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Chandra X-ray Observatory finds evidence for violent stellar merger

16 July 2016 Astronomy Now

Gamma-ray bursts, or GRBs, are some of the most violent and energetic events in the universe. Although these events are the most luminous explosions astronomers can observe, a new study using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA’s Swift satellite and other Earth-based telescopes suggests that scientists may be missing a majority of these powerful cosmic detonations.

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Hubble catches views of a jet rotating with Comet 252P/LINEAR

13 May 2016 Astronomy Now

A sequence of images taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows rotation of Comet 252P/LINEAR on 4 April 2016, roughly two weeks after the icy visitor came within 3.3 million miles of Earth, or about 14 times the distance between our planet and the Moon. These observations also represent the closest celestial object Hubble has observed, other than the Moon.

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Glow from the Big Bang allows discovery of distant black hole jet

17 February 2016 Astronomy Now

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.

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Blast from black hole in distant Pictor A galaxy

2 February 2016 Astronomy Now

By combining X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory over a 15-year period with radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array, astronomers have a better understanding of the active galaxy Pictor A, the supermassive black hole at its core and the enormous jet of particles it generates travelling at nearly the speed of light into intergalactic space.

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High-speed flare observed from supermassive black hole eating star

26 November 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astrophysicists has for the first time witnessed a black hole swallowing a star and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light. The scientists tracked the Sun-sized star in the galaxy PGC 43234 some 300 million light-years away as it shifted from its customary path, slipped into the gravitational pull of the supermassive black hole and was sucked in.