Giant Cosmic Lens Reveals Secrets of Distant Galaxy

Using the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope and helped by a gigantic cosmic lens conveniently provided by nature, an international team of astronomers has discovered that a young galaxy had a central disk of gas in which hundreds of new stars were being born every year — at a time when the Universe was only a fraction of its current age.

Pulsar Bursts Coming From Beachball-Sized Structures

In a major breakthrough for understanding what one of them calls “the most exotic environment in the Universe,” a team of astronomers has discovered that powerful radio bursts in pulsars are generated by structures as small as a beach ball. “These are by far the smallest objects ever detected outside our solar system,” said Tim Hankins, leader of the research team, which studied the pulsar at the center of the Crab Nebula, more than 6,000 light-years from Earth. “The small size of these regions is inconsistent with all but one proposed theory for how the radio emission is generated,” he added.

Surprising Image Revises Understanding of Dwarf Galaxies

An intensive study of a neighboring dwarf galaxy has surprised astronomers by showing that most of its molecular gas — the raw material for new stars — is scattered among clumps in the galaxy’s outskirts, not near its center as they expected. “This tells us that the galaxies we call dwarf irregulars are even more irregular than we thought,” said Fabian Walter, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, NM. “Our new work also shows that these galaxies probably are useful ‘laboratories’ for studying how stars were formed when the Universe was young,” Walter added.

Giant Radio Jet Coming From Wrong Kind of Galaxy

Giant jets of subatomic particles moving at nearly the speed of light have been found coming from thousands of galaxies across the Universe, but always from elliptical galaxies or galaxies in the process of merging — until now. Using the combined power of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Array (VLA) and the 8-meter Gemini-South Telescope, astronomers have discovered a huge jet coming from a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way.