Search Results for: gaia

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Gaia’s 3rd data release: Gazing toward the galactic anticenter

The 3rd data release from the Gaia mission will provide astronomers with a “treasure trove” of information they didn’t have before. As they analyze Gaia’s data in the years ahead, we’re sure to learn new and surprising things about our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

Gaia’s 3rd data release, in numbers

The much-anticipated 3rd data release from the Gaia space observatory happened today.

Artist's concept of strings of stars - sibling stars, or star families - within 3,000 light-years of the sun.

Gaia tracks sibling stars in Milky Way

Rather than leaving home young, as expected, star siblings are more likely to stick together in long-lasting, string-like star groups, according to a new study of data from ESA’s Gaia spacecraft.

An artist's conception of a face-on spiral galaxy with a central bar.

Gaia starts mapping our Milky Way’s bar

“We knew the Milky Way had a bar, like other barred spiral galaxies. But we only had indirect indications from the motions of stars and gas. This is the first time we see the galactic bar in 3D space, based on geometric measurements of stellar distances.”

A spiral galaxy, with globular clusters scattered around it.

How Hubble and Gaia weighed the Milky Way

Scientists used the measured velocities of 44 globular star clusters to measure the mass of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

Over 100 new exoplanets from Kepler and Gaia

At least 18 of the new planets are less than 2 times larger than the Earth, and are likely to have rocky compositions with atmospheres comparable to Earth’s.

Gaia spots enormous ghost galaxy on Milky Way’s outskirts

Gaia satellite data revealed the galaxy, which has avoided detection until now, thanks to its extremely low density and hiding place behind the shroud of the Milky Way’s disk.

Gaia reveals stars flying between galaxies

Only a small number of hypervelocity stars have ever been discovered. Now ESA’s Gaia mission has revealed 20 more.

How Gaia could help find Dyson spheres

Dyson spheres are hypothetical megastructures built by extraterrestrials for the purpose of harvesting all of a star’s energy. Here’s how the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission might help find one.

Gaia sees LMC stars as galactic fingerprint

It resembles a fingerprint, doesn’t it? But it’s really a galaxy, rotating. This image is from ESA’s Gaia space observatory. It shows the rotation of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Gaia’s 2nd data release: 1.7 billion stars!

Why did ESA’s director of science say Gaia’s observations are “redefining the foundations” of astronomy? Also, links to virtual reality resources made possible by Gaia, available for you to explore.

Gaia’s view of Large Magellanic Cloud

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), one of the nearest galaxies to our Milky Way, as viewed by ESA’s Gaia satellite after its first 14 months of operations.

A billion stars here we come! Gaia galaxy surveyor lifts off

Gaia is designed to make accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion Milky Way stars.

2 galaxies nearly merged, dotted with pink along arms, and centered with 2 brilliant white lights.

Hubble spots double quasars in merging galaxies

New images of the oldest known pairs of quasars, farthest and oldest yet seen, show that their home galaxies are colliding.

Glowing pink blob, scrabbly green lines, on a black background.

Is the Hyades star cluster being destroyed?

Data from ESA’s Gaia star-mapping satellite have revealed tantalizing evidence that the famous V-shaped Hyades – nearest star cluster to our sun – is being disrupted. The culprit may be a suspected population of dark matter sub-halos. Wow!

Very irregular rocky objects in gaseous disk around a bright white star.

Evidence for white dwarfs consuming Earth-like worlds

For the first time, astronomers have detected the vaporized remains of the crusts of long-dead Earth-like and Mars-like planets in the atmospheres of white dwarf stars.

Composite of many multicolored pairs of stars, moslly in red and yellow hues.

3D map of a million binary stars

A new atlas of nearby binary stars plots more than a million pairs and reveals a profusion of identical twins.

Points of light distorted by black spots with swirls around them.

Swarm of black holes discovered

For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of a throng of black holes crowding near the center of an ancient globular cluster.

What is the Milky Way?

When someone says “Milky Way,” do you think of the starry pathway across our sky, or of the great pinwheel-shaped galaxy in space? Both are correct!

An illustration of the spiral-shaped flat disk of the Milky Way, with arcs of star streams extending above and below the galactic disk.

Theia 456 is a stretched-out stream of sibling stars

A close look at the “stellar stream” known as Theia 456 finds it contains contains 468 stars born at the same time.

Center circle with white plus sign in center, with radiating pattern around it and bright spot next to it.

New and rare direct image of a brown dwarf

Astronomers have obtained one of the best images yet of a brown dwarf, an object in a mass range midway between stars and planets. This brown dwarf – called HD 33632 Ab – lies 86 light-years from our sun.

5 bright stars in V shape, one of them double, on a star field.

Bull’s face: The Hyades star cluster

Meet the bright star Aldebaran, part of a V-shaped pattern of stars called the Hyades. This easy-to-find star cluster represents the face of Taurus the Bull.

New Milky Way family tree reveals a chaotic history

Scientists in Germany have created a new family tree of our Milky Way galaxy, showing how it has grown over billions of years from chaotic mergers with smaller galaxies.

Bright, fuzzy white and reddish stars on dark background.

Did the Wow! signal come from this star?

Where did the famous mystery Wow! signal, detected in 1977, come from? Astronomer Alberto Caballero might have pinpointed the host star. It’s a sunlike star 1,800 light-years away, in the direction of the center of our Milky Way.

Artwork showing Earth from space, the Gaia spacecraft, and a radio telescope listening for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

A breakthrough in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence

The researchers called their new analytical technique “a milestone in SETI.” One researcher commented: “We now know that fewer than one in 1,600 stars closer than about 330 light years host transmitters just a few times more powerful than the strongest radar we have here on Earth.”

