New insight into the minor merger process

Galaxy mergers are violent interactions between galaxies and they are consider one of the fundamental steps in how galaxies form and evolve. Mergers occur when two (or more) galaxies collide. This interaction can radically...

Some Earths Like It Hot

Planetary systems form from the same cloud as its parent star. As the cloud contracts under the effect of gravity, the gas acquires more angular velocity. Spinning faster it flattens out into a disk...

Lunatic Hypotheses or How Quickly Theories Have To Adapt

Last week, in a matter of a few days, two studies came out that brought with them a completely different perspective on our Moon. The first one, published in Nature Geoscience, was about an alternative...

The Universe’s composition is the same everywhere

The Japanese X-ray satellite SUZAKU has looked at the distribution of gas around the Virgo cluster, a large galaxy cluster close to the Milky Way and the second brightest in X-rays. It discovered that...

Negative mass could theoretically exists in our Universe

Saoussen Mbarek and Manu Paranjape at the Université de Montréal in Canada have published a paper that details the conditions for negative mass to exist in our Universe without the need to include exotic...

Cracking the Moon

The Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms) is the largest of the lunar maria (seas) covering roughly 4 million square kilometers (about the surface area of the EU). Its wide flat basaltic surface was believed...

The first measurement of an exoplanet day.

Dutch Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope were able to measure the rotational speed of a planet outside the Solar System for the first time. Ignas Snellen and his colleagues at Leiden University in the...

Lord of the Rings distance pinpointed

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are a few ways to measure the distance of a star in our galaxy. Unfortunately when the Luminosity is unknown and it is too far away to use parallaxes method, we are stumped for ways to estimate the distance. Once in a while though we get lucky and we have events that allow us to calculate distance in other ways. Circinus X-1 is one of these events. Circinus X-1 is an x-ray binary; an x-ray binary is a system of two stars where material from one companion is accreting on the neutron star, which in turns emits x-rays.

The Very Hungry Supermassive Black Hole

We all get the munchies, but when you're a supermassive black hole (SMBH) your hunger might have dire consequences. And just like that an SMBH has outgrown its galaxy and jumped to the top of the heavyweight objects in the universe. About 12 billion light years from us, there is a galaxy called CID-947. It has a mass similar to our own Milky Way (about 1000 billion times the mass of the Sun) and it was only remarkable because it had an active galactic nucleus (AGN, i.e. an accreting SMBH).

Kepler proves that planets are as old as galaxies. So where is everybody?

The oldest exoplanetary star-system has been discovered by Kepler. The system orbiting Kepler 444 was older than the Earth today when the Sun first shone light.

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