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Record-breaking extragalactic gamma-ray binary found

30 September 2016 Astronomy Now

Using data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other facilities, an international team has found the first gamma-ray binary in another galaxy and the most luminous one ever seen. The dual-star system, dubbed LMC P3, contains a massive star and a crushed stellar core that interact to produce a cyclic flood of gamma rays.

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Gamma-ray space telescope poised to pin down gravitational wave sources

19 April 2016 Astronomy Now

On 14 September 2015, gravitational waves produced by a pair of merging black holes gently rattled space-time in the vicinity of Earth. Less than half a second later, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope picked up a brief, weak burst of high-energy light consistent with the same part of the sky. Analysis of this burst suggests that the events are connected.

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Chandra finds a remarkable galactic ribbon unfurled

25 December 2015 Astronomy Now

An extraordinary ribbon of hot gas trailing behind a galaxy like a tail has been discovered using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This ribbon, or X-ray tail, is likely due to gas stripped from the galaxy as it moves through a vast cloud of hot intergalactic gas. With a length of at least 250,000 light-years, it is likely the largest such tail ever detected.

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What spawned the Jellyfish Nebula?

11 December 2015 Astronomy Now

The Jellyfish Nebula, also known by its official name IC 443, is the remnant of a supernova lying 5,000 light-years from Earth. New observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory show that the explosion that created the Jellyfish Nebula may have also formed a peculiar object located on the southern edge of the remnant.

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Black hole Markarian 335 has major flare

28 October 2015 Astronomy Now

The baffling and strange behaviours of black holes have become somewhat less mysterious recently, with new observations from NASA’s Explorer missions Swift and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. The two space telescopes caught a supermassive black hole known as Mrk 335 in the midst of a giant eruption of X-ray light.

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NASA picks candidates for new space telescope

4 August 2015 Stephen Clark

NASA has selected three finalists for a new Explorer-class astrophysics satellite mission scheduled to launch by the end of 2020, and two of the proposals aim to fulfill similar goals to an X-ray telescope shelved after cost overruns in 2012.