Giant Galaxy Cluster "El Gordo" Is Even Bigger Than We Thought

We already knew that this ancient galaxy cluster (nicknamed "El Gordo") was the largest of the distant galaxies that we had spotted, but it turns out we've been massively underestimating its size. How did astronomers figure it out? Simple. They weighed it. » 4/03/14 6:00pm 4/03/14 6:00pm

New map reveals the Milky Way's location among the "Council of Giants"

Astronomers know that the Milky Way is parked within the Local Group of galaxies, an interstellar expanse extending 3 million light years across. But we know very little about the area just outside of this. A new map corrects this oversight, showing that we live among the "Council of Giants." » 3/11/14 8:00am 3/11/14 8:00am

Merging galaxies can contain multiple active supermassive black holes

Japanese astronomers have learned that merging galaxies can contain at least a pair of active and luminous supermassive black holes. Typically, only one of the two black holes are activated like this, leading the astronomers to speculate that something unique is happening in the environment to get them going. » 1/29/14 9:00am 1/29/14 9:00am

Our first glimpse of the dusty remnants of an exploding star

See that reddish cloud inside this supernova's shockwave? It's a massive plume of dust that formed shortly after the star ripped itself to shreds. The observation was made using the the brand new ALMA telescope — and it's one that will help explain how galaxies got their dusty and dim complexion. » 1/07/14 8:00am 1/07/14 8:00am

Colliding galaxies take on the shape of a penguin guarding its egg

The Hubble Space Telescope recently captured this stunning image of a spiral galaxy in the midst of a collision with its elliptical companion. But as you can clearly see, this celestial encounter has warped the spiral galaxy into something altogether different. » 6/21/13 7:20am 6/21/13 7:20am

This incredible image reveals two galaxies that orbit the Milky Way

Just as planets orbit Suns, galaxies can orbit each other. Now, NASA has created some unprecedented images of two such galaxies in the Milky Way's orbit, known as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC). Here, you have an incredible view of these galaxies beneath the plane of the Milky Way. » 6/04/13 11:26am 6/04/13 11:26am

This pocket-sized galaxy may be the most distant yet

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have discovered the most distant galaxy seen in the universe. Called MACS0647-JD, the galaxy is 13.3 billion light years from Earth — which means it formed only 420 million years after the big bang. And just as remarkably, it's only 600 light-years wide,… » 11/16/12 8:00am 11/16/12 8:00am

Why did these ‘ghost galaxies’ suddenly stop making stars?

According to predictive models, there should be thousands of ancient and tiny ‘dwarf galaxies' in our neighborhood — but to date, astronomers have found but a few. And those discovered contain puzzlingly few stars, giving rise to the name ‘ghost galaxies.' This problem has led to the theory that dwarf galaxies must… » 7/16/12 9:43am 7/16/12 9:43am

Astronomers discover invisible, starless galaxies predicted by theory

When thinking about how galaxies form, scientists have speculated about large masses of gas that are drawn together to form a kind of embryonic proto-galaxy. But because these supposed objects are starless, they would be practically invisible, thus making them impossible to detect — or so it would seem. » 7/12/12 11:20am 7/12/12 11:20am

Near collision creates a bridge of gas between Andromeda and another…

Astronomers have confirmed that a bridge of hydrogen gas is streaming between the giant Andromeda Galaxy and its smaller neighbor, the Triangulum Galaxy. The connection is likely the result of a cosmological close call between the two, a discovery that will help scientists better understand the evolution of galaxies. » 6/12/12 10:38am 6/12/12 10:38am