'Space butterfly' is home to hundreds of baby stars

What looks like a red butterfly in space is in reality a nursery for hundreds of baby stars, revealed in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Officially named Westerhout 40 (W40), the butterfly is a nebula—a ...

The lifetimes of massive star-forming regions

Astronomers can roughly estimate how long it takes for a new star to form: it is the time it takes for material in a gas cloud to collapse in free-fall, and is set by the mass, the size of the cloud, and gravity. Although ...

The stability of the solar wind

NASA's Wind spacecraft observes the solar wind before it impacts the magnetosphere of Earth. Launched in 1994 into an orbit more than two hundred Earth-radii away, one of Wind's prime objectives is to investigate the basic ...

The physical properties of dense molecular clouds

Small, dense interstellar clouds of gas and dust, containing hundreds to thousands of solar-masses of material, are suspected of being the precursors to stars and stellar clusters. These so-called cores, with gas densities ...

Herschel sees budding stars and a giant, strange ring

The Herschel Space Observatory has uncovered a weird ring of dusty material while obtaining one of the sharpest scans to date of a huge cloud of gas and dust, called NGC 7538. The observations have revealed numerous clumps ...

Modeling Jupiter and Saturn's possible origins

New theoretical modeling by Carnegie's Alan Boss provides clues to how the gas giant planets in our solar system—Jupiter and Saturn—might have formed and evolved. His work was published recently by the Astrophysical Journal.

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 powering the ejection ...

Neighbor galaxies may have brushed closely: research

(Phys.org) -- Two of our Milky Way's neighbor galaxies may have had a close encounter billions of years ago, recent studies with the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) indicate. The new observations ...

Stellar embryos

(PhysOrg.com) -- Stars form as gravity coalesces the gas and dust in interstellar clouds until the material produces clumps dense enough to become stars. But precisely how this happens, and whether or not the processes are ...

Pillars of Creation formed in the shadows

Research by astronomers at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies suggests that shadows hold the key to how giant star-forming structures like the famous "Pillars of Creation" take shape.

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