How black holes can grow so big

Jan 14, 2019 Erwin van den Burg


Black holes have been observed to swallow gas from its surroundings, which is now thought to underlie the fast pace at which black holes can keep growing for a long period of time.

Astron... Read more

The sky is filled with stars turning into crystals

Jan 09, 2019 Alexandru Ciobanu


A new study provides the first direct evidence that white dwarf stars solidify and turn into crystals. White dwarfs are the dead remnants of stars like our Sun and they have a core of solid oxygen and carb... Read more

Exotic class of super-Earths found

Dec 19, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Rocky planets normally form in a dispersing disc of gas (the proto-planetary gas disc) that surrounds a star, in regions rich in iron, magnesium and silicon. This gives rise to Earth-like planets with an i... Read more

A relic from the early universe: a cloud of unpolluted gas that formed right after the Big Bang

Dec 18, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Using the world’s most powerful optical telescope in Hawaii, astronomers have observed a cloud of gas that seems not to have been contaminated by heavy metals from exploding stars.

T... Read more

Pushing the boundaries: discovery of the most distant solar system object ever observed

Dec 18, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


For the first time, astronomers have observed an object in our solar system at a distance of more than 100 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun, at 120 astronomical units (AU) to be precise.

... Read more

A fast evaporating exoplanet found

Dec 14, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Astronomers have been puzzled for a long time by the near-absence of big, Neptune-sized gas planets in the proximity of their star.

New observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have indicated that the hot Neptune-like exoplanet GJ 3470b, that ... Read more

Looking at the birth of planets

Dec 13, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Astronomers have acquired new insights into the speed with which planets can form by studying protoplanetary disks, the belts of dust and gas around young stars. The observations were made with the Atacama... Read more

Early universe matter created in the laboratory

Dec 11, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Scientists have created tiny droplets of extremely hot matter that are thought to have filled the early universe, i.e. the first microseconds after the Big Bang.

The matter was in a liqui... Read more

Helium found in the atmosphere of an exoplanet

Dec 07, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


An international team of researchers has detected helium in the atmosphere of exoplanet HAT-P-11b, located 124 light years away from Earth. Helium was found to escape from the planet’s atmosphere at ... Read more

Tracing the history of starlight across the universe

Nov 30, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has measured all the starlight produced over 90% of the universe’s history. The telescope measures gamma-ray output from distant galaxies, especially from... Read more

NASA InSight probe just landed on planet Mars

Nov 26, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu


What’s inside planet Mars? Well, we are about to find out! InSight, a NASA Mars lander module just landed on the red planet.

The probe will peer below the surface to gather data about ... Read more

Super-Earths’ magnetic fields generated by magma oceans

Nov 21, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu


Super-Earths are very common among the newly-discovered exoplanets. But, do they have magnetic fields, like Earth?

Using computer simulations researchers concluded that they do, indeed, poss... Read more

Unique discovery by astronomers: dying massive stars in the Milky Way

Nov 19, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Astronomers have discovered a special pair of stars and a spiral dust cloud whose form is best understood by assuming that one of the stars in this binary system is spinning extremely fast.

... Read more

Ancient lakes and canyons on the surface of Mars

Nov 18, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Scientists have found that lakes on Mars contained at times so much water that they overflowed and burst from the sides of their basins. This created catastrophic floods that carved canyons extremely rapidly, possibly even in the matter of weeks... Read more

Meet Barnard’s star b, an exoplanet only six lightyears away

Nov 15, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


By combining old measurements with new techniques, scientists have found a planet that orbits the star Barnard, only six lightyears away. Barnard’s star is the closest single star to the Sun. Its new... Read more

Unusual metals may explain how Earth’s magnetic field formed

Nov 07, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu


The magnetic field of Earth is created by a dynamo effect, but scientists do not fully understand how this is possible. A recent study suggests that strange metals, called Weyl metals, could generate the d... Read more

How spaceflight changes the brain of astronauts

Nov 06, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu


According to a recent international study, flying into space may change the brain of the cosmonauts. The study was conducted on ten Russian cosmonauts that had their brain scanned using magnetic resonance ... Read more

Discovery of flood deposits suggests early Mars had abundant water

Nov 05, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu


New evidence that planet Mars used to have water is provided by a recent study that analyzed the images of sedimentary rocks taken by Curiosity Rover.

The researchers identified four differ... Read more

Milky Way merged with a large galaxy ten billion years ago

Nov 01, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


Some ten billion years ago, the still young Milky Way merged with another large galaxy that astronomers have baptized Gaia-Encladus. The stars of Gaia-Encladus make up most the Milky Way’s halo and a... Read more

ESO: Material orbiting close to a black hole observed

Oct 31, 2018 Erwin van den Burg


With the aid of ESO’s GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope, scientists have observed flares of infrared radiation coming from the accretion disk (belt of gas) around Sagittarius A*, the mas... Read more