stars

Curious Kids: what would happen if the sun exploded?

Curious Kids: what would happen if the sun exploded?

The sun is a star, and when a star explodes it’s called a supernova. These types of explosions are very bright, and very powerful. They release lots of dust into space, which is used to make more stars and planets. Our solar system was made using stuff from these explosions. Even humans are made of star stuff!

Citizen Scientist Finds Ancient White Dwarf Star Encircled by Puzzling Rings

Citizen Scientist Finds Ancient White Dwarf Star Encircled by Puzzling Rings

A volunteer working with the NASA-led Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project has found the oldest and coldest known white dwarf — an Earth-sized remnant of a Sun-like star that has died — ringed by dust and debris. Astronomers suspect this could be the first known white dwarf with multiple dust rings.

Exploding Stars Make Key Ingredient Found in Glass

Exploding Stars Make Key Ingredient Found in Glass

We are all, quite literally, made of star dust. Many of the chemicals that compose our planet and our bodies were formed directly by stars. Now, a new study using observations by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reports for the first time that silica — one of the most common minerals found on Earth — is formed when massive stars explode.

Exploding Binary Stars Will Light up the Sky in 2022

Exploding Binary Stars Will Light up the Sky in 2022

Stellar collisions are an amazingly rare thing. According to our best estimates, such events only occur in our galaxy (within globular clusters) once every 10,000 years. It’s only been recently, thanks to ongoing improvements in instrumentation and technology, that astronomers have been able to observe such mergers taking place. As of yet, no one has ever witnessed this phenomena in action – but that may be about to change!

Two Stars, Three Dimensions, and Oodles of Energy

Two Stars, Three Dimensions, and Oodles of Energy

For decades, astronomers have known about irregular outbursts from the double star system V745 Sco, which is located about 25,000 light years from Earth. Astronomers were caught by surprise when previous outbursts from this system were seen in 1937 and 1989. When the system erupted on February 6, 2014, however, scientists were ready to observe the event with a suite of telescopes including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Galaxies swell due to explosive action of new stars

Galaxies swell due to explosive action of new stars

In 1926, famed astronomer Edwin Hubble developed his morphological classification scheme for galaxies. This method divided galaxies into three basic groups – Elliptical, Spiral and Lenticular – based on their shapes. Since then, astronomers have devoted considerable time and effort in an attempt to determine how galaxies have evolved over the course of billions of years to become these shapes.

Hidden Stars May Make Planets Appear Smaller

Hidden Stars May Make Planets Appear Smaller

In the search for planets similar to our own, an important point of comparison is the planet's density. A low density tells scientists a planet is more likely to be gaseous like Jupiter, and a high density is associated with rocky planets like Earth. But a new study suggests some are less dense than previously thought because of a second, hidden star in their systems.

Gaia finds six stars zipping out of the Milky Way

Gaia finds six stars zipping out of the Milky Way

In 2013, the European Space Agency launched the Gaia spacecraft. As the successor to the Hipparcos mission, this space observatory has spent the past three and a half years gathering data on the cosmos. Before it retires sometime next year (though the mission could be extended), this information will be used to construct the largest and most precise 3D astronomical map ever created.

Chaotically Magnetized Cloud Is No Place to Build a Star, or Is It?

Chaotically Magnetized Cloud Is No Place to Build a Star, or Is It?

For decades, scientists believed that the magnetic field lines coursing around newly forming stars were both powerful and unyielding, working like jail bars to corral star-forming material. More recently, astronomers have found tantalizing evidence that large-scale turbulence far from a nascent star can drag magnetic fields around at will.

Planets Could Travel Along With Rogue 'Hypervelocity' Stars, Spreading Life Throughout The Universe

Planets Could Travel Along With Rogue 'Hypervelocity' Stars, Spreading Life Throughout The Universe

Back in 1988, astronomer Jack Hills predicted a type of “rogue”star might exist that is not bound to any particular galaxy. These stars, he reasoned, were periodically ejected from their host galaxy by some sort of mechanism to begin traveling through interstellar space.

How we’re helping the Gaia mission map a billion stars to unparalleled precision

How we’re helping the Gaia mission map a billion stars to unparalleled precision

The positions and velocities of a billion stars in our own galaxy have been released, measured to a precision never achieved before. The data, obtained by the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft is a milestone in stellar cartography. The brightest stars will eventually be measured to the nearest five-hundred-millionth of a degree. That’s like using a telescope in London to see the width of a human hair in Rome.

Hubble Sweeps Scattered Stars in Sagittarius

Hubble Sweeps Scattered Stars in Sagittarius

This colorful and star-studded view of the Milky Way galaxy was captured when the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope pointed its cameras towards the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer). Blue stars can be seen scattered across the frame, set against a distant backdrop of red-hued cosmic companions. This blue litter most likely formed at the same time from the same collapsing molecular cloud.

Newly Discovered Star Offers Opportunity to Explore Origins of First Stars Sprung to Life in Early Universe

Newly Discovered Star Offers Opportunity to Explore Origins of First Stars Sprung to Life in Early Universe

A team of researchers has observed the brightest ultra metal-poor star ever discovered. The star is a rare relic from the Milky Way’s formative years. As such, it offers astronomers a precious opportunity to explore the origin of the first stars that sprung to life within our galaxy and the universe.

The Sun Could Release Flares 1000x Greater Than Previously Recorded

The Sun Could Release Flares 1000x Greater Than Previously Recorded

The Sun demonstrates the potential to superflare, new research into stellar flaring suggests. Led by the University of Warwick, the research has found a stellar superflare on a star observed by NASA’s Kepler space telescope with wave patterns similar to those that have been observed in solar flares.