A "brown dwarf" star that appears to be the coldest of its kind -- as frosty as Earth's North Pole -- has been discovered by a Penn State University astronomer using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Images from the space telescopes also pinpointed the object's distance at 7.2 light-years away, making it the fourth closest system to our Sun.
Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.
An international team of astronomers exploring the disk of gas and dust around a nearby star have uncovered a compact cloud of poisonous gas formed by ongoing rapid-fire collisions among a swarm of icy, comet-like bodies. The researchers suggest the comet swarm is either the remnant of a crash between two icy worlds the size of Mars or frozen debris trapped and concentrated by the gravity of an as-yet-unseen planet.
It's a bouncing baby . . . star! Combined observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the newly completed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed the throes of stellar birth as never before in the well-studied object known as HH 46/47.
The nearby star system Fomalhaut – of special interest for its unusual exoplanet and dusty debris disk – has been discovered to be not just a double star, as astronomers had thought, but one of the widest triple stars known.
Just how stars and black holes in the Universe are able to form from rotating matter is one of the big questions of astrophysics. What we do know is that magnetic fields figure prominently into the picture.
Using infrared data from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, an international team of astronomers has imaged a giant planet around the bright star GJ 504. Several times the mass of Jupiter and similar in size, the new world, dubbed GJ 504b, is the lowest-mass planet ever detected around a star like the sun using direct imaging techniques.
Astronomers have shed further light on the mysterious process of how young stars and their planetary systems form.
A 30-year study of an extraordinary hypergiant star has revealed that it went through an extremely rare stage called the 'Yellow Evolutionary Void.'
A star has been discovered orbiting tightly round the massive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, making its circuit in just eleven and a half years.
Sugar molecules have for the first time been spotted in the gas surrounding a young sun-like star.
NASA scientists have caught a star in the act of swallowing up a planet, the first time such a thing has ever been observed.
Astrophysicists have for the first time detected the X-ray 'scream' from a star as it's consumed by a supermassive black hole.
In just three years, the cloud of dust surrounding a young star has disappeared, indicating that there's something wrong with our current ideas of planet formation.
Astronomers have had their best look yet at a supermassive black hole in the process of shredding a star.
Astronomers say they've discovered their fastest-spinning star, a hot blue giant rotating at a million miles per hour - 100 times faster than our sun.
Astronomers have for the first time spotted a disk of gas and dust around a sun-like star that shows spiral-arm-like structures.
A team of European astronomers have discovered a star that by rights shouldn't exist - it's simply not dense enough for current models to explain its formation.
Astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole in the act of shredding and consuming a star 3.9 billion light years away.
A mysterious gamma ray flash observed by the Swift satellite in late March was probably caused by a star being swallowed by a massive black hole, astronomers have concluded.