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Posts Tagged "star formation"

Basic Space

How ‘UFOs’ Curb Black Hole Growth

Something unusual has been spotted lurking around several galaxies’ central black holes. Astronomers think it may be limiting the growth of the black holes – and stars elsewhere in the galaxies, too. Astronomers studying nearby galaxies have found a new type of outflow called an ultra-fast outflow, or UFO. An international team of astronomers led [...]

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Basic Space

Massive Stars Create ‘Cocoon’ of Cosmic Rays

Cygnus X is a star forming region in the constellation Cygnus in the night sky. It looks rather pretty in visible light, as shown at the beginning of the video below. But in radio, infrared and gamma ray wavelengths, Cygnus X really comes to life. Recent Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) observations have shown that [...]

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Basic Space

Hubble Unearths Distant Colourful Dwarf Galaxies

The GOODS field with 18 of the newly discovered colourful dwarf galaxies highlighted. Click for a bigger image. Credit: {link url="http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2011/31/image/a/"}NASA, ESA and CANDELS{/link}

Hubble has uncovered a goldmine of young dwarf galaxies that are undergoing intense bursts of star formation. Dwarf galaxies are the most common in the universe but until now astronomers had seen few examples of distant dwarf galaxies because they are small and not very bright. Observing distant dwarf galaxies used to require training telescopes [...]

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Basic Space

Spooky Nebulae: Ghosts, Snakes, Spiders and Cats Eyes

Composite image of the Cat's Eye Nebula, using optical images from Hubble and X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Credit: {link url="http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1995/49/image/h/"}J.P. Harrington and K.J. Borkowski (University of Maryland), and NASA{/link}

Nebulae run the full gamut of a star’s life, from conception to death. Emission nebulae are stellar nurseries, in which stars and even planetary systems form. Planetary nebulae and supernova remnants, however, mark the spectacular end of a star’s life. Nebulae come in all shapes and sizes, and some even resemble familiar objects more often [...]

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Basic Space

The Closest You’ll Ever Get to Being in Space

The entire Orion Nebula as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope in visible light. Credit: {link url="http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2006/01/"}NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team{/link}

Being a student of Imperial College has a few perks. Our campus is on the same road as three of the biggest museums in London: the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert, and the Science Museum. Not that you get much time to visit them when you have days full of lectures, seminars, tutorials [...]

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Basic Space

Blue stragglers formed by engulfing red giants

Open star cluster NGC 188 in the constellation Cepheus. Credit: {link url="http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Roberto_Mura"}Roberto Mura{\link}

Unusual stars known as blue stragglers have been causing trouble for astronomers since they were first seen in 1953: they are hotter and brighter than they should be, and much younger too. Now, they are causing mischief again for astronomers that are trying to work out where they come from. When astronomers observe stars from [...]

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Basic Space

An impossible star?

In the beginning, the only elements that existed were hydrogen, helium and very small amounts of lithium. All of the other elements in the period table came later and, rather than forming out of the primordial soup of sub-atomic particles that existed shortly after the big bang, the elements from lithium up to and including [...]

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Life, Unbounded

A Pink Stellar Nursery and a Telescopic Birthday

Glowing hydrogen and a stellar birthplace 6,500 light years away (ESO/VLT)

Fifteen years ago the European Southern Observatory, a consortium of 15 member states, started scientific operations with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal in the Chilean Atacama desert. The VLT is a beast of an observatory, to put it mildly.                     Four 8.2 meter [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Andromeda mon amour

Andromeda (GALEX/NASA/JPL)

There is something beautiful yet ominous about our nearest large galactic neighbor. The Andromeda galaxy is a trillion star behemoth that spans some six times the diameter of the full Moon when seen through a telescope. At only 2.5 million light years away from the Milky Way it’s barely an intergalactic stone’s throw from us, [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Black Hole Roundup

Spinning black hole (NASA)

Black holes, black holes, and more black holes. In the past few weeks I’ve been thinking, talking, and even dreaming about black holes (yes really, somnolent thoughts seem well suited to these fantastic objects). Mostly this has been an effect of my book Gravity’s Engines hitting the shelves, but it’s also because barely a day [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Black Holes Are Coming!

The center of the Milky Way seen in 6cm radio emission. Our central supermassive black hole lurks in the spiral-ring like structure to the right.(Credit: VLA, Prof. K.Y. Lo, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Dept. of Astronomy)

On August 14th 2012 my new book, Gravity’s Engines, will launch. I’m enormously excited about this, and over the next couple of months – increasingly so as publication date approaches, Life, Unbounded will carry some posts that talk about the science between the covers. The subject matter of Gravity’s Engines may appear a little surprising [...]

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