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.

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

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.

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

Binary Stars May be Likely to Harbor Life, After All

Binary stars may be more likely to harbor life than once believed. Astronomers thought, until now, that life was unlikely to form in systems containing two or more stars. However, a new computer model developed by an undergraduate student of astronomy shows that as binary stars form in stellar nurseries, they are often passed by a third sun. Gravity from this passer-by can draw the two binary stars closer together, increasing the amount of area warm enough for liquid water to pool on planets. Water is necessary for life on Earth to exist, and planets with water are thought to be more likely to harbor life.

Read More Binary Stars May be Likely to Harbor Life, After All

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.

Read More Can Quantum Computing Unlock the Secrets of Black Holes?

Stars Fly Past Planet, Saving World from Isolation

Astronomers have long theorized that planetary systems can be affected by stars passing near solar systems. However, direct evidence of this has never been seen, until now.
Sitting 300 light years from Earth, the star HD 106906 is accompanied by a planet 11 times the size of Jupiter, orbiting the pair of binary stars 738 times further away than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Computer simulations show that roughly 12 million years ago, another pair of stars passed the system, altering the orbit of this giant world, pulling it far from its stellar companions. Had the encounter not taken place, this world would have crashed into the stars around which it orbits.

Read More Stars Fly Past Planet, Saving World from Isolation

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

Asteroid 2015 BZ509 may have joined Our Family of Planets from an Alien Solar System

An asteroid orbiting backwards around the Sun may have come from another solar system, according to astronomers in France.
Asteroid 2015 BZ509 is roughly two miles across, and orbits the Sun at roughly the same distance as Jupiter. Computer simulations suggest the object may have joined our planetary family four-and-a-half billion years ago, just as the Earth and other planets were being formed.

Read More Asteroid 2015 BZ509 may have joined Our Family of Planets from an Alien Solar System