Milky Way

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Our Galaxy Might See a 'Spectacular Death'

The 'supergiant' star Betelgeuse is getting dimmer

(Newser) - Keep your telescope handy: Betelgeuse might be about to blow. Astronomers say the "supergiant" star, which sits 650 light-years away, is at its dimmest in about a century—meaning we could witness our galaxy's first supernova in the telescopic era, Science Alert reports. "It kept getting fainter,... More »

This Black Hole Can't Exist. And There It Is

LB-1 is way more massive than other stellar black holes in our galaxy

(Newser) - A stellar black hole, 70 times the mass of our sun? Not likely, experts said—and yet, there it is. A group of Chinese-led scientists have spotted this "monster" black hole some 15,000 light-years away and dubbed it LB-1, the Washington Post reports. "Black holes of such... More »

Star Will 'Die All Alone' After Being 'Evicted' by Black Hole

Launched from Milky Way center, S5-HVS1 is going so fast it won't ever be able to get back to our galaxy

(Newser) - A "serendipitous discovery" has been made, and it's an exciting but bittersweet one. Five million years ago, a star got too close to what Space.com calls the Milky Way's "heart of darkness"—a supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A* — and got hurled away... More »

There's a Weirdly Huge Hole Out There

And one scientist thinks she knows what happened

(Newser) - There's a massive hole in the outskirts of the Milky Way, and no one knows what caused it—but one scientist has an idea. "The on-sky morphology suggests a recent, close encounter with a massive and dense perturber," says Harvard scientist Ana Bonaca in a new presentation... More »

Alien Presence Found in Our Galaxy

It's tucked away in the Big Dipper

(Newser) - Believe in alien life? Try an alien star. There's one in the Big Dipper with a chemical composition unlike any other known star in our galaxy, Space.com reports. Located roughly 60,000 light-years away , the star lacks metals like magnesium but is high in Europium, meaning its chemical... More »

We May Soon See Something 'No Human Has Ever Seen'

Scientists may reveal photo of Sagittarius A* black hole in Milky Way

(Newser) - Mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 10: You won't want to miss the chance to possibly see "something no human has ever seen before." That's how Popular Mechanics is framing the big reveal scientists are expected to make—a photo of Sagittarius A*, a black hole... More »

Our Milky Way Is Headed Toward a Violent 'Merger'

But we've got about 2 billion years to prepare

(Newser) - It'll be a fireworks show for the ages, but you won't be around to see it. Consider that a blessing in disguise: The display expected by astrophysicists at Durham University in the UK will only come as a nearby galaxy smashes into our own in about 2 billion... More »

Milky Way's Center Is a Black Hole 'Farm'

Researchers believe there are thousands

(Newser) - The center of our galaxy is teeming with black holes, sort of like a Times Square for strange super-gravity objects, astronomers have discovered. For decades, scientists theorized that circling in the center of galaxies, including ours, were lots of stellar black holes, collapsed giant stars where the gravity is so... More »

Nonstop Artificial Light Might Even Affect Your Bones

In a new study, mice became more frail, but only temporarily

(Newser) - Roughly one-third of the globe can no longer see the Milky Way thanks to artificial light at night. The impact of light pollution has long been obvious, but scientists are now exploring the role of constant exposure to light on health, and a study in the journal Current Biology adds... More »

1 in 3 Humans Can No Longer See the Milky Way

In the US, 99% of people live under light-polluted night skies

(Newser) - One in three humans can no longer see the Milky Way from their home, according to a paper published Friday in Science Advances . "We've lost some of our view into the cosmos," Chris Elvidge tells NPR . Elvidge, along with other researchers, created a updated "world atlas"... More »

Milky Way Is a 'Galactic Lightweight'

Same-sized neighbor Andromeda has twice the mass

(Newser) - If our galaxy were a boxer, it would have just slipped down a few weight classes—and would be no match for our neighbor Andromeda. New research has revealed that the Milky Way, while still mind-bogglingly vast, is only around half the weight of the Andromeda galaxy, which is about... More »

How Dark Matter Could End Life on Earth

By hurling comets at our planet: Harvard study

(Newser) - Dark matter seems to hold galaxies snugly together across the universe—but it could also hurl comets at Earth and threaten our entire species, according to a new study . This is based on a theory that there's a huge disk of dark matter lying on the central plane of... More »

We're About to Map the Milky Way

One of 'most ambitious space missions ever' begins

(Newser) - While you were sleeping, a truly massive undertaking got under way, one that the BBC terms "one of the most ambitious space missions in history." Europe's Gaia satellite—which has been two decades in the making—launched at 4:12am EST today, setting it on a course... More »

There Are Billions of Earth-Like Planets in Our Galaxy

At least 8.8 billion planets like ours in the Milky Way, study finds

(Newser) - Space is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone—not too hot and not too cold... More »

Scientists Spot 'Precursor to Life' in Deep Space

Milky Way chemical could help seed planetary life

(Newser) - Astronomers have spotted hints of a precursor to chemical to life about 1,000 light-years away, LiveScience reports. Detected in a star-forming region of the Milky Way, the chemical—called hydroxylamine—is theoretically able to mix with other compounds, form amino acids, and seed other planets with life. "It'... More »

Earth-Like Planet Spotted

KOI 172.02 orbits star like our sun

(Newser) - Less than two weeks after astronomers predicted they would find an Earth-like planet some time in 2013, the feat may have already been accomplished. Scientists this week announced at the 221st meeting of American Astronomical Society that the Kepler telescope has found a "super-Earth" whose radius is 1.5... More »

Milky Way Has 17B Planets the Size of Ours

And that's a conservative estimate

(Newser) - Before we start feeling too special about our home planet, scientists have a message: There are at least 17 billion planets the size of Earth in the Milky Way alone, Space.com reports. About 17% of our galaxy's stars have Earth-size exoplanets closely orbiting them—so 100 billion stars... More »

Milky Way: Home to 100B+ Planets

New study comes up with conservative estimate

(Newser) - Scientists have done a sort of "cosmic census," completing a new study that finds the Milky Way galaxy is home to 100 billion alien planets—and maybe even many more than that. "It's a staggering number, if you think about it," says the lead author.... More »

Prediction: We'll Discover 1st 'Earth Twin' in 2013

With 50B planets in Milky Way, astronomers think big discovery looms

(Newser) - With more than 800 exoplanets identified since 1995, many astronomers are predicting that 2013 will be the year that the first truly Earth-like planet is spotted, reports Space . Scientists have gotten ever closer to finding an alien Earth in recent years, identifying several in the right temperature range and others... More »

Bye-Bye, Milky Way —in Just 4B Years

Andromeda galaxy will smash into it

(Newser) - Our Milky Way is on a crash course with the (relatively) nearby Andromeda galaxy, and the two are scheduled to smash into each other—in just 4 billion years, reports the Christian Science Monitor . Actually, the two galaxies will collide three times over the following 2 billion years, eventually forming... More »

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