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SPACE: A Star is Born

A Star is Born - Live Science

Astrophysicists have developed the first high-resolution 3D model of a gas cloud coalescing to form a star — and it’s mind-blowing. The “Starforge” model (which stands for “star formation in gaseous environments”) allows users to fly through a colorful cloud of gas as it pools into stars all around them. Researchers hope that the visually stunning simulation will help them to explore the many unsolved mysteries of star formation, such as: Why is the process so slow and inefficient? What determines a star’s mass? And why do stars tend to cluster together? The computational framework is able to simulate gas … Read more

SPACE: Astronomers Watch Black Hole Turn Star Into Spaghetti

spaghetti - pixabay

A black hole in a galaxy not far from Earth gobbled up a star like it was a big, exploding noodle, and astronomers got a front-row seat to the action. The “unfortunate star,” as the researchers called it in their paper, was orbiting in the dense nucleus of a galaxy with the unwieldy name 2MASX J04463790-1013349 about 214 million years ago when it found itself on a doomed path. It had wandered too close to the galaxy’s central, supermassive black hole. And that black hole stretched it out like spaghetti and swallowed it one big gulp. (Scientists literally call this … Read more

SPACE: Why A Star is Winking at Us

star - pixabay

Once or twice a day, a strange object in the Milky Way blinks at us. Now, astronomers think they know why. The object is called NGTS-7, and to most telescopes it looks like a single star. Researchers at the University of Warwick in England started watching because it seemed to be emitting flares, but on closer examination they noticed that its starlight dims briefly every 16.2 hours. When the astronomers zoomed in, they realized there are actually two similarly sized stars in the system, and that only one of them is dimming briefly in that way — suggesting that there’s … Read more

SPACE: Star Births Its Own Twin – Live Science

a star is born

A close-up look at the birth of a star has revealed a surprise: Not one new stellar body, but two. In 2017, scientists using a new array of radio telescopes in the Chilean desert were observing a massive young star named MM 1a in an active star-forming region of the galaxy more than 10,000 light-years away. As they analyzed the data, they realized that MM 1a was accompanied by a second, fainter object, which they dubbed MM 1b. This, they found, was the first star’s smaller sibling, formed from the spray of dust and gases it holds in its gravitational … Read more

SPACE: Scientists Search for Our Mother Sun

mother sun

Image Credit: NAOJ Billions of years ago, a huge star blasted open and spewed its guts into space. At that energetic moment, the so-called core-collapse supernova formed a debris cloud of brand-new atoms, forged in the heat of its blast. Time passed. The cloud contracted, attracted to itself by its own gravity. A star formed — our sun — surrounded by chunks of rock and gas that formed our planets and other orbiting bodies. Much later, we came along. That’s the basic story of our solar system’s birth. And, mostly from watching other supernovas and other star births out in … Read more

SPACE: Most Distant Star Ever Seen – 9 Billion Light-Years Away

Farthest Star

Astronomers have observed a star that’s so far away, its light took 9 billion years to reach us here on Earth — about 4.5 billion years before our solar system even existed. And while scientists have peered at even more distant galaxies, which are visible due to light from their billions of stars, this helium-burning orb, nicknamed Icarus, is the most distant ordinary individual star an Earthling has observed, according to a statement from the University of California, Berkeley. (An ordinary, or main-sequence, star is one that is still fusing hydrogen to create helium; about 90 percent of the stars … Read more

Science: We Might Get to See a Supernova!

supernova - pixabay

It could be one of the biggest astronomical events in years ― a star explosion so intense it could literally change the night sky. Astronomers are predicting that binary star system KIC 9832227, located in the Cygnus constellation, will merge and explode in a “red nova” event in 2022. And if it happens as predicted, its brightness will increase by 10,000-fold, making it one of the brightest objects in the night sky and easily visible with the naked eye, according to a Calvin College news release. “It will be a very dramatic change in the sky, as anyone can see … Read more