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Two stars, three dimensions, and oodles of energy

19 September 2017 Astronomy Now

For decades, astronomers have known about irregular outbursts from the double star system V745 Sco, which is located about 25,000 light-years from Earth. Astronomers were caught by surprise when previous outbursts from this system were seen in 1937 and 1989. When the system erupted on February 6, 2014, however, scientists were ready to observe the event with a suite of telescopes including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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New supernova analysis reframes dark energy debate

18 September 2017 Astronomy Now

The accelerating expansion of the universe may not be real, but could just be an apparent effect, according to new research. The new study finds the fit of Type Ia supernovae to a model universe with no dark energy to be very slightly better than the fit to the standard dark energy model.

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NASA’s Hubble captures blistering pitch-black planet

17 September 2017 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has observed a planet outside our solar system that looks as black as fresh asphalt because it eats light rather than reflecting it back into space. This light-eating prowess is due to the planet’s unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere.

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Explosive birth of stars can swell galactic cores

12 September 2017 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have found that active star formation upswells galaxies, like yeast helps bread rise. Using three powerful telescopes on the ground and in orbit, they observed galaxies from 11 billion years ago and found explosive formation of stars in the cores of galaxies. This suggests that galaxies can change their own shape without interaction with other galaxies.