An international team of astronomers has discovered an ancient and dramatic head-on collision between the Milky Way and a smaller object, dubbed ‘the Sausage galaxy’. The cosmic crash was a defining event in the early history of the Milky Way and reshaped the structure of our galaxy, fashioning both the galaxy’s inner bulge and its outer halo, the astronomers report in a series of new papers.
An international team of researchers have identified ‘fingerprints’ of multiple metals in one of the least dense exoplanets ever found.
The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star catalogue to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and revealing previously unseen details of our home Galaxy.
Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the Universe. These ‘newborns’ – observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago – spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way. This is the first time that it has been possible to detect movement in galaxies at such an early point in the Universe’s history.
It is theoretically possible that habitable planets exist around pulsars - spinning neutron stars that emit short, quick pulses of radiation. According to new research, such planets must have an enormous atmosphere that converts the deadly x-rays and high energy particles of the pulsar into heat. The results, from astronomers at the University of Cambridge and Leiden University, are reported in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
A group of astronomers have shown that the fastest-moving stars in our galaxy – which are travelling so fast that they can escape the Milky Way – are in fact runaways from a much smaller galaxy in orbit around our own.
Some of the biggest names in science took part in a special public event yesterday (2 July) to celebrate the life and work of Stephen Hawking, on the occasion of his 75th birthday.