ON DECEMBER 3, humanity suddenly had information at its fingertips that people have wanted for, well, forever: the precise distances to the stars.
Scientists have spotted one of the most distant (and therefore the youngest) example of merging galaxies yet observed, according to new results. Continue reading Astronomers Peer Back 13 Billion Years and See Two Galaxies Colliding
While inspecting a known globular cluster, a team of astronomers began to notice that some of its stars didn’t seem to belong. Investigating further, they realized the anomalous stars were part of a nearby galaxy—one previously unknown to us.
Science works in mysterious ways. Continue reading Astronomers Accidentally Discover a Hidden Galaxy Right Next Door
Today, scientists announced that they’d seen evidence of a long-sought signal from the first stars. This slight change to some ambient radio waves could herald the first step in a new kind of astronomy. But maybe, just maybe, it’s also evidence of dark matter interacting with regular matter in the ancient universe. Continue reading Landmark Cosmic Observation Provides Tantalizing Hints of Dark Matter
Powerful, influential figures exert a irresistible pull, gathering an entourage around them. It’s a pattern that repeats on celestial levels. Our planet has the moon, but also a host of other artificial satellites that we’ve used to boost Earth’s follower count. The sun has planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. But neither can compare to galaxies like our Milky Way, which not only hosts hundreds of billions of stars but also has additional satellites, entire dwarf galaxies that chill in our galaxy’s neighborhood.
New research suggests our galaxy contains as many as 100 billion brown dwarfs—a type of celestial object that didn’t have quite what it takes to become a full-fledged star. The finding shows just how ubiquitous brown dwarfs really are, and how many false starts are involved in the formation of new stars.
You think our galaxy is special? Ha. Our boring pinwheel of gas and dark matter might be a nice hangout for humans. But 750 or so million light years away, there’s an elliptical galaxy, Galaxy 0402+379, whose two supermassive black holes are orbiting each other from a distance of only 24 or so light years. Their combined mass is around 15 billion times that of our Sun.