Astronomers Get Rare Glimpse of the 'Nasty' Lifestyles of Massive Stars

Artist’s illustration of the vast disk of gas surrounding the massive and bright Wolf-Rayet star NaSt1, affectionately nicknamed ‘Nasty 1’. Observations with the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes revealed that contrary to other Wolf-Rayet stars, NaSt1 is feeding material into its companion star (shown here by the bridge of bright material connecting the two […]

Astronomers Determine Progenitors of Supernova Explosions More Varied Than Thought

Computer-generated image of a Type Ia supernova explosion. New research has provided important insights about the progenitor stars of these cataclysmic cosmic events. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Dana Berry

Type Ia supernova explosions can be considered as some of the Universe’s most spectacular and inviting attractions, signifying the death of very massive stars. With peak luminosities […]

NASA Space Telescope Sees Possible X-Ray 'Screams' From Zombie Stars

Illustration showing the central region of our galaxy as seen by NuSTAR (magenta circle). The smaller circle shows where the image was taken. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It sounds like something from a bad sci-fi movie, but a NASA space telescope has detected what might be the X-ray “screams” from dead (zombie) stars. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope […]

Two Earth-Sized Exoplanets May Exist in Closest Star System, Hubble Observations Reveal

Artist’s conception of the Alpha Centauri binary star system and the exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb. Our own Sun is also shown in the distance. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/N. Risinger

The closest star system to our own Sun may have two Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting it, a new study has shown based on observations by the […]

New Uranus-Like 'Ice Giant' Exoplanet Discovered

Artist’s conception of an ice giant type exoplanet. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

Many different kinds of exoplanets have been found by astronomers, from giant “hot Jupiters” and “super Earths” to smaller rocky worlds like Earth or Mars. Now, another type has been discovered, an “ice giant” similar to Uranus or Neptune in our […]

Astronomers Discover First Ever Terrestrial Exoplanet in Earth-Type Orbit, Around Red Dwarf Binary Star System

An artist’s rendering of the newly discovered exoplanet OGLE-2013-BLG-0341LBb (far right) orbiting one star (right) of a binary red dwarf star system, from an Earth-type distance of approximately 0.9 Astronomical Units away. Image Credit: Cheongho Han, Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea

The discovery of yet another exoplanet orbiting outside of the habitable zone […]

Kepler Phase 2: Planet-Hunting Space Telescope's New Mission Proposal Approved

Illustration of how the new K2 mission will work, using solar pressure to help stabilize the telescope. Image Credit: NASA Ames / W. Stenzel

There is some good news for planet-hunters this week: The proposed K2 mission extension for the Kepler Space Telescope has been been approved by NASA. The approval, based on a recommendation from […]

Gravity-Bending Find Leads to Kepler Meeting Einstein

This artist’s concept depicts a dense, dead star called a white dwarf crossing in front of a small, red star. The white dwarf”s gravity is so great it bends and magnifies light from the red star. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has witnessed the effects of a dead star bending the light […]

Kepler Completes Prime Mission

The Kepler Spacecraft has concluded its prime mission and will move on to conduct an additional four-year extended mission. To date, the space-based telescope has discovered 105 confirmed worlds. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler mission marked two major milestones this week as the space telescope scans the heavens for planets like our own. The […]