Astronomers, including a NASA-funded team member, have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star. The team believes these lone worlds were probably ejected from developing planetary systems.
A super-Earth exoplanet, Gliese 581d, a rocky world orbiting a red dwarf star called Gliese 581, located around 20 light years from Earth, which makes it one of our closest neighbors, has been confirmed as the first planet outside our solar system to meet key requirements for sustaining life.
It’s no accident that we see stars in the sky, says famed Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins: they are a vital part of any universe capable of generating us. But, as Dawkins emphasizes, that does not mean that stars exists in order to make us.
Canary sky – Scenes taken from Tenerife, more than 2,000 meters above sea level and over a year to capture all possible shades, clouds, stars, colors from a unique landscape and from one of the best skies on the planet.
The stars rotate around the southern celestial pole during a night at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in northern Chile. The fuzzy parts in the trails on the right are due to the Magellanic Clouds, two small galaxies neighbouring the Milky Way. image credit: Iztok Bončina/ESO
This picture of the star formation region NGC 3582 was taken using the Wide Field Imager at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The image reveals giant loops of gas ejected by dying stars that bear a striking resemblance to solar prominences.
A galaxy’s core is a busy place, crowded with stars swarming around an enormous black hole. When galaxies collide, it gets even messier as the two black holes spiral toward each other, merging to make an even bigger gravitational monster.
Astronomers have long suspected the phenomenon of two stars merging together was possible. But now, after years of searching, they have finally discovered the moment two closely orbiting stars became one.
None of the world’s experts know what exactly the strange spiral structure on the left is. Why the spiral glows is a mystery, with a leading hypothesis being illumination by light reflected from nearby stars.