Faster than a Speeding Pulsar

A pulsar known as J0002 has been clocked traveling more than 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) per second away from the place it was created in a supernova explosion. Astronomers are calling this rapidly-spinning neutron star a cannonball pulsar, as it races away from the center of the nebula which resulted from the massive explosion which created the object. This pulsar, rotating 8.7 times a second, is located 6,500 light years from Earth.

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Astronomers Spot 83 Super-massive Black Holes from Earliest Days of the Universe

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan reports finding 83 previously-unknown super-massive black holes from the early Universe. These objects, seen in the form of powerful quasars, are observed as they appeared 13 billion years ago, just as the first stars, galaxies, and black holes were forming. Nearly every galaxy we see today is thought to have a super-massive black hole at its center, including our own Milky Way.

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Solar System Much Like Ours Found Forming Around Alien Star

Astronomers found a young solar system, looking much like our own did, billions of years in the past. Located 470 light years from Earth, the star DM Tau is surrounded by a disk of dust and gas, which show two rings where planets are forming, located at roughly the same distances as the asteroid belt and Neptune in our own solar system. The star, believed to be between three and five million years old, is seen in the constellation of Taurus the Bull.

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Massive Binary Stars Found Cuddling Together in Stellar Nursery

Astronomers at The University of Leeds have found a pair of massive binary stars orbiting closer to each other than any system ever seen before. The star PDS 27, once thought to be a single star, was found to be just one member of a binary pair. The two stars orbit each other at a distance roughly equal to that between the Sun and Neptune. Roughly one-third of all stars in our galaxy are in systems containing two or more stars.

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Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Measure the Mass of the Milky Way

The mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is a question that has long puzzled astronomers and astrophysicists. Estimates ranged from between 500 billion to three trillion times the mass of our Sun. A new study looked at globular clusters, groupings of a million or so stars surrounding the Milky Way. By measuring the velocity at which they circled our galaxy, as measured by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia Telescope, astronomers determined the Milky Way has a mass around one-and-a-half trillion times as great as our Sun.

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Can Quantum Computing Unlock the Secrets of Black Holes?

Using a revolutionary new technology known as a quantum computer, researchers have developed an answer to one of the great questions in cosmology. Astrophysicists have long questioned whether information about a particle, such as its spin, is lost or retained after it crosses into the area near a black hole from which light can not escape – the event horizon. This new research shows that information like this gets lost, as it is mixed in with all the energy and matter within the event horizon of a black hole. Individual bits in ordinary digital computers can only be set as ones and zeros, while qubits utilize quantum states to store data. Once fully developed, quantum computers will be able to take problems that would take millions of years for today’s computers to solve, and answer them in days.

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The Big Mystery of the Kuiper Belt — a Lack of Small Objects

The Kuiper Belt contains few small bodies, according to a new report from the Southwest Research Institute. This collection of rocks and ice surrounds our planetary system like a massive doughnut, larger than the orbit of Neptune. Photographs taken of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, show few craters, suggesting that the Kuiper Belt, in which Pluto resides, contains few small objects, less than a mile in diameter. Researchers are uncertain why the grouping contains so few small bodies.

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The Reasons We May Soon Find Planet Nine

Since 2016, astronomers have been searching for a ninth planet some researchers believe may be hiding at the edge of our family of planets. The orbits of some trans-Neptunian objects, or TNO’s, suggest that another planet is waiting out there to be discovered. Astronomers at the University of Michigan recently released a study suggesting that such a world will likely be found, or ruled out, in the next 10 to 15 years, as new observatories come online. Pluto was once considered to be the ninth planet, by was re-designated as a dwarf planet in 2006.

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Meet SPHEREx – NASA’s Newest Mission to Explore the Early Universe, Launching in 2023

The SPHEREx space telescope will launch in 2023, NASA reports. This orbiting observatory will map 100,000 stars in our galaxy and 300,000 other galaxies over the entire sky. The telescope will record in infrared light, similar to some forms of night vision technology, The robotic mission will examine stellar birthplaces, searching for water. It will also turn its eyes to watch planets form around alien stars.

Read More Meet SPHEREx – NASA’s Newest Mission to Explore the Early Universe, Launching in 2023