New Models Let Us Dive Into One of The Brightest Star Explosions We’ve Ever Seen

A star that exploded into brightness nearly 200 years ago can now be explored in glorious, multi-wavelength detail. In a new video, a team of scientists modeled the Homunculus Nebula around the star Eta Carinae in three dimensions, enabling insight into this incredible event.   The binary system Eta Carinae started erupting in the late … Read more

‘Cow’ supernova is brightest ever seen in X-ray observations

Astronomers have spotted the brightest “Cow” supernova ever seen in X-rays, providing shining new evidence that the recently discovered phenomenon might be driven by an emerging black hole or a neutron star.  Cow supernovae are a newly-labeled subclass of the explosive events, which occur when giant stars reach the end of their lives; they run … Read more

Some black holes are anything but black – and we’ve found more than 75,000 of the brightest ones

Researchers have found over 75,000 of the brightest black holes. (Image credit: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray), CC BY-SA) This article was originally published at The Conversation. When the most massive stars die, they collapse to form some of the densest objects known in the Universe: black holes. They are the … Read more

The brightest planets in January’s night sky: How to see them (and when)

The new year begins with four of the five naked-eye planets strung out along a crooked diagonal line measuring nearly 40 degrees above the south-southwest horizon an hour after sunset.  Your clenched fist held at arm’s length measures 10 degrees, so these four planets — in this order: Venus, Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter — will … Read more