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Astronomers discover 'heavy metal' supernova rocking out

(Northwestern University) A team of astronomers led by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has discovered that an extraordinarily bright supernova occurred in a surprising location. This 'heavy metal' supernova discovery challenges current ideas of how and where such super-charged supernovas occur. Show More Summary

"Hottest Prospects for Alien Life are White Dwarf Star Systems" --Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

“In the quest for extraterrestrial biological signatures, the first stars we study should be white dwarfs,” said Avi Loeb, theorist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and director of the Institute for Theory and Computation. “Although the closest habitable planet...        

Odds of Complex Life On TRAPPIST-1 Planets in Habitable Zone--"It Takes More Than Liquid Water"

“The concept of a habitable zone is based on planets being in orbits where liquid water could exist,” said Manasvi Lingam, a Harvard researcher with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “This is only one factor, however, in determining whether a...        

"Fast Radio Bursts Could Be Powering Alien Probes" --Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence," said theorist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "An artificial origin is...        

Could fast radio bursts be powering alien probes?

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has looked for many different signs of alien life, from radio broadcasts to laser flashes, without success. However, newly published research suggests that mysterious phenomena called fast radio bursts could be evidence of advanced alien technology. Show More Summary

Astronomers propose a cell phone search for galactic fast radio bursts

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Fast radio bursts seem to come from distant galaxies, but there is no obvious reason that, every once in a while, an FRB wouldn't occur in our own Milky Way galaxy too. If it did, astronomers suggest that it would be 'loud' enough that a global network of cell phones or small radio receivers could 'hear' it.

Scientists estimate solar nebula's lifetime

(DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory) A collaborative study involving Brookhaven, MIT, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro suggests the gas cloud from which our solar system formed lasted about 4 million years.

Spectacular Star Cluster Reveals Elusive Black Holes --"Hidden Inside a 12-Billion-Year Old Globular Cluster" (VIDEO)

Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics say they have evidence for the existence of a medium-sized black hole with a mass of about 2,200 suns at the heart of 47 Tucanae, a 12-billion-year-old ball of of thousands of stars...        

A middleweight black hole is hiding at the center of a giant star cluster

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) All known black holes fall into two categories: small, stellar-mass black holes weighing a few suns, and supermassive black holes weighing millions or billions of suns. Astronomers expect...Show More Summary

Bump on a plot from Chandra X-ray observatory reveals excess of X-rays, hinting at dark matter

(Phys.org)—A team of space researchers with members from Yale University, MIT and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has found a bump in X-ray readings from the Chandra-X-ray observatory that appears to be similar to bumps seen with X-rays from other telescopes. Show More Summary

Antarctica South-Pole Telescope Detects Signal --"First Direct Evidence for Cosmic Inflation Following Big Bang"

"Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today," said John Kovac, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the leader of the BICEP2 collaboration. Researchers with the BICEP2 Collaboration today announced that their telescope in Antarctica...        

"Ten Times More Powerful than Hubble!" --Chile's Giant Magellan Telescope Will Search for Earth 2.0 (Today's "Galaxy" Stream)

“We’re seeking to make the most sensitive instrument in the history of mankind,” said Andrew Szentgyorgyi, associate director of the solar, stellar, and planetary sciences division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “We’re looking to find Earth 2.0.” On a...        

Our galaxy's monster black hole is eating stars and spewing out planet-size 'spitballs'

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A new study conducted by scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics revealed the shocking appetite of our galaxy's central black hole. The massive body has apparently been chewing up stars and spitting them back out as planet-size objects. Show More Summary

Star Stream Observed Flowing 10 Times Width of Milky Way --"Ripped from Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy"

"The star streams that have been mapped so far are like creeks compared to the giant river of stars we predict will be observed eventually," says Marion Dierickx of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). The 11 farthest known stars...        

Farthest stars in Milky Way might be ripped from another galaxy

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Show More Summary

Our galaxy's black hole is spewing out planet-size 'spitballs'

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. Show More Summary

'The Planetary Spitball Machine' --Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole Spews Out Millions of Star Fragments --"Large as Jupiter and Neptune"

New simulations from Harvard University undergraduate Eden Girma and her mentor, James Guillochon, an Einstein fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, presented January 4 at the American Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in Texas, suggest that our galaxy’s massive black...        

Antarctic site promises to open a new window on the cosmos

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Antarctica might be one of the most inhospitable regions on the planet, but it is a mecca for astronomers. Its cold, dry air enables observations that can't be done elsewhere on Earth. The South Pole has hosted telescopes for decades. Show More Summary

Our Neighbor Star Proxima Centauri "Defies Expectation" --Has Magnetic Cycle Similar to the Sun

If intelligent aliens were living on Proxima Centauri's planet, Proxima b, "They would have a very dramatic view," says the lead author of a new the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) study, Brad Wargelin. In August astronomers announced that the...

Proxima Centauri might be more sunlike than we thought

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) In August astronomers announced that the nearby star Proxima Centauri hosts an Earth-sized planet (called Proxima b) in its habitable zone. At first glance, Proxima Centauri seems nothing like our sun. Show More Summary

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