How Astronomers Turned This White Dwarf Into A Magnifying Glass

Typically, astronomers observe the dimming of a star whenever an exoplanet passes in front of it. But what could possibly cause a star to periodically increase its illumination when an object passes in front? The answer, say scientists, is a newly confirmed phenomenon known as "self-lensing." » 4/21/14 1:40pm Monday 1:40pm

The ALMA telescope has just made its first major discovery

Today is inauguration day for ALMA, the massive telescopic array that’s still under construction in Chile’s Atacama Desert. But just because it’s not finished doesn’t mean astronomers haven’t been using it. The $1.5 billion telescope has just peered into the deepest realms of the universe, revealing some of the most… » 3/13/13 2:07pm 3/13/13 2:07pm

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

The Joy of Gravitational Lensing, or Why You Are Seeing Five Lights…

These five lights are all the same object - a quasar. The middle one is the image we would normally see. The ones on the sides are four extra images that we can only see because there is a galaxy between us and the star. How does something getting between us and the star help us see more of it? We'll tell you the… » 11/15/12 6:20am 11/15/12 6:20am

NASA finds a galactic arc in deep space that has no business being…

NASA scientists working with the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an arc of light behind an extremely massive cluster of galaxies about 10 billion light-years away. Given that the clusters formed over 13.7 billion years ago at a time when the Universe was very young, there shouldn't really be anything "behind" it. … » 6/27/12 9:45am 6/27/12 9:45am