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Herschel Space Observatory Reveals Milky Way’s Warm Heart

What heats gas near supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies? Astronomers have looked at the centre of our Galaxy, the Milky Way,...

Milky Way’s black hole grazing on asteroids

The giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way may be vaporizing and devouring asteroids, which could explain the frequent flares observed,...

Taking the pulse of a black hole system

Using two NASA X-ray satellites, astronomers have discovered what drives the "heartbeats" seen in the light from an unusual black hole system. These results give new insight into the ways that black holes can regulate their intake and severely...

Planck unveils wonders of the Universe

The first scientific results from Europe's Planck spacecraft featuring the coldest objects in the Universe have today been released. Astronomers at The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory played a key role in the worldwide teams se...

Planck space observatory releases first data

The first scientific results from Europe's Planck spacecraft were released at a press briefing today in Paris. The findings, focusing on the coldest objects in the Universe - both within our galaxy and also out to the most distant reaches of space -...

Space telescopes reveal previously unknown brilliant X-ray explosion in our Milky...

Astronomers in Japan, using an X-ray detector on the International Space Station, and at Penn State University, using NASA's Swift space observatory, are announcing the discovery of an object newly emitting X-rays, which previously had been hidd...

Surprising changes at solar boundary

When NASA launched the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) on October 19, 2008, space physicists held their collective breath for never-before-seen views of a collision...

Milky Way Sidelined in Galactic Tug of War

The Magellanic Stream is an arc of hydrogen gas spanning more than 100 degrees of the sky as it trails behind the...

Case for Massive Black Hole Strengthened

UCLA astronomer Andrea Ghez announced more than four years ago that a monstrous black hole resides at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, 24,000 light years away, with a mass more than 2 million times that of our sun. Some astronomers greeted the announcement with skepticism, and proposed exotic forms of matter as alternatives. At the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting Feb. 16 in Denver, Ghez reported that the case for the black hole has been strengthened substantially, and that all of the proposed alternatives can be excluded.

Astronomers Trace Microquasar’s Path Back in Time

Astronomers have traced the orbit through our Milky Way Galaxy of a voracious neutron star and a companion star it is cannibalizing, and conclude that the pair joined more than 30 million years ago and probably were catapulted out of a cluster of stars far from the Galaxy's center. The pair of stars, called Scorpius X-1, form a "microquasar," in which material sucked from the "normal" star forms a rapidly-rotating disk around the superdense neutron star. The disk becomes so hot it emits X-rays, and also spits out "jets" of subatomic particles at nearly the speed of light.

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