Whilst we have many remarkable images of a veritable zoo of galaxies from across the Universe, we have surprisingly little knowledge of the appearance and structure of our own galaxy.

Why is the Milky Way shaped the way it is?

Image: Messier 101. Photo by NASA, ESA, K. Kuntz (JHU), F. Bresolin (University of Hawaii), J. Trauger (Jet Propulsion Lab), J. Mould (NOAO), Y.-H. Chu (University of Illinois, Urbana), and STScI 

Supermassive Black Hole is 35,000,000 Times Larger Than the Sun

Supermassive Black Hole is 35,000,000 Times Larger Than the Sun

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This shouldn’t be possible. Researchers say they’ve detected a supermassive black hole at the center of a newly found galaxy that’s far bigger than current theories allow. (more…)

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Mysterious radio signals detected from 5.5 billion light years away

Mysterious radio signals detected from 5.5 billion light years away

LONDON: Mysterious radio signals coming from an unknown source 5.5 billion light years away have been observed live for the first time. The fast radio bursts last just a few milliseconds, and just seven of these bright flashes have been discovered before – the first was found in 2007. All were found retroactively by looking through old data from the Parkes radio telescope in eastern Australia and…

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Red Stars and Big Bulges: How Black Holes Shape Galaxies

Red Stars and Big Bulges: How Black Holes Shape Galaxies

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Images of a small fraction of the galaxies analyzed in the new study. The galaxies are ordered by total mass of stars (rising from bottom to top) and by ‘bulge to total stellar mass ratio’ (rising from left to right). Galaxies that appear redder have high values for both of these measurements, meaning that the mass of the bulge — and central black hole — determines their color. (Credit: A. Bluck)

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Astronomers Discovery a Graveyard for Comets

Astronomers Discovery a Graveyard for Comets

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A team of astronomers from the University of Anitoquia, Medellin, Colombia, have discovered a graveyard of comets. The researchers, led by Anitoquia astronomer Prof. Ignacio Ferrin, describe how some of these objects, inactive for millions of years, have returned to life leading them to name the…

A team of astronomers from…

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“The General Assembly declares 4 to 10 October World Space Week to celebrate each year at the international level the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.”
– UN General Assembly resolution, 6 December 1999.

The theme for this year’s World Space Week is “Space: Guiding your Way,” so we’ve selected some of our best articles about space from the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society to help you learn more. Read below for more on Saturn’s rings, Pluto’s region, and Barbarians in the asteroid family.

Image: Starburst in NGC 4449 (captured by the Hubble Space Telescope) by NASA, ESA, A. Aloisi (STScI/ESA), and The Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Ultramassive Black Holes (NASA, Chandra, 12/18/12) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr.

Nearby Satellite Galaxies don’t fit Standard Model: Structure, Behavior better explained By Galaxy Collisions

Nearby Satellite Galaxies don’t fit Standard Model: Structure, Behavior better explained By Galaxy Collisions

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An optical image of the “Tadpole” galaxy, an interacting galaxy, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Material stripped from the galaxy during its collision with a smaller galaxy (seen in the upper left corner of the larger interaction partner) forms a long tidal tail. Young blue stars, star clusters and tidal dwarf galaxies are born in these tidal debris. These objects move in a common direction…

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South Africa's New Radio Telescope Reveals Giant Outbursts from Binary Star System

South Africa’s New Radio Telescope Reveals Giant Outbursts from Binary Star System

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An international team of astronomers have reported the first scientific results from the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT-7) in South Africa, the pathfinder radio telescope for the $3 billion global Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.
The results appear in the latest issue of the…

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The Zooniverse is home to the largest, most popular, and most successful citizen science projects, developed by the Citizen Science Alliance, so that everyone can be part of real research online. 

Now in its 8th year and going from strength to strength, Zooniverse is important not only because of its incredible popularity, but also because of its range of unique scientific results. 

Each project is inspired by a science team who provide the initial ideas, the reassurance that the efforts make a real contribution, and an audience who will benefit from the end result. A whole array of papers from Zooniverse projects have been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, including many from Galaxy Zoo, and are freely available online.

