astronomy

Scientists discover star-swallowing black hole

Scientists discover star-swallowing black hole

A Johns Hopkins University-led group of international astrophysicists have just published a new report in the journal Science about the first ever witnessing of a star being swallowed by a black hole. The scientists monitored the event, describing a star that was about the size of our sun, getting pulled from its course by the massive black hole's gravitational pull, and then being swallowed whole.

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Nearby galaxy discovered to have most dark matter ever known

Nearby galaxy discovered to have most dark matter ever known

In studying Triangulum II, a dwarf galaxy nearby the Milky Way, researchers from CalTech have come to realize that it has the largest concentration of dark matter ever known. It wasn't obvious at first, seeing as how dark matter is invisible to both eyes and instruments, but the realization came when they went to measure its mass, finding that it was much, much denser than it should've been for having so few stars.

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NASA captures beautiful shockwave photos using the Sun and Moon

NASA captures beautiful shockwave photos using the Sun and Moon

NASA captured the amazing photos shown here using the schlieren technique. Never heard of it? It's a way of photographing air density gradients, like shockwaves in the air, by using something like the sun or a speckled desert as a background. This technique has been use in air-to-air situations, but now NASA is experimenting with capturing similar photos from the ground. Scientists achieved these images by using the sun or moon as backgrounds while an aircraft flew by at supersonic speeds.

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After 33 years a supermoon eclipse is coming, and NASA is giddy

After 33 years a supermoon eclipse is coming, and NASA is giddy

A supermoon will be taking place on September 27th, which means a full moon will be visible when it is at the point in its orbit where it is closest to the Earth. However, as NASA explains, this is the first time in over 30 years that a lunar eclipse will be taking place at the exact same time. So in the evening on September 27th in the US, people will be able to view a total lunar eclipse of the largest moon we can see for over an hour.

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3.2 Gigapixel digital camera is a go

3.2 Gigapixel digital camera is a go

If you aren't impressed with the 23 megapixel camera sensors on some of the highest end smartphones, then this one might just knock you off your feet. Of course, it isn't going to be used on a smartphone, or any small device for that matter. This 3.2 gigapixel camera will be the digital eye of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) on top of the Cerro Pachón mountain in Chile. And it has just received the Department of Energy's thumbs up to start its construction in order to give scientists deeper insight into the mysteries of the universe.

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Cosmic butterfly: Hubble pictures the Twin Jet Nebula

Cosmic butterfly: Hubble pictures the Twin Jet Nebula

Forget the butterflies in your stomach, this one is in space. OK, so maybe it's a bit of a deformed butterfly, but the image of what is popularly known as the Twin Jet Nebula captured by the ever so reliable Hubble Space Telescope is just as beautiful, exhibiting a grand display of colors. But almost like a real butterfly whose existence signals its impeding death, this delightful show is really the dying breath of an old star, as if giving the universe one last light show before it kicks the cosmic bucket.

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First aurora outside Solar System spotted on a brown dwarf

First aurora outside Solar System spotted on a brown dwarf

Auroras. Borealis in the north, Australis in the south. Who would have thought that finding that same beautiful phenomenon on a celestial body outside our solar system would lead to much excitement. But that is exactly what the brown dwarf LSR J1835 provided astronomers. Located in the Lyra constellation 18 light years away, the small star/big planet exhibited the equivalent of the Aurora, though red in color compared to our own Earth's green. The thing is, that occurrence has never been recorded outside our Solar System.

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Einstein ring holds gargantuan galaxy at the edge of the Universe

Einstein ring holds gargantuan galaxy at the edge of the Universe

Japanese researchers have discovered a new galaxy so far away, it is in the outskirts of the charted Universe. To precisely map this galaxy the scientists turned to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope and used the gravitational lensing of a foreground galaxy, which created a "natural telescope," bending and magnifying light from the hidden, background galaxy, SDP.81. As the natural telescope magnifies SDP.81, the image loses focus and becomes smeared. The team of scientists was able to create a mathematical model to account for lens distortion and bring obscured details to light. In a way, the model is like correcting galactic astigmatism.

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NASA finds glass on Mars, could hold signs of life

NASA finds glass on Mars, could hold signs of life

Every mark on a planet's surface details its history. Mars is long suspected of being home to signs of life, so its history is of particular interest to researchers. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has found glass deposits sitting at the nadir of some impact craters on Mars. Previous scientific inquiries into impact glass on earth have been led by Peter Schultz from Brown University. While working on an expedition in Argentina he discovered ancient plant matter and organic material embedded in glass that was formed by an impact from millions of years ago. He proposed that the similar impacts could preserve signs of life on other planets. If they could isolate glass deposits on Mars, there is a chance they could detect and analyze the biosignatures.

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Scientists mistook microwave interference for alien messages

Scientists mistook microwave interference for alien messages

Mistakes do happen even in science, which is the whole basis for the experimentation process. But there are some mistakes are just too embarrassing to make. Take for example this group of scientists who stumbled on what they thought could possibly be messages from intelligent lifeforms in outer space. Fact, however, couldn't be farther from the truth, or nearer to the scientists, in this case. Apparently, the source of the shorts bursts of energy was nothing more than their very own laboratory microwave.

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New black hole theory: Matter doesn’t disappear after entering

New black hole theory: Matter doesn’t disappear after entering

Black holes hold unfathomable mysteries, the most mysterious among them is the question of what happens to matter once it is sucked into the black hole. Scientists no longer think that it is lost and irretrievable forever. The latest theory provides a mathematical solution to the "loss paradox" that has plagued black hole physicists. This theory maintains that matter which enters a black hole still exists, in some form, actually disproving Stephen Hawking's theory of material destruction by black holes.

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The hunt for dark matter: NASA’s Hubble, Chandra uncover new clues

The hunt for dark matter: NASA’s Hubble, Chandra uncover new clues

Astronomers have uncovered new clues about the nature of mysterious dark matter using NASA's Hubble telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The newest discovery is that dark matter doesn't decelerate when it collides against other dark matter. Previous theories held dark matter to be more interactive. If this new information is correct, it could eliminate some previous theories about the behavior of dark matter. For example: because dark matter doesn't slow down when it collides with itself, theories relying on strong friction are out the window.

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