black holes, neutron stars, pulsars

Frightening Brightening Candles

Studies using X-ray and ultraviolet observations from NASA’s Swift satellite provide new insights into the elusive origins of an important class of exploding star called Type Ia supernovae. These explosions, which can outshine their galaxy…


Put your glasses on

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found several examples of galaxies containing quasars, which act as gravitational lenses, amplifying and distorting images of galaxies aligned behind them. Quasars are among the brightest objects in…


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Super. Massive. Impressive.

This image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows the center of our Galaxy, with a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) in the center. Using intermittent observations over several years,…


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A Christmas Riddle

How did the Christmas gamma-ray burst explode? No, it’s not a geeky Christmas cracker joke, it’s a real question scientists have been trying to answer since Christmas day last year, when a gamma-ray burst called…


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A slow rotator

With the holiday season in full swing, a new image from an assembly of telescopes has revealed an unusual cosmic ornament. Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton have been combined to discover…


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One – ummm two – heavy mamas

Observational work conducted over the past few decades indicates that all massive galaxies have supermassive black holes at their centres. Although the luminosities and brightness fluctuations of quasars in the early Universe suggest that some…


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Let’s examine a grain of sand on the Moon….

A team of scientists has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to observe a quasar accretion disc — a brightly glowing disc of matter that is slowly being sucked into its galaxy’s central black hole….