Two of ESO's telescopes captured various stages in the life of a star in a single image - a cosmic ghost.
ESO PR Photo 42a/05 shows the area surrounding the stellar cluster NGC 2467, located in the southern constellation of Puppis ("The Stern"). With an age of a few million years at most, it is a very active stellar nursery, where new stars are born continuously from large clouds of dust and gas.
The image, looking like a colorful cosmic ghost or a gigantic celestial Mandrill  , contains the open clusters Haffner 18 (center) and Haffner 19 (middle right: it is located inside the smaller pink region - the lower eye of the Mandrill), as well as vast areas of ionized gas.
Astronomers have found possible proofs of stellar vampirism in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, they found that some hot, bright, and apparently young stars in the cluster present less carbon and oxygen than the majority of their sisters.
XEUS, which stands for X-ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy, aims to study the fundamental laws of the Universe. With unprecedented sensitivity to the hot, million-degree universe, XEUS will explore key areas of contemporary astrophysics: growth of supermassive black holes, cosmic feedback and galaxy evolution, evolution of large-scale structures, extreme gravity and matter under extreme conditions, the dynamical evolution of cosmic plasmas and cosmic chemistry.
Professor Martin Turner of the University of Leicester is also Chair of the XEUS International Steering committee.
Fame was fleeting for the 16-solar-mass black hole in the galaxy M33, announced on October 17 as the record holder for the heaviest black hole orbiting a star.
A new black hole, with a mass 24 to 33 times that of our Sun, is more massive than scientists have detected - or expected - for a black hole that formed from a dying star.
The newly discovered object belongs to the category of "stellar-mass" black holes. Formed in the death throes of massive stars, they are smaller than the monster black holes found in galactic cores.
A pair of galaxies, known collectively as Arp 87, is one of hundreds of interacting and merging galaxies known in our nearby Universe. Arp 87 was originally discovered and catalogued by astronomer Halton Arp in the 1970s. Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies is a compilation of astronomical photographs using the Palomar 200-inch Hale and the 48-inch Samuel Oschin telescopes.
The resolution in the Hubble image shows exquisite detail and fine structure that was not observable when Arp 87 was first discovered in the 1970’s.
Panning on the interacting galaxies Arp 87. Credit: ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L.
Stars always evolve in the universe in large groups, known as clusters. Astronomers distinguish these formations by their age and size. The question of how star clusters are created from interstellar gas clouds and why they then develop in different ways has now been answered by researchers at the Argelander Institute for Astronomy at the University of Bonn with the aid of computer simulations.
The scientists have solved – at least at a theoretical level – one of the oldest astronomical puzzles, namely the question of whether star clusters differ in their internal structure. The findings have now been published in the science journal "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society" (MNRAS 380, 1589).
Scientists from the Institute of Physics of Cantabria (IFCA) and the University of Cambridge may have discovered an example of a cosmic defect, a remnant from the Big Bang called a texture. If confirmed, their discovery, reported today in Science, will provide dramatic new insight into how the universe evolved following the Big Bang.
Textures are defects in the structure of the vacuum left over from the hot early universe. Professor Neil Turok of Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics first showed how textures form in the 1990s, highlighting that some would survive from the Big Bang and should be visible in today’s universe.
New images taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have revealed the wild side of an elliptical galaxy, nearly two billion light-years away, that previously had been considered mild-mannered.
The Hubble photos show shells of stars around a bright quasar, known as MC2 1635+119, which dominates the center of the galaxy. The presence of the shells is an indication of a titanic clash with another galaxy in the relatively recent past.
The collision, which is funneling gas into the galaxy’s center, is feeding a supermassive black hole. The accretion onto the black hole is the quasar’s energy-source.
Stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies behave in a way that suggests the galaxies are utterly dominated by dark matter, University of Michigan astronomers state.
Astronomy professor Mario Mateo and post-doctoral researcher Matthew Walker measured the velocity of 6,804 stars in seven dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way: Carina, Draco, Fornax, Leo I, Leo II, Sculptor and Sextans. They found that, contrary to what Newton's law of gravity predicts, stars in these galaxies do not move slower the farther they are from their galaxy's core.
"These galaxies show a problem right from the center," Mateo said. "The velocity doesn't get smaller. It just stays the same, which is eerie."
Stars die just like people but a spectacular new image shows how complex a star’s afterlife can be. By studying the details of an image made from a long observation by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers can better understand how some stars die and disperse elements like oxygen into the next generation of stars and planets.
At a distance of about 20,000 light years, G292.0+1.8 is one of only three supernova remnants in the Milky Way known to contain large amounts of oxygen.