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GRAVITY confirms predictions of general relativity

IMAGE: Centre: Sagittarius A* and its star cluster view more  Credit: © Paris Observatory / LESIA Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) sits at the centre of our galaxy, 26,000 light-years from Earth. This black hole, which has a mass 4 million times that of the sun, is surrounded by a star cluster - the S stars - which reach mind-boggling speeds when they approach the hole. General…

Solar flares disrupted radio communications during September 2017 Atlantic hurricanes

IMAGE: The Sun erupted in class X-9.3 and x-2.2 flares on Sept. 6, 2017, visible to NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet (171 angstrom wavelength) light.... view more  Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO WASHINGTON -- An unlucky coincidence of space and Earth weather in early September 2017 caused radio blackouts for hours during critical hurricane emergency response efforts, according to a new study in Space Weather, a journal…

Blue crystals in meteorites show that our sun went through the...

Our Sun's beginnings are a mystery. It burst into being 4.6 billion years ago, about 50 million years before the Earth formed. Since the Sun is older than the Earth, it's hard to find physical objects that were around in the Sun's earliest days--materials that bear chemical records of the early Sun. But in a new study in Nature Astronomy, ancient blue crystals trapped in…

The cosmic ray gun duel of Eta Carinae

An international collaboration operating NASA's NuSTAR satellite has revealed that two of the biggest stars in the galaxy are capable of creating cosmic rays. Their results were published in Nature Astronomy this month. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, hundreds of cosmic rays have pummeled through our bodies. Cosmic rays are mostly made of protons and electrons, with the smallest fraction…

Einstein’s general relativity confirmed near black hole

Obscured by thick clouds of absorbing dust, the closest supermassive black hole to the Earth lies 26 000 light years away at the centre of the Milky Way. This gravity monster, which has a mass four million times that of the Sun, is surrounded by a small group of stars orbiting at high speed. This extreme environment - the strongest gravitational field in our galaxy…

NASA sees the development of Tropical Storm Gilma

IMAGE: On July 26 at 2:25 p.m. EDT (1825 UTC) when Tropical Depression 8E was strengthening, NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead and the MODIS instrument captured a visible light image. The... view more  Credit: NASA/NRL The Eastern Pacific Ocean's Tropical Depression 8E formed on July 26 and strengthened into a tropical storm by 5 a.m. EDT on July 27. At that time the storm was renamed…

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and the curious case of the hot...

Something mysterious is going on at the Sun. In defiance of all logic, its atmosphere gets much, much hotter the farther it stretches from the Sun's blazing surface. Temperatures in the corona -- the tenuous, outermost layer of the solar atmosphere -- spike upwards of 2 million degrees Fahrenheit, while just 1,000 miles below, the underlying surface simmers at a balmy 10,000 F. How the…

UMass Amherst Astronomer heading to Chile on ‘astronomical pilgrimmage’

IMAGE: UMass Amherst observational astronomer has won a Fulbright award to support his collaborate with theoretical astrophysicist professor Jorge Cuadra at Chile's Pontificia Universidad Catolica on studies of the closest known... view more  Credit: UMass Amherst AMHERST, Mass. - Astronomer Daniel Wang at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a Fulbright Scholar award to make what he calls "an astronomical pilgrimage," to Chile, the "world…

NASA’s TESS spacecraft starts science operations

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has started its search for planets around nearby stars, officially beginning science operations on July 25, 2018. TESS is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days, once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth. The TESS Science Team will begin searching the data…

X-ray technology reveals never-before-seen matter around black hole

IMAGE: A representation of two competing black hole models: lamp-post and extended. The black dot is the black hole, blue is its accretion disk, and red is the corona. view more  Credit: Fumiya Imazato, Hiroshima University In an international collaboration between Japan and Sweden, scientists clarified how gravity affects the shape of matter near the black hole in binary system Cygnus X-1. Their findings, which were…
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