Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

First 'bone' of the Milky Way identified

(Phys.org)—Our Milky Way is a spiral galaxy—a pinwheel-shaped collection of stars, gas and dust. It has a central bar and two major spiral arms that wrap around its disk. Since we view the Milky Way from ...

dateJan 08, 2013 in Astronomy
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Shocking news about dust grains

(Phys.org)—The ubiquitous clouds of gas and dust found between stars provide the natal material for new stars and planets. These clouds are also dynamic factories that produce many complex molecules thanks ...

dateJan 07, 2013 in Astronomy
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Masers in stellar nurseries

(Phys.org)—Astronomers have come to realize that the process of star formation, once thought to consist essentially of just the simple coalescence of material by gravity, occurs in a complex series of stages. ...

dateDec 24, 2012 in Astronomy
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Making stars in early galaxies

(Phys.org)—Ten billion years ago or so, at least according to the current picture, the youthful universe began to produce an abundance of new stars. The very first ones appeared in the young cosmos after ...

dateDec 10, 2012 in Astronomy
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Interstellar dust and the sun

(Phys.org)—The space between stars is not empty. It contains copious but diffuse amounts of gas and dust; in fact about 5-10% of the total mass of our Milky Way galaxy is in interstellar gas. About 1% of ...

dateNov 12, 2012 in Astronomy
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Twists and turns in interacting galaxies

(Phys.org)—Almost thirty years ago the Infrared Astronomy Satellite, IRAS, discovered that the universe contained many fabulously luminous galaxies, some of them more than a thousand times brighter than ...

dateOct 08, 2012 in Astronomy
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Kepler's supernovae

(Phys.org)—Supernovae, the explosive deaths of massive stars, are among the most momentous events in the cosmos because they disburse into space all of the chemical elements that were produced inside their ...

dateSep 18, 2012 in Astronomy
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Planets can form in the galactic center

(Phys.org)—At first glance, the center of the Milky Way seems like a very inhospitable place to try to form a planet. Stars crowd each other as they whiz through space like cars on a rush-hour freeway. ...

dateSep 11, 2012 in Astronomy
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