Mapping the outer fringes of our universe is, obviously, a tremendously tricky task. But we should be able to get the parameters of our own galaxy pretty easily, right? Well, maybe not. And there’s a reason why.
Do you think you know the Milky Way? You don't know the Milky Way.
Start the year off with something beautiful: this is Hercules A, a galaxy 1.9 billion light years away. This beauty hides a bite: its central black hole is a devouring monster 1,000 times the mass of our own Sagittarius A* with screaming jets nearly a million light years out.
What a difference a wavelength makes: On the left is the M82 Galaxy as seen in the visible light spectrum, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope — and the image we most associate with that galaxy. On the right is an x-ray image of the same galaxy, taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The Whirlpool Galaxy is an astrophotography classic, all swirling arms and bright stars. A new composite image of optical and X-ray wavelengths layers in a map of neutron stars and black holes within the galaxy, bright X-ray sources highlighting an ongoing galactic collision.
Today is the day for Star Wars puns, and paying tribute to the space-fantasy epic. The movie pops up as a regular inspiration and analogy in real-life science. From robots on the International Space Station, to real-life exoplanets, Star Wars is everywhere.
The European Southern Observatory has released a detailed image of galaxy NGC 1316, which has engulfed several other galaxies in its violent history... and has the battle scars to prove it.
A new interactive panoramic lets you a take a full 360° tour of our galaxy — complete with a few stops along the way.
This weird, hourglass-shaped structure is a planetary nebula, the not entirely accurate name given to the clump of gas that forms after a dying sun ejects it outer layers. Astronomers recently looked at over a hundred of these nebulae in the Milky Way's galactic center. Shockingly, a huge number of the nebulae appear…
Eons ago, two of our satellite galaxies became locked in a cosmic game of tug-of-war. Their fierce gravitational interactions ripped out a huge ribbon of hot, potentially star-forming gas that now surrounds much of our own galaxy's southern hemisphere, as this amazing new Hubble image shows.
Galaxies and their central supermassive black holes grew in tandem, the result of countless collisions and mergers between ancient, smaller galaxies. But galaxies sometimes merged without combining their black holes, ejecting some of these objects out into the depths of open space.
We know that the Milky Way is surrounded by an array of satellite galaxies, the largest of which is the rather aptly named Large Magellanic Cloud. But figuring out exactly how far away our cosmic neighbor is has proved fiendishly difficult.
Located some 150 million light-years from Earth, NGC 922 is admittedly a little far for a quick New Year's Eve getaway. But as this Hubble image reveals, the views are great, just so long as you avoid the black holes.
Have you ever wanted to look into your wardrobe and gasp, "It's full of stars"? Shadowplaynyc blends fashion with astronomical fascination, using real images from the Hubble Telescope as the prints for their clothing and accessories. Now you can show off your favorite nebula by pulling on a pair of tights.
As a rule of thumb, the more massive a black hole is, the bigger its surrounding galaxy will be. That's why there's something so fundamentally wrong about NGC 1277, a tiny galaxy home to possibly the biggest black hole yet.
For those who like to start their day with something mindblowing: here's your chance to start today with four.
These two galaxies have been slowly merging for eons, and the process is now almost over — indeed, the galaxies now share a single name, NGC 2623. This could be an early preview of our own galaxy's fate.
Collisions between galaxies are relatively commonplace — such collisions are thought to be crucial to the eventual creation of supermassive black holes, and our own Milky Way is scheduled to merge with nearby Andromeda Galaxy in about four billion years.
This striking explosion of cosmic color is the galaxy DDO 190. But whatever its aesthetic merits, it's nothing special in scientific terms — indeed, it's rather unflatteringly termed a dwarf irregular galaxy. It's also one of the loneliest galaxies around.
Cosmic rays generate the most energetic particles in the universe, utterly dwarfing anything we can generate in particle accelerators. Astrophysicists thought these cosmic rays were created in powerful gamma-ray bursts. Turns out they were completely, utterly wrong. So now what?