Pointing the Very Large Array at a famous galaxy for the first time in two decades, a team of astronomers got a big surprise, finding that a bright new object had appeared near the galaxy’s core. The object, the scientists concluded, is either a very rare type of supernova explosion or, more likely, an outburst from a second supermassive black hole closely orbiting the galaxy’s primary, central supermassive black hole.
About 250 million light-years away, there’s a neighbourhood of our universe that astronomers had considered quiet and unremarkable. But now, scientists have uncovered an enormous, bizarre galaxy possibly formed from the parts of other galaxies. Some 718,000 light-years across, UGC 1382 is more than seven times wider than the Milky Way.
Observations with the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array (VLA) have given astronomers an unprecedented look into the atmosphere of Jupiter. The scientists used the VLA to study the dynamics of Jupiter’s atmosphere from the visible cloud surfaces down to about 60 miles (100 kilometres) below the clouds.
Astronomers using an orbiting radio telescope in conjunction with four ground-based radio telescopes have achieved the highest resolution, or ability to discern fine detail, of any astronomical observation ever made. The researchers were surprised when their Earth-space system revealed a core temperature hotter than 10 trillion degrees for quasar 3C 273.
Trained volunteers are as good as professional astronomers at finding jets shooting from massive black holes and matching them to their host galaxies, research suggests. Scientists working on citizen science project Radio Galaxy Zoo developed an online tutorial to teach volunteers how to spot black holes and other objects that emit energy through radio waves.
A team of scientists in Australia and the Netherlands has discovered powerful jets blasting out of a star system known as PSR J1023+0038 that consists of a super-dense neutron star in a close orbit with another, more normal star. It was previously thought that the only objects in the universe capable of forming such powerful jets were black holes.
Brown dwarfs are relatively cool, dim objects that are too massive to be planets, yet they are too small to sustain hydrogen fusion reactions. By observing a brown dwarf 20 light-years away, researchers have found another feature that makes these so-called failed stars more like supersized planets — they host powerful aurorae near their magnetic poles.
In his second report from the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting 2015, Kulvinder Singh Chadha ponders the nature of dark matter and whether cosmic jets — jets of material from active galaxies travelling close to the speed of light — may correlate with dense regions of dark matter in the Universe.