Snippets

Some Nearby Young Stars May Be Much Older Than Previously Thought
Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – 15:37 in Astronomy & Space

Low in the south in the summer sky shines the constellation Scorpius and the bright, red super giant star Antares. Many of the brightest stars in Scorpius, and hundreds of its fainter stars, are among the youngest stars found near Earth, and a new analysis of them may result in a rethinking of both their ages and the ages of other groups of stars. New research by astrophysicists from the University of Rochester focused on stars in the north part of the constellation, known as Upper Scorpius, which is a part of the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association, one of our best studied groups of young stars and a benchmark sample for investigating the early lives of stars and the evolution of their planet-spawning disks. The Upper Scorpius stellar group lies roughly 470 light years from Earth.

The complete article may be found at http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/1/21/some.nearby.young.stars.may.be.much.older.previously.thought

NASA’s Fermi Shows That Tycho’s Star Shines In Gamma Rays
Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 – 17:37 in Astronomy & Space

In early November 1572, observers on Earth witnessed the appearance of a “new star” in the constellation Cassiopeia, an event now recognized as the brightest naked-eye supernova in more than 400 years. It’s often called “Tycho’s supernova” after the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who gained renown for his extensive study of the object. Now, years of data collected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope reveal that the shattered star’s remains shine in high-energy gamma rays. The detection gives astronomers another clue in understanding the origin of cosmic rays, subatomic particles — mainly protons — that move through space at nearly the speed of light. Exactly where and how these particles attain such incredible energies has been a long-standing mystery because charged particles speeding through the galaxy are easily deflected by interstellar magnetic fields. This makes it impossible to track cosmic rays back to their sources.

The complete article may be found at http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/12/13/nasas.fermi.shows.tychos.star.shines.gamma.rays

Astronomers Look To Neighboring Galaxy For Star Formation Insight
Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 – 15:35 in Astronomy & Space

An international team of astronomers has mapped in detail the star-birthing regions of the nearest star-forming galaxy to our own, a step toward understanding the conditions surrounding star creation. Led by University of Illinois astronomy professor Tony Wong, the researchers published their findings in the December issue of the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a popular galaxy among astronomers both for its nearness to our Milky Way and for the spectacular view it provides, a big-picture vista impossible to capture of our own galaxy.

The complete article may be found at http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/11/30/astronomers.look.neighboring.galaxy.star.formation.insight

Strange New ‘Species’ Of Ultra-Red Galaxy Discovered
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 – 14:38 in Astronomy & Space

In the distant reaches of the universe, almost 13 billion light-years from Earth, a strange species of galaxy lay hidden. Cloaked in dust and dimmed by the intervening distance, even the Hubble Space Telescope couldn’t spy it. It took the revealing power of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to uncover not one, but four remarkably red galaxies. And while astronomers can describe the members of this new “species,” they can’t explain what makes them so ruddy. “We’ve had to go to extremes to get the models to match our observations,” said Jiasheng Huang of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Huang is lead author on the paper announcing the find, which was published online by the Astrophysical Journal.

Spitzer succeeded where Hubble failed because Spitzer is sensitive to infrared light — light so red that it lies beyond the visible part of the spectrum. The newfound galaxies are more than 60 times brighter in the infrared than they are at the reddest colors Hubble can detect.

The complete article may be found at http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/12/01/strange.new.species.ultra.red.galaxy.discovered

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