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Articles on Astronomy

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VFTS 243 is a binary system of a large, hot blue star and a black hole orbiting each other, as seen in this animation. ESO/L.Calçada

Astronomers have found an especially sneaky black hole – discovery sheds light on star death, black hole formation and gravitational waves

Astronomers have discovered the first dormant black hole outside of the Milky Way. These black holes are not absorbing matter from a nearby star, making them incredibly hard to find.
TRAPPIST-1e is a rocky exoplanet in the habitable zone of a star 40 light-years from Earth and may have water and clouds, as depicted in this artist’s impression. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Wikimedia Commons

To search for alien life, astronomers will look for clues in the atmospheres of distant planets – and the James Webb Space Telescope just proved it’s possible to do so

Life on Earth has dramatically changed the chemistry of the planet. Astronomers will measure light that bounces off distant planets to look for similar clues that they host life.
The mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope is fully aligned and producing incredibly sharp images, like this test image of a star. NASA/STScI via Flickr

The James Webb Space Telescope is finally ready to do science – and it’s seeing the universe more clearly than even its own engineers hoped for

It has taken eight months to test and calibrate all of the instruments and modes of the James Webb Space Telescope. A scientist on the team explains what it took to get Webb up and running.
Protons and neutrons in an atom’s nucleus can be arranged in different configurations, creating nuclear isomers. KTSdesign/SciencePhotoLibrary via Getty Images

Nuclear isomers were discovered 100 years ago, and physicists are still unraveling their mysteries

Nuclear isomers are rare versions of elements with properties that mystified physicists when first discovered. Isomers are now used in medicine and astronomy, and researchers are set to discover thousands more of them.

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