Topic: Andromeda Galaxy
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – The Milky Way’s close neighbor, Andromeda, features a dominant source of high-energy X-ray emission, but its identity was mysterious until now. As reported in a new study, NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission has pinpointed an object responsible for this high-energy radiation.
The object, called Swift J0042.6+4112, is a possible pulsar, the dense remnant of a dead star that is highly magnetized and spinning, researchers say. This interpretation is based on its emission in high-energy X-rays, which NuSTAR is uniquely capable of measuring. The object’s spectrum is very similar to known pulsars in the Milky Way.
Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured the best high-energy X-ray view yet of a portion of our nearest large, neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. The space mission has observed 40 “X-ray binaries” — intense sources of X-rays comprised of a black hole or neutron star that feeds off a stellar companion.
The results will ultimately help researchers better understand the role of X-ray binaries in the evolution of our universe. According to astronomers, these energetic objects may play a critical role in heating the intergalactic bath of gas in which the very first galaxies formed.
Written by Rob Gutro
Greenbelt, MD – Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the immense halo of gas enveloping the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest massive galactic neighbor, is about six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than previously measured.
The dark, nearly invisible halo stretches about a million light-years from its host galaxy, halfway to our own Milky Way galaxy. This finding promises to tell astronomers more about the evolution and structure of majestic giant spirals, one of the most common types of galaxies in the universe.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD – Nearly 200,000 light-years from Earth, the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy.
Vast clouds of gas within it slowly collapse to form new stars. In turn, these light up the gas clouds in a riot of colors, visible in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Keck Telescopes help Astronomers discover unexpected pattern in the Evolution of Galaxies
Written by Francis Reddy
Greenbelt, MD – A comprehensive study of hundreds of galaxies observed by the Keck telescopes in Hawaii and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has revealed an unexpected pattern of change that extends back 8 billion years, or more than half the age of the universe.
“Astronomers thought disk galaxies in the nearby universe had settled into their present form by about 8 billion years ago, with little additional development since,” said Susan Kassin, an astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and the study’s lead researcher. “The trend we’ve observed instead shows the opposite, that galaxies were steadily changing over this time period.”
NASA’s Hubble Telescope measurements give astronomers data to predict Milky Way Galaxy collision with Andromeda Galaxy
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – NASA astronomers say they can now predict with certainty the next major cosmic event to affect our galaxy, sun, and solar system: the titanic collision of our Milky Way galaxy with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy.
The Milky Way is destined to get a major makeover during the encounter, which is predicted to happen four billion years from now. It is likely the sun will be flung into a new region of our galaxy, but our Earth and solar system are in no danger of being destroyed.
Written by Tod R. Lauer
Tucson, AZ – A new Hubble Space Telescope image centers on the 100-million-solar-mass black hole at the hub of the neighboring spiral galaxy M31, or the Andromeda galaxy, the only galaxy outside the Milky Way visible to the naked eye and the only other giant galaxy in the local group.
This is the sharpest visible-light image ever made of the nucleus of an external galaxy.
The event horizon, the closest region around the black hole where light can still escape, is too small to be seen, but it lies near the middle of a compact cluster of blue stars at the center of the image.
Written by Francis Reddy
Greenbelt, MD – Every three hours, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope scans the entire sky and deepens its portrait of the high-energy universe. Every year, the satellite’s scientists reanalyze all of the data it has collected, exploiting updated analysis methods to tease out new sources.
These relatively steady sources are in addition to the numerous transient events Fermi detects, such as gamma-ray bursts in the distant universe and flares from the sun.
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