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Articles on Star formation

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A planet-forming disk made from rock and gas surrounds a young star. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/ Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran

Even planets have their (size) limits

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.

When did the lights first come on in the universe? A galaxy close to the dawn of time gives a clue

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.
Can a galaxy (like NGC 3810 in this case) have a classical spiral structure and also be already dead? ESA/Hubble and NASA

Is our Milky Way galaxy a zombie, already dead and we don’t know it?

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.
Like a cosmic roulette wheel, we exist because of a very lucky combination of factors. NASA/JPL-Caltech

We are lucky to live in a universe made for us

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

Explainer: what is a neutron star?

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.) ICRAR/GAMA

Don’t panic, but the universe is slowly dying

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. Hubble Heritage/Flickr

Why is life left-handed? The answer is in the stars

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.
Artist’s impression of exocomets around Beta Pictoris. ESO/L. Calçada

Comet families similar to our own are found around another star

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

From galactic pile-ups, stars are born: a crash course in clusters

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…

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