Multiwavelength image of the 'Toothbrush' galaxy cluster

Most galaxies lie in clusters containing from a few to thousands of objects. Our Milky Way, for example, belongs to a cluster of about fifty galaxies called the Local Group whose other large member is the Andromeda galaxy ...

Cosmic filament probes our galaxy's giant black hole

The center of our Galaxy has been intensely studied for many years, but it still harbors surprises for scientists. A snake-like structure lurking near our galaxy's supermassive black hole is the latest discovery to tantalize ...

The initial mass function

The gas and dust in giant molecular clouds gradually come together under the influence of gravity to form stars. Precisely how this occurs, however, is incompletely understood. The mass of a star, for example, is by far the ...

Dusty protoplanetary disks

Planetary systems form out of disks of gas and dust around young stars. How the formation proceeds, however, is complex and poorly understood. Many physical processes are involved including accretion onto the star, photoevaporation ...

A microlensing event seen from three positions in space

The path of a light beam will be bent by the presence of mass, an effect explained by General Relativity, and a massive body can therefore act like a lens - a so called "gravitational lens" – to distort the image of an ...

The mysterious star MWC349

Molecular clouds in interstellar space can sometimes produce natural masers (the radio wavelength analogs of lasers) that shine with bright, narrow beams of radiation. Regions of active star formation generate some of the ...

A new kind of quantum computer

Quantum mechanics incorporates some very non-intuitive properties of matter. Quantum superposition, for example, allows an atom to be simultaneously in two different states with its spin axis pointed both up and down, or ...

The atmospheres of water worlds

There are currently about fifty known exoplanets with diameters that range from Mars-sized to several times the Earth's and that also reside within their stars' habitable zone – the orbital range within which their surface ...

The remarkable jet of the quasar 4C+19.44

Quasars are galaxies with massive black holes at their cores. So much energy is being radiated from near the nucleus of a quasar that it is much brighter than the rest of the entire galaxy. Much of that radiation is at radio ...

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