Rapid changes point to origin of ultra-fast black hole winds

01 Mar 2017

Astronomers have made the most detailed observation yet of an ultra-fast wind emanating from a Black Hole at a quarter of the speed of light. Using the European Space Agency (ESA)’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR telescopes, the scientists observed the phenomenon in an active galaxy known as IRAS 13224-3809.

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Newly discovered planets could have water on their surfaces

22 Feb 2017

An international team of astronomers has found a system of seven potentially habitable planets orbiting a star 39 light years away three of which could have water on their surfaces raising the possibility they could host life. Using ground and space telescopes, the team identified the planets as they passed in front of the ultracool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. The star is around eight per cent of the mass of the Sun and is no bigger than Jupiter.

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Gravitational vortex provides new way to study matter close to a black hole

12 Jul 2016

An international team of astronomers has proved the existence of a ‘gravitational vortex’ around a black hole, solving a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years. The discovery will allow astronomers to map the behaviour of matter very close to black holes. It could also open the door to future investigation of Albert Einstein’s general relativity.

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Astronomers find first evidence of changing conditions on a super Earth

05 May 2015

Astronomers have detected wildly changing temperatures on a super Earth – the first time any atmospheric variability has been observed on a rocky planet outside the solar system – and believe it could be due to huge amounts of volcanic activity, further adding to the mystery of what had been nicknamed the ‘diamond planet’.

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Mapping the weather on WASP-43b

09 Oct 2014

Two new studies have been used to make the most detailed weather map for a planet outside the solar system, where typical daytime highs reach 1500 degrees Celsius and winds exceed the speed of sound.

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