The Herschel Infrared Space Observatory discovered that galaxies do not always need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns a long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve.
Is now the third year of the Royal Observatory’s competition to uncover the best photographs of stars, planets, galaxies and more. They received nearly 800 entries from astronomers around the world – that’s nearly double the number they received last year! Picture above: Hunting Moon by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann (France) -People and Space: runner-up
Physicists and astronomers have long believed that the universe has mirror symmetry, like a basketball. But recent findings from the University of Michigan suggest that the shape of the Big Bang might be more complicated than previously thought, and that the early universe spun on an axis.
Astronomer Edwin Hubble gave us our first basic galaxy classification. Using photographic plates, Hubble derived a simplistic system based on three visually known structures: elipitical, spiral and lenticular. For many decades, this served as a standard. Now the ATLAS3D Project is calling a different tune.
This image of super-cluster Abell 2744 captures the wreckage of a collision between four smaller galaxy clusters. New data let astronomers map the positions of three different kinds of matter in the system, which may offer clues to how dark matter behaves when it smacks into ordinary matter.
This diagram (above) illustrates two ways to measure how fast the universe is expanding. In the past, distant supernovae, or exploded stars, have been used as “standard candles” to measure distances in the universe, and to determine that its expansion is actually speeding up.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Explorer, or WISE, the mission team has put together this image showing just a sample of the millions of galaxies that have been imaged by WISE during its survey of the entire sky.