When Two Supermassive Black Holes Merge, It’s a Galactic Train Wreck

Most large galaxies harbor central supermassive black holes with masses equivalent to millions, or even billions, of Suns. Some, like the one in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, lie quiet. Others, known as quasars, chow down on so much gas they outshine their host galaxies and are even visible across the Universe. Although […]

New 3-D-Printed Models of Eta Carinae Reveal Hidden Features

In the constellation of Carina, lies the most luminous and mysterious star system within 10,000 light-years. The two massive stars, better known as Eta Carinae, erupted twice in the 19th Century for reasons astronomers still don’t understand, and are now approaching the point where one might soon detonate as a supernova. Astronomers from the 225th […]

Prying Planets Out of The Shadows: The Gemini Planet Imager’s First Year of Light

This year marks the 20th anniversary of 51 Peg b, the first exoplanet detected around a Sun-like star. And although the number of sheer detections in the years since have been remarkable, it’s also remarkable how little we still know about these alien worlds, save for their distances from their host stars, their radii, and […]

Exciting Exoplanet News from AAS: How Rocky Worlds are Made; Oceans on Super-Earths

Astronomers from around the world gathered in Seattle today for the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Although it’s just past noon on the West Coast, the discoveries are already beginning to unfurl. Here are some of the highlights from this morning’s exoplanet session. And the keyword seems to be “water.” (…)Read the rest […]

What’s Next for the Large Hadron Collider?

The world’s most powerful particle collider is waking up from a well-earned rest. After roughly two years of heavy maintenance, scientists have nearly doubled the power of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in preparation for its next run. Now, it’s being cooled to just 1.9 degrees above absolute zero. “We have unfinished business with understanding […]

Pluto-like Objects Turn to Dust Around a Nearby Young Star

A planetary system’s early days readily tell of turmoil. Giant planets are swept from distant birthplaces into sizzling orbits close to their host star. Others are blasted away from their star into the darkness of space. And smaller bodies, like asteroids and comets, are being traded around constantly. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array […]

Chaotic Wombs May Birth Wrong-way Planets

We’ve heard it time and time again. When it comes to new exoplanet findings, our conventional wisdom never holds. So the surprise that a batch of extrasolar planets are moving retrograde, orbiting in directions opposite to the way their stars are spinning, shouldn’t come as a surprise. Then again, maybe it should. These discoveries turned […]