Astronomers to release most accurate data ever for nearly two billion stars — ScienceDaily

On 3 December an international team of astronomers will announce the most detailed ever catalogue of the stars in a huge swathe of our Milky Way galaxy. The measurements of stellar positions, movement, brightness and colours are in the third early data release from the European Space Agency’s Gaia space observatory and will be publicly available. Initial findings include the first optical measurement of the acceleration of the Solar system. The data set, and early scientific discoveries, will be presented at a special briefing hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society.

Launched in 2013, Gaia operates in an orbit around the so-called Lagrange 2 (L2) point, located 1.5 million kilometres behind the Earth in the direction away from the Sun. At L2 the gravitational forces between the Earth and Sun are balanced, so the spacecraft stays in a stable position, allowing long-term essentially unobstructed views of the sky.

The primary objective

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Astronomers spotted colliding neutron stars that may have formed a magnetar

A surprisingly bright cosmic blast might have marked the birth of a magnetar. If so, it would be the first time that astronomers have witnessed the formation of this kind of rapidly spinning, extremely magnetized stellar corpse.

That dazzling flash of light was made when two neutron stars collided and merged into one massive object, astronomers report in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal. Though the especially bright light could mean that a magnetar was produced, other explanations are possible, the researchers say.

Astrophysicist Wen-fai Fong of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues first spotted the site of the neutron star crash as a burst of gamma-ray light detected with NASA’s orbiting Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory on May 22. Follow-up observations in X-ray, visible and infrared wavelengths of light showed that the gamma rays were accompanied by a characteristic glow called a kilonova.

Kilonovas are thought to

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Astronomers discover carbon monoxide gas flowing from distant star system

Nov. 30 (UPI) — Scientists have discovered rapid outflow of carbon dioxide emanating from a star system located 400 light-years away.

Astronomers suggest this unique stage of a planetary system could offer scientists fresh insights into the birth and development of our own solar system.

The discovery is scheduled to be presented next week at the Five Years After HL Tau virtual conference. The research has also been accepted for publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The outflow of carbon dioxide was first spotted during the survey of young “class III” stars by the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array in Chile. Some of these young, low-mass stars host debris rings created by the collision of comets, asteroids and planetesimals.

Because the debris from these collisions absorb and reradiate the energy of their host star, these rings can be detected by ALMA.

Around one star, named “NO

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Indian astronomers detect companion star to V1787 Ori

Indian astronomers detect companion star to V1787 Ori
The processed NACO Ks band image of V1787 Ori and the 2 nearby stars is shown. V1787 Ori A is shown in the larger green circle. The yellow arrow is pointing towards the wide binary companion V1787 Ori B. Credit: Arun et al., 2020.

Astronomers from India have reported the finding of a companion star to an intermediate-mass Herbig Ae star known as V1787 Ori. The newly detected object turns out to be of M-type and is about 60% less massive than our sun. The discovery was detailed in a paper published November 20 on arXiv pre-print repository.

Located some 1,260 light years away, in the L1641 star-forming region of the Orion A molecular cloud, V1787 Ori (also known as Parenago 2649) is a young (less than 10 million years old) pre-main sequence (PMS) star of spectral type A5. Therefore, based on previous studies, the object has been classified as

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Astronomers Crack the Case of the Blue Ring Nebula | Smart News

About 6,200 lightyears from Earth, a mysterious star appears surrounded by a doughnut of foggy blue light. It’s an old-looking star sitting in a young star’s dust cloud, and scientists have been trying to figure out how it formed since they first spotted it in 2004. Now, a team of astronomers says they’ve cracked the case, Monica Young reports for Sky & Telescope.

In a paper published on November 18 in the journal Nature, the research team explains how a collision of two stars several thousand years ago would create the structure observed today. It’s currently the only known example of a two-star collision that’s in the middle of transitioning from its debris-strewn initial stage to the late stage when the debris would become invisible.

