Cosmic swirly straws: Galaxies fed by funnels of fuel
Computer simulations of galaxies growing over billions of years have revealed a likely scenario for how they feed: a cosmic version of swirly straws. The results show that cold gas -- fuel for stars -- spirals into the cores of galaxies along filaments, rapidly making its way to their "guts." Once there, the gas is converted into new stars, and the galaxies bulk up in mass.
Research effort deep underground could sort out cosmic-scale mysteries
Scientists have begun delivery of germanium-76 detectors to an underground laboratory in South Dakota in a team research effort that might explain the puzzling imbalance between matter and antimatter generated by the Big Bang.
Detection of the cosmic gamma ray horizon: Measures all the light in the universe since the Big Bang
Radiation from all galaxies that ever existed suffuses the universe with a diffuse extragalactic background light (EBL). Measuring the EBL is as fundamental to cosmology as measuring heat from the Big Bang (cosmic microwave background) at radio wavelengths. Researchers describe the best measurement yet of the evolution of the EBL over the past 5 billion years, based on observations from radio waves to gamma rays from NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescopes.
Accurate distance measurement resolves major astronomical mystery
Astronomers have resolved a major problem in their understanding of a class of stars that undergo regular outbursts by accurately measuring the distance to a famous example of the type.
Bacterium from Canadian high Arctic offers clues to possible life on Mars
The recent discovery of a bacterium that is able to thrive at minus 15 degrees Celsius, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth, is exciting because it offers clues about some of the necessary preconditions for microbial life on Mars.
Hubble reveals the Ring Nebula’s true shape
The Ring Nebula's distinctive shape makes it a popular illustration for astronomy books. But new observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of the glowing gas shroud around an old, dying, sun-like star reveal a new twist.
Hidden population of exotic neutron stars
Magnetars -- the dense remains of dead stars that erupt sporadically with bursts of high-energy radiation -- are some of the most extreme objects known in the Universe. A major campaign using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other satellites shows magnetars may be more diverse -- and common -- than previously thought.
Spectacular stellar nursery: ESO's Very Large Telescope celebrates 15 years of success
With this new view of a spectacular stellar nursery ESO is celebrating 15 years of the Very Large Telescope — the world's most advanced optical instrument. This picture reveals thick clumps of dust silhouetted against the pink glowing gas cloud known to astronomers as IC 2944. These opaque blobs resemble drops of ink floating in a strawberry cocktail, their whimsical shapes sculpted by powerful radiation coming from the nearby brilliant young stars.
Magnetic field misbehavior in solar flares explained: The culprit is turbulence
When a solar flare erupts from the sun, its magnetic fields sometime break a widely accepted rule of physics. Why? Now we know.
Forecast for Saturn's moon Titan: Wild weather could be ahead
Saturn's moon Titan might be in for some wild weather as it heads into its spring and summer, if two new models are correct. Scientists think that as the seasons change in Titan's northern hemisphere, waves could ripple across the moon's hydrocarbon seas, and hurricanes could begin to swirl over these areas, too. The model predicting waves tries to explain data from the moon obtained so far by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Both models help mission team members plan when and where to look for unusual atmospheric disturbances as Titan summer approaches.
Fragile mega-galaxy is missing link in history of cosmos
Two hungry young galaxies that collided 11 billion years ago are rapidly forming a massive galaxy about 10 times the size of the Milky Way, according to new research.
Model of Sun's magnetic field created
Researchers have uncovered an important mechanism behind the generation of astrophysical magnetic fields such as that of the Sun.
NASA’s BARREL mission launches 20 balloons
In Antarctica in January, 2013 -- the summer at the South Pole -- scientists released 20 balloons, each eight stories tall, into the air to help answer an enduring space weather question: when the giant radiation belts surrounding Earth lose material, where do the extra particles actually go?
NASA's IRIS mission readies for a new challenge
NASA is getting ready to launch a new mission, a mission to observe a largely unexplored region of the solar atmosphere that powers its dynamic million-degree outer atmosphere and drives the solar wind. In late June 2013, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. IRIS will advance our understanding of the interface region, a region in the lower atmosphere of the sun where most of the sun's ultraviolet emissions are generated. Such emissions impact the near-Earth space environment and Earth's climate.
NASA launching experiment to examine the beginnings of the universe
When did the first stars and galaxies form in the universe? How brightly did they burn their nuclear fuel? Scientists will seek to gain answers to these questions with the launch of the Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRIment (CIBER) on a Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket between 11 and 11:59 p.m. EDT, June 4 from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Observations of stellar visibility by citizen scientists accurately measure the brightness of the night sky
Observations of stellar visibility by citizen scientists accurately measure the brightness of the night sky. The researchers hope that such data can eventually be used to track changes in artificial night sky brightness, also known as skyglow, worldwide.
NASA builds unusual testbed for analyzing X-ray navigation technologies
Pulsars have a number of unusual qualities. Like zombies, they shine even though they're technically dead, and they rotate rapidly, emitting powerful and regular beams of radiation that are seen as flashes of light, blinking on and off at intervals from seconds to milliseconds. A NASA team has built a first-of-a-kind testbed that simulates these distinctive pulsations.
The mammoth's lament: How cosmic impact sparked devastating climate change
Researchers have found evidence of a major cosmic event near the end of the Ice Age. The ensuing climate change forced many species to adapt or die.
NASA Mars rover Curiosity drills second rock target
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has used the drill on its robotic arm to collect a powdered sample from the interior of a rock called "Cumberland." Plans call for delivering portions of the sample in coming days to laboratory instruments inside the rover. This is only the second time that a sample has been collected from inside a rock on Mars.
Mars rover Opportunity examines clay clues in rock
NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is driving to a new study area after a dramatic finish to 20 months on "Cape York" with examination of a rock intensely altered by water.
Nine-year-old Mars rover passes 40-year-old record
While Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt visited Earth's moon for three days in December 1972, they drove their mission's Lunar Roving Vehicle 19.3 nautical miles (22.210 statute miles or 35.744 kilometers). That was the farthest total distance for any NASA vehicle driving on a world other than Earth until yesterday.
NASA's asteroid sample return mission moves into development
NASA's first mission to sample an asteroid is moving ahead into development and testing in preparation for its launch in 2016.
Galaxy's 'burning ring of fire' is frenetic region of star formation
Johnny Cash may have preferred this galaxy's burning ring of fire to the one he sang about falling into in his popular song. The "starburst ring" seen at center of a new image in red and yellow hues is not the product of love, as in the song, but is instead a frenetic region of star formation. The galaxy, a spiral beauty called Messier 94, is located about 17 million light-years away.
New method proposed for detecting gravitational waves from ends of universe
A new window into the nature of the universe may be possible with a device proposed by scientists that would detect elusive gravity waves from the other end of the cosmos.
Weather on the outer planets only goes so deep
What is the long-range weather forecast for the giant planets Uranus and Neptune? These planets are home to extreme winds blowing at speeds of over 1000 km/hour, hurricane-like storms as large around as Earth, immense weather systems that last for years and fast-flowing jet streams. Researchers set an upper limit for the thickness of jet streams on Uranus and Neptune.More on ScienceDaily