Dark matter is difficult for astronomers to study, but that doesn’t keep them from trying. And with skill and determination, they continue to find exciting things about the invisible stuff.Continue reading “Small Amounts of Dark Matter are Creating Much Stronger Gravitational Distortions than Anyone Expected to See”
The Hubble Space Telescope has the knack for finding every size and shape of galaxy imaginable – from small, medium to large, all the way up to that funky size of absolute units.Continue reading “NGC 2275: An Absolute Unit of Galactic Flocculence”
Meet NGC 2608, a barred spiral galaxy about 93 million light years away, in the constellation Cancer. Also called Arp 12, it’s about 62,000 light years across, smaller than the Milky Way by a fair margin. The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image with its Wide-Field Camera 3 (WFC3).Continue reading “Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 2608, Surrounded by Many Many Other Galaxies”
The Hubble Space Telescope has delivered another outstanding image. This one is of NGC 6441, a massive globular cluster in the constellation Scorpius. It’s one of the most massive ones in the Milky Way, and the stars in it have a combined mass of 1.6 million solar masses.Continue reading “Hubble Photo of Globular Cluster NGC 6441, One of the Most Massive in the Milky Way”
Astronomers don’t know exactly when the first stars formed in the Universe because they haven’t been observed yet. And now, new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest the first stars and galaxies may have formed even earlier than previously estimated.
Why? We *still* haven’t seen them, even with the best telescope we’ve got, pushed to its limits.Continue reading “Hubble Looked as Far Back in Time as it Could, and Still Couldn’t See the First Generation of Stars in the Universe”
Almost everything in the universe spins. Planets rotate on their axis, stars spin around black holes, and galaxies spin in great spiral structures. But what about the universe as a whole?Continue reading “Study of 200,000 Galaxies Reveals the Entire Universe Might Have Been Spinning in One Direction Early On”
NGC 3895 is a barred spiral galaxy in the Ursa Major constellation. It’s about 145 million light years away from our home, the Milky Way, and its diameter is about 45,000 light years. William Herschel discovered it way back in 1790.
Now the Hubble Space Telescope has given us another gorgeous image of it. Thanks Hubble!Continue reading “Barred Spiral NGC 3895 Captured by Hubble”
If we want to understand how the Universe evolves, we have to understand how its large structures form and evolve. That’s why astronomers study galaxy formation. Galaxies are enormous structures of stars, planets, gas, dust, and dark matter, and understanding how they form is critical to understanding the Universe itself.
In 2017, astronomers working with ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array) discovered an ancient galaxy. This massive rotating disk galaxy was born when the Universe was only about 1.5 billion years old. According to the most accepted understanding of how galaxies form and evolve, it shouldn’t exist.
But there it is.Continue reading “A Massive Rotating Disc Discovered in the Early Universe”
In these days of social distancing, it appears this beautiful little galaxy is leading by example, sitting all by itself in the middle of a cosmic void.
KK 246, also known as ESO 461-036, is a dwarf irregular galaxy, and ESA aptly described this picture as looking like “glitter spilled across a black velvet sheet.”
But the serene view can be deceiving.Continue reading “This Dwarf Galaxy is all by Itself”
There are all kinds of odd things in the sky. Things that defy our naming conventions, and our attempts to understand them. For instance, NGC 4618, the one-armed galaxy.Continue reading “This Galaxy Has Only One Spiral Arm”