It’s A Blast! Supernova 1987A Celebrates 168,030th Birthday

Reaching magnitude +3 and easily visible to the naked eye, supernova 1987A was the closest and brightest supernova explosion since Kepler’s Supernova in 1604. It made a sudden appearance 30 years ago on February 23, 1987 in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way located 160,000 light years away in the…
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Pan-STARRS Releases ‘Census Of The Universe’ To The World

Chance are the name “Pan-STARRS” has a familiar ring to it. Beside turning up near-Earth asteroids every week, the Pan-STARRS-1 telescope has  tracked down several bright comets in recent years. In fact, that’s its primary purpose — to discover and track potential Earth-approaching objects, map their orbits and determine if any might pose a threat to our planet…
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Heavenly Ho Ho Ho! From A Cosmic Santa Claus

If you look closely, you might be able to picture the face of Santa Claus in these festive pink clouds. You’re seeing two overlapping glowing nebulas called NGC 248 in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a small galaxy that orbits the Milky Way like a planet orbit the sun. Intense radiation from hot young stars in the center…
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So So Many Galaxies, So So Little Time

Used to be there were between 100 and 200 billion galaxies in the universe. Plenty to go around. That was the estimate up until this fall, when an international team, led by Christopher Conselice from the University of Nottingham (UK) concluded there are at least 10 times that number or 1 to 2 trillion! Astronomers…
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Great Balls Of Fire! Hubble Discovers A Real ‘Shooting’ Star

I loved Roman candles as a kid. You know the firework. You light one end and it shoots out balls of fire from the other. I never imagined we’d find the stellar equivalent of this July 4th favorite, but a team of astronomer’s using the Hubble Space Telescope did just that. In a recent paper they report the…
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