Astronomers have measured differential rotation in 13 Sun-like stars where equatorial zones rotate faster than higher latitudes, a phenomenon thought to play a major role in the generation of sunspots and magnetic fields.
For the first time, astronomers have observed dust being sucked directly into a supermassive black hole, evidence of “chaotic accretion” that may have helped supermassive holes rapidly gain mass in the early universe.
Engineers are troubleshooting a data transmission glitch aboard the Curiosity Mars rover that has interrupted science operations. They are studying real-time telemetry, which is not affected, to diagnose the problem.
Beams from rotating neutron stars – pulsars – are normally seen in X-rays, gamma rays and radio waves. The Hubble Space Telescope has now seen unusual infrared emissions, possibly from “pulsar winds” or surrounding dust.
The Phoenix dwarf galaxy defies easy classification, without enough mass to form new stars but. But gas ejected from supernova blasts indicates star formation in the recent past with the possibility of more int the future.
An automated telescope has found a super-Earth orbiting the star 40 Eridani A, famous to Star Trek fans as Science Officer Spock’s home star. It is twice the size of Earth and completes an orbit every 42 days.
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite’s four cameras have captured a razor-sharp “first light” image of the southern sky, demonstrating the photographic prowess needed to hunt down planets around nearby stars.
Extended oval storms known as “brown barges” are occasionally seen in Jupiter’s North and South Equatorial Belts, but they tend to blend into the surrounding area and are difficult to spot. NASA’s Juno spacecraft recently captured a clear view of a brown barge in the southern belt.
By measuring a star’s age and chemical makeup, astronomers can determine where a sun originated in the galactic disk before migrating outward. The Sun, it turns out, likely formed about 2,000 light years closer to the Milky Way’s core.