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ALMA reveals secrets of the most luminous known galaxy

15 January 2016 Astronomy Now

The most luminous galaxy known in the universe — the quasar W2246-0526, seen when the universe was less than 10 percent of its current age — is so turbulent that it is in the process of ejecting its entire supply of star-forming gas, according to new observations with the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA).

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Runaway stars leave infrared waves in space

6 January 2016 Astronomy Now

Astronomers are finding dozens of massive, so-called ‘runaway stars’ in our galaxy with the help of images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. When these speedy, massive stars plow through space, they can cause material to stack up in front of them, creating dramatic arc-shaped features called bow shocks.

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Tracking a mysterious group of asteroid outcasts

4 August 2015 Astronomy Now

High above the plane of our solar system, near the asteroid-rich abyss between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, scientists have found a unique family of space rocks. These interplanetary oddballs are the Euphrosyne (pronounced ew-FROZ-i-nee) asteroids, and by any measure they have been distant, dark and mysterious — until now.

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Charting the Milky Way from the inside out

7 June 2015 Astronomy Now

The Sun’s location within the Milky Way’s dust-obscured disc is a complicating factor when trying to determine the Galaxy’s four-arm spiral structure, but researchers are obtaining a clearer picture by mapping embedded star clusters using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

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WISE discovery of the most luminous galaxy in the universe

22 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns has been discovered using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). It is the most luminous galaxy found to date and belongs to a new class of objects — extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs.

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A cold cosmic mystery solved

20 April 2015 Astronomy Now

Since its discovery over a decade ago on a map of the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang, astronomers have puzzled over the so-called Cold Spot — possibly the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity. Now, a team led by researchers from the University of Hawaii may have found an explanation for its existence.