Astronomers see Tantalizing Evidence for one of the First Stars to Form in the Universe

According to the predominant cosmological model, the first stars in the Universe formed roughly 100,000 years after the Big Bang. Known as Population III stars, these early stellar masses were very large, short-lived, and contained virtually no metals or heavier elements. Over time, elements like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and iron formed in their interiors through … Read more

How massive stars steal planets

This article was originally published at The Conversation. (opens in new tab) The contributed the article to’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Richard Parker (opens in new tab)Lecturer in Astrophysics, University of Sheffield Our sun has a rather lonely existence in the Milky Way galaxy. It sits on its own, four light years away … Read more

How do astronomers measure stars in a three-dimensional sky?

Anyone interested in astronomy realizes that the stars are scattered through three-dimensional space and not, as the ancients thought, points of light affixed to a celestial sphere. The night sky has often appeared to many as a kind of ceiling or vault. Stars in general are distributed randomly in space. Their various patterns and configurations … Read more

JWST spots ‘Sparkler Galaxy’ that could host universe’s 1st stars

The first science-quality image revealed from NASA’s newest space telescope contained a hidden treasure in the form of a sparking distant galaxy surrounded by dense clusters that could contain some of the universe’s first stars. That image, the first deep-field image from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), offered a stunning array of galaxies. And … Read more

3D print the cosmos: An interview with the authors of ‘Stars in Your Hand’

As astronomers continue to peer deeper into the cosmos thanks to new technologies like the James Webb Space Telescope, deep space has never felt closer. Still, looking at a two-dimensional image isn’t quite like getting the chance to get up close and personal with the many wondrous objects spread out throughout the universe. For many … Read more

Rare Neptune-size exoplanets may face solar superstorms from stars

The discovery of a Neptune-sized exoplanet in orbit around a hot and bright giant star may help explain why the discovery of such worlds is rare. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered a Neptune-sized planet orbiting a massive, bright star. The gas giant planet, named HD 56414 b , is being stripped … Read more

Brightest stars in the night sky can strip Neptune-sized planets to their rocky cores

Artist’s concept of a Neptune-sized planet, left, around a blue, A-type star. UC Berkeley astronomers have discovered a hard-to-find gas giant around one of these bright, but short-lived, stars, right at the edge of the hot Neptune desert where the star’s strong radiation likely strips any giant planet of its gas. Credit: Steven Giacalone, UC … Read more

Red Supergiant Stars Bubble and Froth so much that their Position in the Sky Seems to Dance Around

Making a 3D map of our galaxy would be easier if some stars behaved long enough to get good distances to them. However, red supergiants are the frisky kids on the block when it comes to pinning down their exact locations. That’s because they appear to dance around, which makes pinpointing their place in space … Read more

A Dying Star’s Last Act was to Destroy all Its Planets

When white dwarfs go wild, their planets suffer through the resulting chaos. The evidence shows up later in and around the dying star’s atmosphere after it gobbles up planetary and cometary debris. That’s the conclusion a team of UCLA astronomers came to after studying the nearby white dwarf G238-44 in great detail. They found a … Read more