Space Hubble Telescope News

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Intense Flash from Milky Way's Black Hole Illuminated Gas Far Outside of Our Galaxy

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About 3.5 million years ago, our distant hominid ancestors might have noticed a mysterious glowing spot along the arc of the star-studded Milky Way. Today we know that this would have been evidence for a tremendous explosion around a black hole that rocked the center of our galaxy. Scientists using Hubble now see the aftermath of that enormous flash of light that beamed out of our galaxy's center way back then. It illuminated a huge, ribbon-like tail of gas orbiting the Milky Way. Called the Magellanic Stream, this long trail lies far outside of our galaxy, at an average distance of 200,000 light-years. Like an aircraft contrail, It extends from neighboring dwarf galaxies called the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Researchers made careful ultraviolet measurements of distant quasars behind the Magellanic Stream. As the ultraviolet light from the quasars passed through the stream, Hubble recorded the telltale fingerprints of how the flash altered the gas.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

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Hubble Opens Doorway to Systematic Search for Black Holes

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Hubble Space Telescope's ongoing black hole hunt has bagged yet another supermassive black hole in the universe. The compact object - equal to the mass of two billion suns - lies at the heart of the edge-on galaxy NGC 3115, located 30 million light-years away in the constellation Sextans.

This result promises to open the way to systematic demographic studies of very massive black holes that might once have powered quasars - objects that are incredibly small, yet release a gusher of light and other radiation.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
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Hubble Opens Doorway to Systematic Search for Black Holes

low_STSCI-H-p9612a-k-1340x520.png


Hubble Space Telescope's ongoing black hole hunt has bagged yet another supermassive black hole in the universe. The compact object - equal to the mass of two billion suns - lies at the heart of the edge-on galaxy NGC 3115, located 30 million light-years away in the constellation Sextans.

This result promises to open the way to systematic demographic studies of very massive black holes that might once have powered quasars - objects that are incredibly small, yet release a gusher of light and other radiation.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
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Hubble Provides Multiple Views of How to Feed a Black Hole

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Astronomers have obtained an unprecedented look at the nearest example of galactic cannibalism – a massive black hole hidden at the center of a nearby giant galaxy that is feeding on a smaller galaxy in a spectacular collision. Such fireworks were common in the early universe, as galaxies formed and evolved, but are rare today.

The Hubble telescope offers a stunning unprecedented close-up view of a turbulent firestorm of star birth along a nearly edge-on dust disk girdling Centaurus A, the nearest active galaxy to Earth. The picture at upper left shows the entire galaxy. The blue outline represents Hubble's field of view. The larger, central picture is Hubble's close-up view of the galaxy. Brilliant clusters of young blue stars lie along the edge of the dark dust lane. Outside the rift the sky is filled with the soft hazy glow of the galaxy's much older resident population of red giant and red dwarf stars.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

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Science Release: Hubble Makes Surprising Find in the Early Universe

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New results from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest the formation of the first stars and galaxies in the early Universe took place sooner than previously thought. A European team of astronomers have found no evidence of the first generation of stars, known as Population III stars, as far back as when the Universe was just 500 million years old.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
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Hubble Provides Multiple Views of How to Feed a Black Hole

low_STSCI-H-p-9814-k1340x520.png


Astronomers have obtained an unprecedented look at the nearest example of galactic cannibalism – a massive black hole hidden at the center of a nearby giant galaxy that is feeding on a smaller galaxy in a spectacular collision. Such fireworks were common in the early universe, as galaxies formed and evolved, but are rare today.

The Hubble telescope offers a stunning unprecedented close-up view of a turbulent firestorm of star birth along a nearly edge-on dust disk girdling Centaurus A, the nearest active galaxy to Earth. The picture at upper left shows the entire galaxy. The blue outline represents Hubble's field of view. The larger, central picture is Hubble's close-up view of the galaxy. Brilliant clusters of young blue stars lie along the edge of the dark dust lane. Outside the rift the sky is filled with the soft hazy glow of the galaxy's much older resident population of red giant and red dwarf stars.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

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Joined
Jul 28, 2004
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Observatories Combine to Crack Open the Crab Nebula

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In the summer of the year 1054 AD, Chinese astronomers saw a new "guest star," that appeared six times brighter than Venus. So bright in fact, it could be seen during the daytime for several months. Halfway around the world, Native Americans made pictographs of a crescent moon with the bright star nearby that some think may also have been a record of the supernova.

This "guest star" was forgotten about until 700 years later with the advent of telescopes. Astronomers saw a tentacle-like nebula in the place of the vanished star and called it the Crab Nebula. Today we know it as the expanding gaseous remnant from a star that self-detonated as a supernova, briefly shining as brightly as 400 million suns. The explosion took place 6,500 light-years away. If the blast had instead happened 50 light-years away it would have irradiated Earth, wiping out most life forms.

In the late 1960s astronomers discovered the crushed heart of the doomed star, an ultra-dense neutron star that is a dynamo of intense magnetic field and radiation energizing the nebula. Astronomers therefore need to study the Crab Nebula across a broad range of electromagnetic radiation, from X-rays to radio waves. This composite picture from five observatories captures the complexity of this tortured-looking supernova remnant.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

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Joined
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Hubble Makes Surprising Find in the Early Universe

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In Greek mythology the first deities born from the universe's origin in "the Chaos," created a race of Titans. The powerful Titans were eventually superseded by the gods of Olympus. In modern cosmology, the stellar equivalent of the legendary Titans are so-called Population III stars, that would have been the very first stars born after the big bang. These hypothetical stars are as elusive as the Titans. Unlike the stars of today—like our Sun (that contains heavier elements, such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and iron)—the Population III stars would have been solely made out of the few primordial elements first forged in the seething crucible of the big bang. Much more massive and brighter than our Sun, they would have defiantly blazed as lords over the inky void of the newborn universe.

A team of European researchers, led by Rachana Bhatawdekar of the European Space Agency, set out to find the elusive first-generation stars by probing from about 500 million to 1 billion years after the big bang. In their quest they used observations from Hubble, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and the ground-based Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory. They used the gravitational lensing power of a massive foreground galaxy cluster (that acts as a giant magnifying lens in space) to find brightened images of far more distant background galaxies 10 to 100 times fainter than any previously observed. Unfortunately, the team found no evidence of these first-generation Population III stars in this cosmic time interval they explored. These results are nevertheless important because they show that galaxies must have formed even earlier after the big bang than previously thought.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 
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