Image: Official Zooniverse avatar for Planet Hunters. By Grant Miller for the Zooniverse. CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Meteorito ruso de Cheliábinsk sería parte de un grupo de asteroides que amenazan a la Tierra


Según un estudio reciente el meteorito que estremeció la ciudad rusa de Cheliábinsk en febrero de este año pudo ser un fragmento de un asteroide que fue detectado hace dos años y que…

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Mysteries of a Nearby Planetary System’s Dynamics now are solved

Mysteries of a Nearby Planetary System’s Dynamics now are solved

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An illustration of the orbital distances and relative sizes of the four innermost planets known to orbit the star 55 Cancri A (bottom) in comparison with planets in own inner solar system (top). Both Jupiter and the Jupiter-mass planet 55 Cancri “d” are outside this picture, orbiting their host star with a distance of nearly 5 astronomical units (AU), where one AU is equal to the average distance…

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One trillion kilometers apart: A lonely planet and its distant star

A team of astronomers in the UK, USA and Australia have found a planet, until now thought to be a free floating or lonely planet, in a huge orbit around its star. Incredibly the object, designated as 2MASS J2126, is about 1 trillion (1 million million) kilometers from the star, or about 7000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. The researchers report the discovery in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In the last five years a number of free floating planets have been found. These are gas giant worlds like Jupiter that lack the mass for the nuclear reactions that make stars shine, so cool and fade over time. Measuring the temperatures of these objects is relatively straightforward, but it depends on both mass and age. This means astronomers need to find out how old they are, before they can find out if they are lightweight enough to be planets or if they are heavier ‘failed stars’ known as brown dwarfs.

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Black hole's twin jets shine bright, somehow - BBC News
Astronomers capture images of two vast, bright jets of material, fired into space in opposite directions by a distant black hole.

The observations confirm the existence of a second jet, blasting in the opposite direction.

The study uses this galaxy, Pictor A, to test ideas about what makes jets like these emit very bright X-rays.

It appears in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

To make their observations, the team combined 15 years of X-ray data, from Nasa’s Chandra space telescope, with images taken in radio wavelengths by the Australia Telescope Compact Array.

Chandra has been in orbit since 1999 - and interest in Pictor A was sparked right back at the beginning of its mission, according to Martin Hardcastle from the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

“The early images from Chandra showed there was this very bright jet,” Prof Hardcastle, the study’s lead author, told the BBC.

“At that stage we didn’t really understand it, because the data were good enough to make an image of the jet, but not to do this kind of detailed analysis.”

The new images have five or six times the resolution of our previous best views of Pictor A, he added, meaning that new features can be detected and the physics of the jet probed in detail.

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Largest ever solar system discovered: Planet 2MASS J2126-8140 orbits a star 1 trillion km away from it

The largest solar system ever recorded has been found, say astronomers. Scientists were studying a planet that they thought was just aimlessly wandering through space, but they discovered it is actually orbiting a host star roughly one trillion kilometres away from it.

The planet that the scientists were researching – known as 2MASS J2126-8140 – was first believed to not have a parent star, but scientists were surprised when they found it was orbiting a red dwarf star, which has been called TYC 9486-927-1. The distance between the planet and the star is 7,000 times longer than the Earth and the Sun, report the astronomers in the Monthly Notices of The Royal Astronomical Society.

The gap between the planet and star is so big that one full orbit takes the equivalent of almost a million years. That means that on average, one UK family would go through nearly 13,000 generations before 2MASS J2126-8140 completes a full orbit of TYC 9486-927-1.

The new solar system is almost three times larger than the previously known biggest distance between a planet and a host star.

Simon Murphy of the Australian National University said: “We were very surprised to find such a low-mass object so far from its parent star.”

The astronomers that discovered this solar system are from a group of international scientists that are studying young stars and brown dwarfs close to our own solar system. 2MASS J2126-8140, a gas giant roughly 15 times bigger than Jupiter, the biggest planet in our own solar system, was just one of thousands of young planets being studied.

It was soon discovered that both the lone planet, and its subsequent host star, were around the same distance away from Earth – about 100 million light years, or almost 6 octillion miles (this number carries 27 0’s). They then measured both of their movements, and the link was soon confirmed.

“We can speculate they formed 10 million to 45 million years ago from a filament of gas that pushed them together in the same direction,” said Murphy. “They must not have lived their lives in a very dense environment. They are so tenuously bound together that any nearby star would have disrupted their orbit completely.”

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