Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

All about dust

(Phys.org)—The space between stars is not empty—it contains copious amounts of gas and dust. Astronomers estimate that about 5-10% of the total mass of our Milky Way galaxy is contained in the interstellar ...

Aug 28, 2012
5 / 5 (3) 3

A super cluster of galaxies

(Phys.org)—Most galaxies lie in clusters, groupings of several to many thousands of galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy itself is a member of the "Local Group," a band of about fifty galaxies whose other large ...

Aug 28, 2012
5 / 5 (7) 22

Recreating a slice of the universe

(Phys.org) -- Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and their colleagues at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) have invented a new computational approach ...

Aug 15, 2012
5 / 5 (12) 8

The cosmic infrared background

(Phys.org) -- The cosmic infrared background is the collective infrared radiation emitted by cosmic sources throughout the history of the universe, including sources inaccessible to current telescopes. The ...

Aug 13, 2012
3.3 / 5 (9) 7

Hidden galactic nuclei

(Phys.org) -- At the core of most galaxies including our own Milky Way is a massive black hole. Material falling into the environment of the black hole heats up, and can radiate dramatically, sometimes also ...

Aug 10, 2012
5 / 5 (7) 19

The spectral energy distribution of protostars

(Phys.org) -- Stars form when gravitational forces coalesce the gas and dust in interstellar clouds until the material forms clumps dense enough to become stars. Precisely how this happens, however, is still ...

Aug 06, 2012
5 / 5 (4) 2

Probing gravity

(Phys.org) -- Einstein's theory of relativity is remarkable not only because it is so successful in explaining seemingly bizarre observations (like the bending of starlight) or because it has assembled a coherent ...

Jul 30, 2012
4.8 / 5 (10) 196

Accretion around a young star

(Phys.org) -- The star TW Hydrae is located about 150 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation of Hydrae, the Water Snake. This star is relatively young, about 10 million years old, and ...

Jul 24, 2012
4.8 / 5 (4) 3

Searching for oxygen in space

(Phys.org) -- Searches for interstellar molecular oxygen, O2,have a long history, and the motivation for these searches has evolved. Prior to the late 1990’s, efforts to detect O2 were driven by a desire ...

Jun 28, 2012
5 / 5 (1) 0

Accreting black holes in galaxies

(Phys.org) -- Seyfert galaxies are like normal galaxies, our own Milky Way included, except in one critical respect: their nuclei are fantastically bright. In some instances they are as luminous as 100 billion ...

Jun 28, 2012
5 / 5 (3) 9

Radio galaxies in the distant universe

(Phys.org) -- For over a decade astronomers have been probing a region of the northern sky, not far from the handle of the Big Dipper, that is relatively free of bright stars and the diffuse glow of the Milky ...

Jun 26, 2012
4.8 / 5 (6) 0

Alien earths could form earlier than expected

(Phys.org) -- Building a terrestrial planet requires raw materials that weren't available in the early history of the universe. The Big Bang filled space with hydrogen and helium. Chemical elements like silicon ...

Jun 13, 2012
5 / 5 (6) 5