Monthly Archives: October 2014
As galaxies mature, they stop forming stars — but why? Now astronomers are hot on the trail of finding the culprit. By now we know that the vast majority of galaxies have supermassive black holes in their cores. These galactic behemoths generate some energetic phenomena, especially when matter falls onto their accretion disks and event horizons.
The sun lies at the heart of the solar system, where it is by far the largest object. It holds 99.8 percent of the solar system’s mass and is roughly 109 times the diameter of the Earth — about one million Earths could fit inside the sun.
If you could travel back in time five centuries, you’d encounter a thriving Aztec empire in Central Mexico, a freshly painted “Mona Lisa” in Renaissance Europe and cooler temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere.
This was a world in the midst of the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1300 to 1850) and a period of vast European exploration now known as the Age of Discovery.
Astronomers are moonstruck! The man in the moon, we learned just last week, formed from dark flowing lava over three billion years ago, instead of a long supposed giant asteroid impact. Now, we learn that same volcanism may have kept on erupting until surprisingly recent times.
Is there life elsewhere in the universe? It’s becoming increasingly likely that life must exist somewhere out there, but theories on aliens closer to home have ranged from misguided to idiotic.
Using a century-old technique to probe the borders of our galaxy, a team of Australian astronomers has estimated the amount of dark matter in the Milky Way. Intriguingly, according to their new calculations, there could be half as much of this poorly understood substance in our galaxy as once thought.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun and is the largest of the terrestrial planets. Unlike the other planets in the solar system that are named after classic deities the Earth’s name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word erda which means ground or soil.
We’ve got about 4 billion years before the Milky Way galaxy is no more. We’re on a collision course with our nearest neighbor, Andromeda, and now—thanks to researchers with the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research—we have an updated idea what that galatic crash might look like.
A certain black hole is more insatiable than expected. The P13 is a black hole along the outer edge of the NGC7793 galaxy located around 12 million light years away from the Earth. It’s very luminous compared to others of its kind but as it turns out, this has nothing to do with the black hole’s size.
A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars and stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust. Examples of galaxies range from dwarfs with as few as ten million stars to giants with a hundred trillion stars, each orbiting their galaxy’s own center of mass. So, here are 25 interesting facts about galaxies.
If you were a movie producer and somebody pitched a film about a tentacled alien that could shape-shift, become invisible, and shoot a blinding cloud of chemicals at its enemies, you’d just sigh and say “No, that’s an octopus.”