Space

How do microquasars work? Space

How do microquasars work?

Quasars are active galactic nuclei. Markarian 231, for example, consists of a pair of ultra-massive black holes that have masses of 4 and 150 million solar masses, orbiting each other at an enormous speed at a distance of 600 million light-years from our Solar System and emitting electromagnetic radiation in the whole spectrum. The brightest objects in the universe are too far away to study them in high resolution. Therefore, astronomers were excited about the discovery of microquasars. What proper quasars present at the scale of whole galaxies, microquasars mimic at the scale of a solar system. (more…)
Superflare from red dwarf observed Proxima

Superflare from red dwarf observed

2MASS J02365171-5203036 is a rather inconspicuous red dwarf of spectral class M2. It travels through the universe approximately 123 light years from Earth and normally has a luminosity of approximately one-thousandth of that of our Sun’s. On 9 August 2017, however, it experienced an outburst that made it noticeable even in the Hubble Space Telescope’s data: it released energy of 1.3 * 1032 erg over a very short period of time – for comparison, a typical solar eruption measures approximately 1027 erg/s. That is a quantity that corresponds, for example, converted to food energy, to ten billion tons of…
Physicist describes a wormhole’s shape Space

Physicist describes a wormhole’s shape

Wormholes are shortcuts through space and time – and up to now purely a product of science fiction and theory. More precisely, their existence can only be deduced and calculated from current theories. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they actually exist. And it certainly doesn’t mean that they can be used to travel through space. But what would they look like and what shape would they have? This has been calculated by the Ukrainian physicist Roman Konoplya – or more precisely: he has shown how the shape of a wormhole can be calculated from its physical data. To…
Hyperion, a supercluster of galaxies in the early universe Space

Hyperion, a supercluster of galaxies in the early universe

The vast expanse of the universe has one advantage: because the light from the farthest reaches of the universe takes so long to get to us, astronomers can gain insight into its early history. Scientist’s latest discovery: galaxy superclusters apparently formed relatively early – as shown by one structure that scientists have named “Hyperion.” The gigantic proto-supercluster was identified by a team of astronomers led by Olga Cucciati from the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) Bologna (Italian Institute of Astrophysics in Bologna) with the VIMOS instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Hyperion, observed approx. 2.3…
Four gas giants and a young sun Space

Four gas giants and a young sun

CI Tau, which is 450 light-years from Earth, is a T-Tauri star – these are stars that are still in their birth phase. Fusion has only recently ignited in its core, and the star is still contracting to its final size. Even though CI Tau is only approximately two million years old, it already has a companion: a “hot Jupiter” that has a mass of eight to ten Jupiters and is orbiting its host star at a close distance. It was previously thought that at least ten million years were needed to form these conditions. That’s why scientists were…
What is there in the space between the oldest galaxies? Space

What is there in the space between the oldest galaxies?

Nothing? Not quite, which you can see with just a quick glance at the picture below. Images taken by the MUSE spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) show the exact opposite. Using the MUSE instrument on the VLT, an international team of astronomers led by Lutz Wisotzki, professor for observational cosmology at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and the University of Potsdam, discovered an unexpected abundance of so-called Lyman-alpha emission in a region of the Fornax constellation that had been mapped with particular precision by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2004, the…
Rocky with a hint of hydrogen: what’s a good recipe for a planet? Life

Rocky with a hint of hydrogen: what’s a good recipe for a planet?

Rocky planets are rather small and gas giants are large – that’s one hypothesis you might come up with if you look at our Solar System. But is that true always and everywhere? Is our own system an example of the rule or an exception to the rule? Astronomers have now found more than 3700 exoplanets, but very little is known about their composition. At most the radius and mass are known. But even if the size and mass are known, it is still very difficult to say whether the exoplanet has, in fact, a large, but thanks to…
It’s not Planet X, but 2015 TG387 is still pretty far out Space

It’s not Planet X, but 2015 TG387 is still pretty far out

A team led by astronomers Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo has been searching for a while for Planet X, which is supposed to orbit the Sun somewhere in the Oort Cloud far beyond the other planets. To do this, they are studying the areas of interest particularly closely – and keep coming up with interesting discoveries in the process. This time the result is called 2015 TG387. The object was first registered in 2015; scientists needed until today to confirm its orbit, which leads it once around the Sun every 40,000 years. 2015 TG387 is one of the most…