It is believed that the black hole at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy, Sagittarius A, is 4 million solar masses. This is the the most massive object in our galaxy. Even so, it is dwarfed in comparison with the black hole located at the center of NGC 4889, a galaxy 308 million light-years away at the center of the Coma Cluster. This elliptical galaxy is one of the brightest and largest galaxies in the Coma Cluster, and even though it doesn’t display much activity, it contains a black hole with a mass 21 billion times that of our Sun.
Supernovae are some of the brightest events that happen in space. However, in recent decades scientists have discovered a rare new class of blasts known as superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), or “hypernovae” to some. The new discovery was spotted last June by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN). At its peak, the new supernova known as ASAS-SN-15lh outshone our entire Milky Way galaxy by 50 times.
There is a star so close to its parent star that its heated atmosphere is expanding away into space. Some astronomers studying this distant planetary system now believe they have detected water vapor among the gases being liberated. Planet HD 209458b may be evaporating.
For the past several days there has been a lot of talk about this mysterious star located some 1,480 light-years away called KIC 8462852, located in the constellation Cygnus . This star appears to be flickering at irregular intervals. Some have gone so far as to hypothesize that the dimming is a sign of an advanced alien presence, suggesting the possible presence of advanced satellite orbits or a Dyson sphere. This has been a hot news story in the reaches of astronomy. But I waited to post anything about it, choosing not to jump on the train of speculation until further news came in.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has unveiled the stunning details of the Veil Nebula, the expanding remains of a massive star that exploded about 8,000 years ago.
According to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission, a global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Satrun’s geologically active moon, Enceladus.
On Tuesday, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking presented his new theories on black holes to a gathering of esteemed scientists and members of the media at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Hawking focused on something called the information paradox, an aspect of black holes that has been puzzling scientists for years. Basically, the paradox involves the fact that information about the star that formed a black hole seems to be lost inside it, presumably disappearing when the black hole inevitably disappears. However, according to how the universe works and what physicists believe, these things cannot be lost. But where does the information go when the black hole that’s absorbed goes down the drain?
The majority of exo-planets discovered are called “Super Jupiters.” They’re the most discovered because their great size contributes to the slight tug, or wobble, of the star they orbit–much like an Olympic athlete when competing in the hammer throw. And in this orbit, they’ll annually pass in front of their star, dimming the starlight output from our relative view, alerting us to its presence–like a bug flying in front of a lightbulb. Unlike most “Super-Jupiters,” which have the characteristics of very cool stars, 51 Eridani b is much more like a gas giant planet. It orbits its star about 13 times the diameter of Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The 51 Eridani system lies about 100 light years away.
We’ve been searching the stars and scanning the heavens for many years, trying to find another solar system that might be able to harbor life like our own. And through the years we’ve edged very close to finding similar planets to our home planet of Earth. Well, on July 23rd of this year, the Kepler Mission announced that it has discovered the closest thing to an Earth 2.0. It is Kepler 452b and it’s only 1,400 light-years away. Here’s the who, what, when, where and how of this new discovery.