A Tale of Three Stellar Cities

Using new observations from ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope, astronomers have discovered three different populations of young stars within the Orion Nebula Cluster. This unexpected discovery adds very valuable new insights for the understanding of how such clusters form. It suggests that star formation might proceed in bursts, where each burst occurs on a much faster … Read more

Odd planetary system around fast-spinning star doesn’t quite fit existing models of planet formation

Astronomers have discovered a rare, warm, massive Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star that is rotating extremely quickly. The discovery raises puzzling questions about planet formation – neither the planet’s comparatively small mass nor its large distance from its host star are expected according to current models. The observations that led to the discovery were made … Read more

ALMA finds Ingredient of Life around Infant Sun-like Stars

ALMA has observed stars like the Sun at a very early stage in their formation and found traces of methyl isocyanate — a chemical building block of life. This is the first ever detection of this prebiotic molecule towards solar-type protostars, the sort from which our Solar System evolved. The discovery could help astronomers understand … Read more

Newly discovered fast-growing galaxies could solve cosmic riddle – and show ancient cosmic merger

Astronomers have discovered a new kind of galaxy in the early universe, less than a billion years after the Big Bang. These galaxies are forming stars more than a hundred times faster than our own Milky Way. The discovery could explain an earlier finding: a population of surprisingly massive galaxies at a time 1.5 billion … Read more

First radio detection of lonely planet disk shows similarities between stars and planet-like objects

First radio observations of the lonely, planet-like object OTS44 reveal a dusty protoplanetary disk that is very similar to disks around young stars. This is unexpected, given that models of star and planet formation predict that formation from a collapsing cloud, forming a central object with surrounding disk, should not be possible for such low-mass … Read more

Star discovered in closest known orbit around likely Black Hole

Astronomers have found evidence for a star that whips around a black hole about twice an hour. This may be the tightest orbital dance ever witnessed for a likely black hole and a companion star. This discovery was made using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as NASA’s NuSTAR and CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array … Read more