Streaming jets of high-speed matter produce some of the stunning objects seen in space. Astronomers have seen them shooting out of young stars just being formed, X-ray binary stars and supermassive black holes at the centers of large galaxies. Theoretical explanations for what causes those beam-like jets have been around for years, but now an experiment by French and American researchers using extremely high-powered lasers offers experimental verification of one proposed mechanism for creating them.
A 'brown dwarf' star that appears to be the coldest of its kind has been discovered by a Penn State University astronomer using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Images from the space telescopes also pinpointed the object's distance at 7.2 light-years away, making it the fourth closest system to our Sun.
Although more than 1,000 exoplanets have been discovered since the first one was found in 1995, only a handful of those are thought to be habitable, at least by life as we know it. New research shows that exomoons, too, could provide habitable environments.
A team of researchers has announced the discovery of a galaxy that magnified a background, Type Ia supernova thirty-fold through gravitational lensing. This first example of strong gravitational lensing of a supernova confirms the team's previous explanation for the unusual properties of this supernova.
Recent evidence that the universe expanded from microscopic to cosmic size in a mere instant brings with it important implications. During a live Google Hangout, leading astrophysicists from the University of Chicago and Stanford University discussed what this potential 'crack in the cosmic egg' means for our understanding of the universe.
Mysteries of one of the most fascinating nearby planetary systems now have been solved. The study presents the first viable model for the planetary system orbiting one the first stars discovered to have planets.
Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.
Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the 'habitable zone' - the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.