April 10, 2013 |
Humans are on the cusp of discovering how the universe works on its biggest and smallest scales, Stephen Hawking said during a lecture Tuesday in Los Angeles. The renowned theoretical physicist made his name studying black holes, massive structures that anchor galaxies and whose gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. But on Tuesday, he delved into the world of microscopic cell biology to see first-hand how researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute are using stem cells to develop treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the disease Hawking was diagnosed with in 1963.
March 23, 2013 |
Scientists and space junkies got some good news from NASA on Friday: The space agency announced it would keep the Hubble Space Telescope 's science operations going at least through April 30, 2016. The three-year extension will cost NASA $76 million, according to the announcement . The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore manages Hubble's science operations for NASA through a contract with the Assn. of Universities for Research in Astronomy. PHOTOS: Hubble's Brilliant Images of Space Launched in 1990 from the shuttle Discovery, Hubble has contributed to many scientific breakthroughs . My personal favorite is the 1998 discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, pushed apart by a mysterious force called dark energy.
March 16, 2013 |
Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the quasar - an extremely bright object powered by matter falling into a super-massive black hole lying in the heart of a galaxy. First found in 1963, these strange sources of radio waves initially stumped astronomers: They shone as sharply and intensely as nearby stars, but they appeared to be moving away from Earth far too fast to be in our own Milky Way. Scientists called them quasi-stellar radio sources - or quasars for short.
February 27, 2013 |
Black holes may have given up some secrets of their growth thanks to the sleuthing of two X-ray space telescopes. The findings have solved a long-standing mystery about a supermassive black hole's spin, finding that some of them can whirl very close to what the speed of light allows. NASA's X-ray telescope NuSTAR teamed up with the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton space telescope and found that the black hole anchoring nearby galaxy NGC 1365, sitting about 56 million light-years away and containing the mass of 2 million suns, is spinning at 84% of the maximum possible rate, according to a study released Wednesday in the journal Nature.
January 7, 2013 |
NASA's NuSTAR X-ray telescope is providing fresh views of oddly bright black holes and breathtaking supernovae, scientists said Monday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach. NuSTAR mission scientists released high-energy X-ray images of two strangely bright black holes in the arms of spiral galaxy IC 342 about 7 million light years away and of Cassiopeia A, the shell of an exploded star, known as a supernova, just 11,000 light years away. Since its launch last summer , the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array has been snapping shots at energies up to 79 kiloelectron volts - far beyond the roughly 10 KeV limit of other X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
December 12, 2012 |
Astronomers said Wednesday that a burst of X-rays from the galaxy Andromeda appeared to have been created by a microquasar - a black hole gobbling up material from a companion star. The discovery could help scientists study the physics of the massive black holes at the centers of galaxies, they said. Andromeda is about 2.5 million light years from Earth. The newly found microquasar, dubbed XMMU J004243.6+412519, is about the mass of 10 suns and was the first discovered outside of the Milky Way, the team said. The scientists initially detected it on Jan. 15, then continued watching it with several different telescopes that detect X-rays or radio waves.