swift survey finds 'missing' active galaxies

— Seen in X-rays, the entire sky is aglow. Even far away from bright sources, X-rays originating from beyond our galaxy provide a steady glow in every direction. Astronomers have long suspected that the chief contributors to this cosmic X-ray background were dust-swaddled black holes at the centers of active galaxies. The trouble was, too few of them were detected to do the job.

An international team of scientists...

— Seen in X-rays, the entire sky is aglow. Even far away from bright...

Astronomers release the largest color image of the sky ever made

— The Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III (SDSS-III) has released the largest digital color image of the sky ever made, and its free to all. The image has been put together over the last decade from millions of 2.8-megapixel images, thus creating a color image of more than a trillion pixels. This terapixel image is so big and detailed that one would need 500,000 high-definition TVs to view it at its full resolution.

"This...

— The Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III (SDSS-III) has released the...

Best way to measure dark energy just got better

— Dark energy is a mysterious force that pervades all space, acting as a "push" to accelerate the Universe's expansion. Despite being 70 percent of the Universe, dark energy was only discovered in 1998 by two teams observing Type Ia supernovae. A Type 1a supernova is a cataclysmic explosion of a white dwarf star.

These supernovae are currently the best way to measure dark energy because they are visible across...

— Dark energy is a mysterious force that pervades all space, acting as a...

Planck mission peels back layers of the Universe

— The Planck mission released a new data catalogue Jan. 11, 2011 from initial maps of the entire sky. The catalogue includes thousands of never-before-seen dusty cocoons where stars are forming, and some of the most massive clusters of galaxies ever observed. Planck is a European Space Agency mission with significant contributions from NASA.

"NASA is pleased to support this important mission, and we have eagerly...

— The Planck mission released a new data catalogue Jan. 11, 2011 from...

Cosmology standard candle not so standard after all

— Astronomers have turned up the first direct proof that "standard candles" used to illuminate the size of the universe, termed Cepheids, shrink in mass, making them not quite as standard as once thought. The findings, made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will help astronomers make even more precise measurements of the size, age and expansion rate of our universe.

Standard candles are astronomical objects that...

— Astronomers have turned up the first direct proof that "standard...

Webb telescope's actuators: Curving mirrors in space

— NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is a wonder of modern engineering. As the planned successor to the Hubble Space telescope, even the smallest of parts on this giant observatory will play a critical role in its performance. A new video takes viewers behind the Webb's mirrors to investigate "actuators," one component that will help Webb focus on some of the earliest objects in the universe.

The video called "Got Your...

— NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is a wonder of modern...

Black holes and warped space revealed by powerful new array of radio telescopes

— A new image shows how the light from a quasar billions of light years away is bent around a foreground galaxy by the curvature of space. This light has been traveling for 9 billion years before it reached the Earth. The quasar is a galaxy powered by a super-massive black hole, leading to the ejection of jets of matter moving at almost the speed of light.

This dramatic image is the first to be produced by e-MERLIN, a...

— A new image shows how the light from a quasar billions of light...

Astronomers open new window into early universe: Epoch of Reionization

— Thirteen billion years ago our universe was dark. There were neither stars nor galaxies; there was only hydrogen gas left over after the Big Bang. Eventually that mysterious time came to an end as the first stars ignited and their radiation transformed the nearby gas atoms into ions. This phase of the universe's history is called the Epoch of Reionization (EoR), and it is intimately linked to many fundamental ...

— Thirteen billion years ago our universe was dark. There were neither...

So you think you can solve a cosmology puzzle? Scientists challenge other scientists with a series of galaxy puzzles

— Cosmologists have come up with a new way to solve their problems. They are inviting scientists, including those from totally unrelated fields, to participate in a grand competition. The idea is to spur outside interest in one of cosmology's trickiest problems -- measuring the invisible dark matter and dark energy that permeate our universe.

The results will help in the development of new space missions, designed to...

— Cosmologists have come up with a new way to solve their problems...

Distribution of gravitational wave sources predicted

— A pair of neutron stars spiraling toward each other until they merge in a violent explosion should produce detectable gravitational waves. A new study led by an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, predicts for the first time where such mergers are likely to occur in the local galactic neighborhood.

According to Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa...

— A pair of neutron stars spiraling toward each other until they...

Physicists create supernova in a jar

— A team of physicists from the University of Toronto and Rutgers University has mimicked a supernova -- an explosion of a star -- in miniature.

In a certain type of supernova, the detonation starts with a flame ball buried deep inside a white dwarf. The flame ball is much lighter than its surroundings, so it rises rapidly making a plume topped with an accelerating smoke ring.

"We created a smaller version of this...

— A team of physicists from the University of Toronto and Rutgers...