Great balls of fire! The Hubble Space Telescope has detected superhot blobs of gas, each twice as massive as the planet Mars, being ejected near a dying star. The plasma balls are zooming so fast through space that they would travel from Earth to the moon in 30 minutes. This stellar "cannon fire" has continued once every 8.5 years for at least the past 400 years, astronomers estimate. The fireballs present a puzzle to astronomers because the ejected material could not have been shot out by the host star, called V Hydrae. The star is a bloated red giant, residing 1,200 light-years away, which has probably shed at least half of its mass into space during its death throes.
Astronomy: How black hole obscures itself
Nature 538, 7623 (2016). doi:10.1038/538009a
A supermassive black hole at the core of a distant galaxy is hiding in a cloak of its own making.Supermassive black holes are shrouded by doughnut-shaped rings of gas and dust, but scientists are not sure where these come from. A team led by
Astronomy: Magnetism drives star birth
Nature 538, 7623 (2016). doi:10.1038/538008b
Magnetic fields regulate how stars are born from massive clouds of interstellar gas.A team led by Francesco Fontani at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory in Florence, Italy, used high-resolution data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in northern Chile to create detailed maps of
Daring Chinese telescope is poised to transform astronomy
Nature 537, 7622 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/537593a
Author: David Cyranoski
Construction of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) is complete, but debugging has only just begun.
Dark matter: What's the matter?
Author: Jeff Hecht
The leading theory of dark matter is running out of room to hide.
Dark energy: Staring into darkness
Author: Stephen Battersby
The path to understanding dark energy begins with a single question: has it always been the same throughout the history of the Universe?
Astronomy: Early star-forming gas found
Nature 537, 7622 (2016). doi:10.1038/537589c
Astronomers have identified distant gas-rich galaxies that probably caused the Universe's rate of star formation to peak some 10 billion years ago.Several teams used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile to probe a well-studied patch of sky called the 'Hubble Ultra