Deneb is distant and very luminous

When you gaze at the bright star Deneb, you’re gazing across thousands of light-years of space.

Watch for the moon and the Scorpion

Watch for the moon and constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.

Did galactic crash trigger solar system formation?

The formation of the sun, the solar system and the subsequent emergence of life on Earth may be a consequence of a collision between our galaxy – the Milky Way – and a smaller galaxy called Sagittarius.

Light gray blob on black background.

Milky Way could be catapulting stars into its outer halo

Scientists used computer simulations to learn that our Milky Way galaxy may sometimes launch newly forming stars into the space around itself – that is, into the halo of our galaxy – via outflows triggered by supernova explosions.

Which spiral arm of the Milky Way contains our sun?

We live in a seemingly nondescript neighborhood in the Milky Way galaxy, in a small spiral arm called the Orion Arm.

Rocky planet with bright star in background.

Is there a 2nd planet orbiting Proxima Centauri?

Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun, may have a second planet, according to researchers from the National Institute of Astrophysics. If confirmed, it would be an ideal candidate for direct imaging by new upcoming space telescopes.

Dark blue circle speckled with white.

Astronomers date an ancient Milky Way collision

The Gaia-Enceladus dwarf galaxy slammed into our Milky Way 11.5 billion years ago. It added the mass of 50 billion suns to the Milky Way. Grand names and big numbers! Now new knowledge of this collision comes from a single bright star visible in Southern Hemisphere skies.

An image of Betelgeuse taken at sub-millimeter wavelengths taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

How far is Betelgeuse?

Recent speculation that Betelgeuse might be on the verge of going supernova prompted many to ask: how far away is it? But getting a distance measurement for this star has been no easy task.

Dark blue oval with pinkish blobs and yellowish blobs.

An impending Milky Way collision is already giving birth to new stars

A newly found young star cluster on the outskirts of our Milky Way seems to be made of material from the Magellanic Clouds. It appears the collision between the Clouds and our Milky Way may already be starting.

Many planets in a cloud of dust and gas.

Thousands of exoplanets may orbit supermassive black holes

It sounds unbelievable, but a new study from Kagoshima University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan says that exoplanets – thousands of them – could be orbiting supermassive black holes.

Seven half-lit balls in a row, against a black background.

TESS spacecraft is finding hundreds of exoplanets

… and it’s poised to find thousands more. But will we find another Earth?

Space telescope with background of stars.

Wow! What if 1 in 4 sunlike stars has an Earth?

According to a new study by astronomers based on data from the Kepler Space Telescope, 1 in 4 sunlike stars should have a planet that’s approximately Earth-sized, orbiting in the star’s habitable zone.

When our Milky Way merged with an ancient dwarf galaxy

Analysis of measurements via the Gaia space telescope – of star positions, brightnesses and distances – has let astronomers probe a merger 10 billion years ago between the primitive Milky Way and a dwarf galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus.

Antares is the Heart of the Scorpion

Bright red Antares is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius and represents the Scorpion’s Heart.

Bright flaming yellow-orange ball on black background

Could a superflare happen on our sun?

New research suggests that superflares – massive bursts of energy from a star’s surface – can happen on stars like our sun. What might that mean for us on Earth?

Photographic image showing flat galactic disk. The inset shows dark lanes of dust, where stars form.

Star formation burst created 50% of Milky Way disk stars

Analysis of data from the Gaia satellite shows a powerful burst of star formation – a stellar baby boom – in our Milky Way galaxy 2 to 3 billion years ago. This single burst might have created half the stars in the galaxy’s flat disk.

Artist's concept of star leaving Milky Way galaxy over millions of years.

Hyper-runaway star fled Milky Way disk

University of Michigan astronomers say a hyper-runaway star didn’t originate from the galaxy’s center, as previously believed. Instead, they say, a cluster of young stars booted it from the galaxy’s disk.

Today in science: Uranus discovered by accident

William Herschel spotted Uranus in 1781 during a routine survey of the stars. It was the 1st new planet found since ancient times.

An ancient white dwarf star with rings

“This white dwarf is so old that whatever process is feeding material into its rings must operate on billion-year timescales,” said one of the scientists involved in the discovery.

Milky Way in a circle. Inside the circle are red dots indicating stars of the stellar stream

Astronomers find a nearby river of stars

Researchers used Gaia data to find a stellar stream of at least 4,000 stars that have been moving together in space since they formed, about a billion years ago.

When will the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies collide?

The Andromeda galaxy is the nearest large spiral to our Milky Way. Astronomers have suspected for some time it will eventually collide with our Milky Way. Now – thanks to the Gaia satellite – they know more.

M13, a globular cluster in Hercules

More globular star clusters found at Milky Way’s heart   

We think of globular clusters as being scattered far from the galaxy’s central regions, in the great spherical halo of our Milky Way. But astronomers are finding them much closer to the galactic center.

Lunar light pillar over Antarctica

We see a fair number of photos of light pillars – shafts of light extending from the sun or other bright light source – taken from northerly latitudes. This one is caused by the moon, and it’s over Earth’s South Pole.

Citizen scientists discover rare exoplanet

Last week, citizen scientists with Zooniverse’s Exoplanet Exoplorers announced K2-288Bb – a type of exoplanet considered rare so far. The finding might shed new light on how planets form.

Light blue sphere with darker blue center.

Thousands of stars, including our sun, destined to turn into crystals

Astronomers now have the 1st direct evidence that white dwarf stars form crystal cores. Our sun is destined to become a crystal white dwarf in about 10 billion years.