Astronomers spot galaxy made out of mostly dark matter

Using a technique called ‘gravitational lensing’, astronomers were able to spot a dwarf galaxy, some 10 billion light years away, which they believe is made out mostly of dark matter. It is only the second ‘black dwarf’ ever found – why there are so few of them is one of the biggest questions in astronomy. Even though dark matter is

‘El Gordo’ – largest galaxy cluster ever seen, is colliding and growing

Galaxy clusters are the biggest stable structures in our Universe that we know of, typically containing 50 to 1000 galaxies. El Gordo Seven billion light years away and two million billion times heavier than our Sun lies El Gordo – which is Spanish for ‘the fat one’. Astronomers reporting at the 219th American Astronomical Society meeting said that at the

Best cosmic map of dark matter so far produced

Astronomers have created the most accurate and comprehensive map yet of the universe’s dark matter, finding it spread in a spider web around areas which would otherwise seem not interesting. It has long been theoretized that the Universe is made out of 85% dark matter, because judging only by the amount of visible matter… the whole thing should just fly

Top Astrophysicists Throng Goa (India) to Share Experiences on “Gravity and Cosmology” in VII International Conclave

Panaji (Goa-India), Dec 12, 2011: Hunt for finding the hypothetical massive elementary particle, the Higgs boson, popularly known as ‘The God Particle’. Exploring the pulls and pressures among the planets and the dark matter above. Building capacities to explore hitherto lesser known Universe to benefit humanity using science and technology tools through global collaborative efforts. This is what eminent astrophysicists

Researchers find smallest known black hole

Researchers working at the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have probably discovered what can be described as the heart beat of the smallest known black hole. This comes in less then a month after astrophysicists discovered the biggest known black hole in the Universe. An international team worked on this research, which relied on detecting X-rays coming from cosmic sources, the

Supernova observed right after its explosion

An unprecedented observation of a supernova right after its explosion has offered scientists extremely valuable insight on these cosmic explosions of biblical proportions. PTF 11kly, a type Ia supernova, was spotted in August in the Pinwheel galaxy and is one of the closest to Earth ever found – but don’t worry just yet – at some 21 million light years

Fastest spinning star found

Astronomers have found the fastest rotating star yet – a giant star located over 160.000 light years away, which spins 100 times faster than the Sun. The star, which was nicknamed VFTS 102 is quickly approaching the point where, if it will spin any faster, it will be ripped apart by its own centrifugal force. Based on their observations and

Astronomers find biggest, baddest black holes yet

Don’t get too close – you might not be able to get away. Researchers have found and measured the biggest black holes discovered so far – abyssal surfaces 10 times bigger than our Solar system – and several billion times heavier. Yes, you read that right; these unimaginable giants likely devoured billions of Sun in their existence, destroying them like

Planning to move in outer space? Saturn’s Moon, Titan, may be the best choice

At first, science fiction artists wrote about it and nobody gave it much attention, but nowadays, a lot of researchers are putting effort into this: inhabiting another planet; or in this case, a satellite. A group of astrobiologists have already began calculating, though more for the sake of it than for practical interest, which planet might be the best ones

Watch the Mars rover launch LIVE this Saturday [video stream]

On November 26, after countless delays, budget overruns and buckets of sweat, humankind’s most capable machine of landing on and traveling through the red planet will finally touch base and launch towards its ambitious destination. The Curiosity rover‘s lift off is currently scheduled for 10:02 a.m. EST, this Saturday. Also known as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the Curiosity rover will

Pluto might host a hidden ocean

Some astronomers have long believed that an ocean might lurk beneath Pluto’s ice, heated by isotopes undergoing a radioactive decay – but we’ll have to wait until 2015 to know for sure. The New Horizons spacecraft is set to visit Pluto less than four years from now, and it will map the surface of the planetoid and its moon, Charon;

Mystery of Moon’s past magnetism might be solved

The Moon still holds numerous unanswered questions, and among these, perhaps the most interesting is the one regarding its lost magnetism. Why is it that the Moon had magnetism? Now, two teams working separately seem to have found two complementary explanations. Rock magnetism It all started when the Apollo missions brought back samples of moon rocks from their lunar landing

Half of supermassive black holes are surrounded by ‘dust clouds’

Black holes are perhaps the most fascinating and staggering objects in the known Universe, and we are just now beginning to uncover their secrets. Dr. Sergei Nayakshin of the University of Leicester and his team found that doughnut-shaped dust shrouds that cover about half of supermassive black holes may very well be the result of high speed crashes between planets

Dwarf planet Eris, which led to Pluto’s demise as a planet, may bring back it’s status

Eris is a dwarf planet, observed in 2005 for the first time, whose discovery led to Pluto losing its planet status, even though a new moon was found orbiting it; recently, Eris passed in front of a planet, giving astrophysicists a clear view for the first time. Until now, the general scientific idea regarding it was pretty fuzzy; they believed

One third of the discovered gamma rays so far have unknown sources

Set it went into operation, Fermi’s Large Area Telescope has detected 1873 gamma rays out in space, of which only two thirds have had their sources traced. Typically, gamma rays are huge bursts of energy generated by the collision between two stars or by black holes, however more than 600 discovered blasts still don’t have an explanation for their origin. Several hypotheses

Gamma-ray bursts might cause mass extinction on Earth

Most of us tend to believe the Earth is a safe heaven, with little regard to outerwordly consequences. The truth is our planet, although without a doubt a true gem within our galaxy, is susceptible to a slew of events triggered from within or well beyond our solar system. A lot of them are very dangerous to life on Earth,

Europe to lead ambitious Sun mission

Europe aims for the stars: known as the Solar Orbiter will fly towards the Sun and get closer to it than any other man made object has; also, ESA will launch two other missions with the purpose of studying dark matter and dark energy. Closer to the Sun The mission was adopted today, and it will cost almost one billion

Supercomputer simulation confirms Universe formation model

Astronomers at  UC Santa Cruz have set  a new benchmark for cosmological research for decades to come maybe, after successfully simulating the forming of distant galaxies, like our very own Milky Way, under the mysterious forces of dark matter and dark energy. Named Bolshoi – for the Russian word meaning “grand” or “great” – the simulation’s results are on par with what

Sunspot 1302: big, bad, and coming our way

Every three hours throughout the day, magnetic observers located all around our planet measure the biggest magnetic change that their instruments can record during that period. All the measured values are averaged all over the world and an index is obtained (the Kp index), telling researchers how disturbed the Earth’s magnetic field is on a 9 point scale. The huge

The star that should not exist

If you look at this picture, you will probably see what can only be described as an unremarkable, even faint star. But this ancient star, in the constellation of Leo (The Lion), called SDSS J102915+172927 has astrophysicists scratching their heads, searching for new answers. A team of European astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to track down a star