“It’s kind of unique—one of a kind right now,” said Carnegie Institution for Science astrophysicist Mark Seibert of the Carnegie Institution for Science at

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Astronomers’ success: Seven new cosmic masers

Astronomers' success: seven new cosmic masers
Dr Paweł Wolak at the radio telescope RT-4 in Piwnice Credit: Andrzej Roma?ski

A group of astronomers from Toruń in Poland have successfully completed a survey of the Milky Way plane. They searched for gas clouds, where there was a maser reinforcement of the OH molecule. They saw seven new sources – each of them brings scientists closer to the process by which massive stars are born. “It is like listening to the buzzing of a mosquito during a loud concert,” backstage observations are recapitulated by Prof. Anna Bartkiewicz.

The success of the Toruń-based group of astronomers is described in the prestigious Astronomy and Astrophysics. The article “A search for the OH 6035 MHz line in high-mass star-forming regions,” prepared by Prof. dr. habil. Marian Szymczak, dr. Paweł Wolak, dr. habil. Anna Bartkiewicz, NCU Prof. from the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics and doctoral students: Michał Durjasz and

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Texas astronomers revive idea for ‘Ultimately Large Telescope’ on the moon

Texas astronomers revive idea for 'Ultimately Large Telescope' on the moon
Ultimately Large Telescope. Credit: University of Texas McDonald Observatory

A group of astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin has found that a telescope idea shelved by NASA a decade ago can solve a problem that no other telescope can: It would be able to study the first stars in the universe. The team, led by NASA Hubble Fellow Anna Schauer, will publish their results in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

“Throughout the history of astronomy, telescopes have become more powerful, allowing us to probe sources from successively earlier cosmic times—ever closer to the Big Bang,” said professor and team member Volker Bromm, a theorist who has studied the first stars for decades. “The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope [JWST] will reach the time when galaxies first formed.

“But theory predicts that there was an even earlier time, when galaxies did not yet exist, but where

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In a First, Astronomers Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar Following a Glorious Kilonova | Smart News

This year, astronomers witnessed a cosmic spectacle when two neutron stars—the dense remains of collapsing stars—crashed into each other billions of lightyears away. Their gargantuan collision lit up the galaxy with a flash and gave rise to a magnetar—a supermassive star with a hyper-powerful magnetic field. Astronomers have known about magnetars, but this event marks the first time they’ve ever witnessed one being born, reports Rafi Letzer for Live Science.

Using remarkably powerful equipment, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Swift Observatory, the scientists observed a quick flash of light on May 22. The stars’ collision certainly didn’t occur that night—instead, it occurred 5.47 billion years ago, and its light had just reached Earth, according to a press release.

The team observed a quick flash of gamma radiation, the result of the stars crashing and sending space matter blasting through the galaxy to settle among the stars. Then

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Astronomers discover clues that unveil the mystery of fast radio bursts — ScienceDaily

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs — powerful, millisecond-duration radio waves coming from deep space outside the Milky Way Galaxy — have been among the most mysterious astronomical phenomena ever observed. Since FRBs were first discovered in 2007, astronomers from around the world have used radio telescopes to trace the bursts and look for clues on where they come from and how they’re produced.

UNLV astrophysicist Bing Zhang and international collaborators recently observed some of these mysterious sources, which led to a series of breakthrough discoveries reported in the journal Nature that may finally shed light into the physical mechanism of FRBs.

The first paper, for which Zhang is a corresponding author and leading theorist, was published in the Oct. 28 issue of Nature.

“There are two main questions regarding the origin of FRBs,” said Zhang, whose team made the observation using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in Guizhou,

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Astronomers surprised by asteroid trailing Mars that’s a ‘dead-ringer’ for the moon

An asteroid that follows Mars around sure looks an awful lot like parts of the moon.


Trojan asteroids share the same orbital path as certain planets, either leading ahead of the planet or trailing behind. Jupiter is famous for its many Trojans, but Mars has a few of them as well. One of these Martian companions — asteroid (101429) 1998 VF31 — could be a stunt double for our own moon.

A team led by researchers at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) in Northern Ireland took a close look at asteroid 101429’s composition and drew some fascinating connections to our lunar neighbor in a study set for the January 2021 issue of the journal Icarus and published online August 1.

The planetary scientists used the X-shooter spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory’s

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