"If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe."

— Carl Sagan

Hubblesite Newscenter

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This news collection compiles news releases and supporting materials published by the Officeof Public Outreach of the Space Telescope Science Institute, to further your knowledge of astronomy. The different news releases are organized by space telecope (Hubble, James Webb, WFIRST, etc.), and different categories (like galaxies, nebulae, planets, stars, etc.).
Updated: 2 hours 31 min ago

Hubble Finds Best Evidence for Elusive Mid-Sized Black Hole

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 1:00pm

Like detectives carefully building a case, astronomers gathered evidence and eliminated suspects until they found the best evidence yet that the death of a star, first witnessed in X-rays, could be traced back to an elusive mid-sized black hole. The result is a long-sought win for astronomy, as the mid-sized "missing link" in the black hole family has thus far thwarted detection. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to follow up on multiple X-ray observations of a suspected tidal disruption event. This is caused when a wayward star comes too close to the gravity well of a black hole and gets shredded by its tidal forces. The intense heat from stellar cannibalism betrays the black hole's presence with a burst of X-rays. Hubble resolved the source region of this X-ray flare as a star cluster outside the Milky Way galaxy. Such clusters have been considered likely places to find an intermediate-mass black hole. The discovery eliminated the possibility that the X-rays came from another type of source within the Milky Way.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Finds Best Evidence for Elusive Mid-Sized Black Hole

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 1:00pm

Like detectives carefully building a case, astronomers gathered evidence and eliminated suspects until they found the best evidence yet that the death of a star, first witnessed in X-rays, could be traced back to an elusive mid-sized black hole. The result is a long-sought win for astronomy, as the mid-sized "missing link" in the black hole family has thus far thwarted detection. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to follow up on multiple X-ray observations of a suspected tidal disruption event. This is caused when a wayward star comes too close to the gravity well of a black hole and gets shredded by its tidal forces. The intense heat from stellar cannibalism betrays the black hole's presence with a burst of X-rays. Hubble resolved the source region of this X-ray flare as a star cluster outside the Milky Way galaxy. Such clusters have been considered likely places to find an intermediate-mass black hole. The discovery eliminated the possibility that the X-rays came from another type of source within the Milky Way.

Categories: NASA

NASA Awards Prize Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2020

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:00am

NASA has selected 24 new Fellows for its prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP). The program enables outstanding postdoctoral scientists to pursue independent research in any area of NASA Astrophysics, using theory, observation, experimentation, or instrument development. Each fellowship provides the awardee up to three years of support at a university or research center of their choosing in the United States.

Categories: NASA

NASA Awards Prize Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2020

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:00am

NASA has selected 24 new Fellows for its prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP). The program enables outstanding postdoctoral scientists to pursue independent research in any area of NASA Astrophysics, using theory, observation, experimentation, or instrument development. Each fellowship provides the awardee up to three years of support at a university or research center of their choosing in the United States.

Categories: NASA

Quasar Tsunamis Rip Across Galaxies

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 1:00pm

The weather forecast for galaxies hosting monster, active black holes is blustery. Engorged by infalling material, a supermassive black hole heats so much gas that it can shine 1,000 times brighter than its host galaxy. But that’s not all.

Hubble astronomers found that the region around the black hole emits so much radiation that it pushes out material at a few percent the speed of light (a speed fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in a few minutes). This material slams into a host galaxy’s lanes of gas and dust, preventing the formation of new stars. The torrential winds are snowplowing the equivalent of hundreds of solar masses of material each year. And, the forecast is that this stormy weather will continue for at least ten million years.

Categories: NASA

Slime Mold Simulations Used to Map the Dark Matter Holding the Universe Together

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 1:00pm

A simple single-cell organism that may be growing on your lawn is helping astronomers probe the largest structures in the universe.

These organisms, called slime mold, feed on dead plant material, and they have an uncanny ability to seek out food sources. Although brainless, the organism's "genius" at creating efficient networks to reach their food goal has caught the attention of scientists. Researchers have recreated the slime mold's behavior in computer algorithms to help solve large-scale engineering problems such as finding the most efficient traffic routes in large cities, solving mazes, and pinpointing crowd evacuation routes.

A team of astronomers has now turned to slime mold to help them trace the universe's large-scale network of filaments. Built by gravity, these vast cobweb structures, called the cosmic web, tie galaxies and clusters of galaxies together along faint bridges of gas and dark matter hundreds of millions of light-years long.

To trace the filaments, the research team designed a computer algorithm informed by slime-mold behavior. The team seeded the algorithm with the charted positions of 37,000 galaxies and ran it to generate a filamentary map. The astronomers then used archival observations from the Hubble Space Telescope to detect and study the faint gas permeating the web at the predicted locations.

Categories: NASA

Slime Mold Simulations Used to Map the Dark Matter Holding the Universe Together

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 1:00pm

A simple single-cell organism that may be growing on your lawn is helping astronomers probe the largest structures in the universe.

These organisms, called slime mold, feed on dead plant material, and they have an uncanny ability to seek out food sources. Although brainless, the organism's "genius" at creating efficient networks to reach their food goal has caught the attention of scientists. Researchers have recreated the slime mold's behavior in computer algorithms to help solve large-scale engineering problems such as finding the most efficient traffic routes in large cities, solving mazes, and pinpointing crowd evacuation routes.

A team of astronomers has now turned to slime mold to help them trace the universe's large-scale network of filaments. Built by gravity, these vast cobweb structures, called the cosmic web, tie galaxies and clusters of galaxies together along faint bridges of gas and dark matter hundreds of millions of light-years long.

To trace the filaments, the research team designed a computer algorithm informed by slime-mold behavior. The team seeded the algorithm with the charted positions of 37,000 galaxies and ran it to generate a filamentary map. The astronomers then used archival observations from the Hubble Space Telescope to detect and study the faint gas permeating the web at the predicted locations.

Categories: NASA