Topic: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Washington, D.C. – In the vast garden of the universe, the heaviest black holes grew from seeds states NASA. Nourished by the gas and dust they consumed, or by merging with other dense objects, these seeds grew in size and heft to form the centers of galaxies, such as our own Milky Way.
But unlike in the realm of plants, the seeds of giant black holes must have been black holes, too. And no one has ever found these seeds – yet.
Huntsville, AL – Evidence that pairs of stars have been kicked out of their host galaxies has been found by scientists. This discovery, made using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, is one of the clearest examples of stellar pairs being expelled from their galactic base.
Astronomers use the term “binary” system to refer to pairs of stars orbiting around each other. These stellar pairs can consist of combinations of stars like our Sun, or more exotic and denser varieties such as neutron stars or even black holes.
Washington, D.C. – 1. Why Asteroids Impact Earth: Why do asteroids and meteoroids collide with Earth?
NASA says these objects orbit the Sun just like the planets, as they have been doing for billions of years, but small effects such as gravitational nudges from the planets can jostle the orbits, making them gradually shift over million-year timescales or abruptly reposition if there is a close planetary encounter.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory study shows Black Holes stop Star Formation in “Red Nugget” Galaxies
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, AL – About a decade ago, astronomers discovered a population of small, but massive galaxies called “red nuggets.” A new study using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that black holes have squelched star formation in these galaxies and may have used some of the untapped stellar fuel to grow to unusually massive proportions.
Red nuggets were first discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope at great distances from Earth, corresponding to times only about three or four billion years after the Big Bang. They are relics of the first massive galaxies that formed within only one billion years after the Big Bang.
Written by Molly Porter
Huntsville, AL – Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover a jet from a very distant supermassive black hole being illuminated by the oldest light in the Universe. This discovery shows that black holes with powerful jets may be more common than previously thought in the first few billion years after the Big Bang.
The light detected from this jet was emitted when the Universe was only 2.7 billion years old, a fifth of its present age. At this point, the intensity of the cosmic microwave background radiation, or CMB, left over from the Big Bang was much greater than it is today.
Huntsville, AL – A fast-moving pulsar escaping from a supernova remnant while spewing out a record-breaking jet – the longest of any object in the Milky Way galaxy — of high-energy particles was seen by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The pulsar, a type of neutron star, is known as IGR J11014-6103. IGR J11014-6103’s peculiar behavior can likely be traced back to its birth in the collapse and subsequent explosion of a massive star.
Written by Karen C. Fox
Greenbelt, MD – NASA’s next Small Explorer (SMEX) mission to study the little-understood lower levels of the sun’s atmosphere has been fully integrated and final testing is underway.
Scheduled to launch in April 2013, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) will make use of high-resolution images, data and advanced computer models to unravel how matter, light, and energy move from the sun’s 6,000 K (10,240 F / 5,727 C) surface to its million K (1.8 million F / 999,700 C) outer atmosphere, the corona.
Such movement ultimately heats the sun’s atmosphere to temperatures much hotter than the surface, and also powers solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can have societal and economic impacts on Earth.
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