A planet-forming disk made from rock and gas surrounds a young star.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/ Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran
Why isn't there an endless variety of planets in the universe? An astrophysicist explains why planets only come in two flavors.
Galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223 taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The inset image is the very distant galaxy MACS1149-JD1.
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, W. Zheng (JHU), M. Postman (STScI), the CLASH Team, Hashimoto et al.
Astronomers have indirectly spotted some of the first stars in the universe by making their most distant detection of oxygen in a galaxy that existed just 500m years after the Big Bang.
The dark band is the Dark Doodad Nebula, a place where new stars and planets can form.
A three-dimensional look and listen at a dark cloud in space sheds new light on the mystery of how our solar system formed billions of years ago.
The Sombrero galaxy reveals the extremes of age and shape.
NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
As galaxies get older they get rounder, and fall victim to the middle-aged spread that catches many of us humans here on Earth.
ESO/UltraVISTA team. Acknowledgement: TERAPIX/CNRS/INSU/CASU
Massive, far distant galaxies contain 100 times more gas than we thought possible.
C. P. Ewing
The science of red skies can also help us understand how stars form.
Mine’s a Star-opramen.
It's like one great big distillery up there.
Artist’s impression of a quasar shining through a galaxy’s ‘super halo’ of hydrogen gas.
A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
Astronomers are surprised by what they're finding out about galaxies that formed in the early days of our universe, now that sensitive telescopes allow direct observation, not the inference of old.
Untangling the history of the Milky Way.
Understanding how the billions of stars in our galaxy formed and evolved is the subject of a huge galactic archaeology project.
Spiral galaxy NGC 3953 is a veritable star making machine, but why do some galaxies stop forming new stars?
Galaxies are supposed to be the place where new stars are formed. So what causes some to stop this stellar production line?
Can a galaxy (like NGC 3810 in this case) have a classical spiral structure and also be already dead?
ESA/Hubble and NASA
Extragalactic astrophysicists want to know how and why galaxies stop forming stars, change their shape and fade away. With help from citizen scientists, they're figuring it out.
The edge of the Horsehead nebula, where it touches the empty space outside it, is rich in carbon.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Astronomers have built a new observatory in the cold dry air of a high plateau in Antarctica to peer through our atmosphere and observe carbon in our galaxy.
Like a cosmic roulette wheel, we exist because of a very lucky combination of factors.
If some of the laws of physics were only infinitesimally different, we would simply not exist. It almost looks like the universe itself was built for life. But how can that be?
NASA artists’ interpretation of the neutron star Swift J1749.4-2807 (left) with it’s companion star (right).
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
They're are the overachievers of the universe: incredibly dense but very small when compared to others stars. So how much do we know about the extreme behaviour of neutron stars?
A colour image of G63349, one of the galaxies in the survey, created using near-infrared (VISTA telescope) and optical (Sloan telescope) data collated by the GAMA survey. (The bright green object is a nearby star.)
Our universe's most exciting days are well behind us, with new research showing the universe is now slowly but surely dying.
A needle in a haystack? Search for the first ever biological molecule.
Researchers have created a star-forming cloud in the laboratory to try to recreate the first-ever biological molecule. The study could explain why such molecules are left-handed.
Elliptical galaxies, like this one, are burnt out and no longer making stars.
Judy Schmidt and J Blakeslee (Dominion Astrophysical Observatory)
What happens to a galaxy when it runs out of the stuff needed to forge new stars?
Artist’s impression of exocomets around Beta Pictoris.
A detailed study of comets orbiting the young nearby star Beta Pictoris is published today in the journal Nature, and it reveals striking similarities to the comets found in our solar system. Over the…
An artist’s impression of a galactic protocluster forming in the early universe.
European Southern Observatory
Clusters of galaxies have back-stories worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster: their existences are marked by violence, death and birth, arising after extragalactic pile-ups where groups of galaxies crashed…
The dawn of a new day.
What makes our sun shine has been a mystery for most of human history. Given our sun is a star and stars are suns, explaining the source of the sun’s energy would help us understand why stars shine. An…