The Well Balanced Universe


Astronomy News


Distant quasar shows up gross error in standard cosmological model
Astronomers have discovered a distant quasar illuminating a vast nebula of diffuse gas, containing far more normal matter than predicted by the current cosmological model. Researchers at the University of California led the study, published in Nature. 20 Jan 2014


Remote gravitational lens casts shadow over theory of galaxy evolution
The discovery of the most distant gravitational lens — a galaxy that intensifies the light of an even more distant object — poses a mystery that could challenge current ideas of how galaxies formed. 24 Nov 2013

Astronomers discover most distant known galaxy
A team of astronomers has discovered a galaxy at a distance of 13.1 billion light years and a redshift of 7.5, and it is surprisingly evolved for such a short time after the big bang, posing problems for theorists. 23 Nov 2013

Super-bright supernovae may be powered by Magnetars
New light has been shed on the rarest and brightest exploding stars ever discovered in the universe. Research proposes that super-luminous supernovae are powered by small and incredibly dense neutron stars called magnetars. 23 Nov 2013

Hope for astronomers stumped by 'flyby anomoly'
A mystery that has stumped scientists for decades might be one step closer to solution after ESA tracking stations carefully recorded signals from the Juno spacecraft as it swung by Earth. 23 Nov 2013

The biggest structure in the universeBiggest structure in the universe challenges modern cosmology
An international team of astronomers, led by academics from the University of Central Lancashire, has found the largest known structure in the universe. This large quasar group (LQG) is some 4 billion years across and not predicted by modern theory. 7 Feb 2013


Earliest spiral galaxy ever seen 'should not exist'
Astronomers have discovered a spiral galaxy in the early universe, billions of years before spiral galaxies should have formed. Astronomers discovered it while studying the properties of about 300 very distant galaxies in the early universe using the Hubble Space Telescope. 13 Dec 2012

The impossible arc'Impossible' galactic arc threatens age of universe
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found a puzzling arc of light behind an extremely massive cluster of galaxies that are 10 billion light-years away. The trouble is an arc at that distance and age shouldn't exist. 1 July 2012

Neutron starNeutron star surface explosions captured in detail
In October 2010, a  neutron star near the centre of our galaxy erupted with hundreds of X-ray bursts powered by a barrage of thermonuclear explosions on its surface. NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) captured the month-long display in extreme detail giving a unique insight into the phenomenon. 23 May 2012

One of the distant galaxiesMissing matter puzzle partially solved
When all the gas and dust contained in ordinary galaxies like our own Milky Way is added up astronomers cannot find nearly enough matter for stars to form at the observed rates for long. As a partial solution, a matter cycle on gigantic scales has been proposed. In the nearby universe, traces of this mechanism had already been found. Now, a study in distant galaxies confirms a key part of this galactic recycling process. 23 May 2012


Illustration of the Hubble survey dataNew measurement of the Hubble constant
A PhD student at the University of Western Australia has produced one of the most accurate measurements ever made of how fast the Universe is expanding using a new method to calculate the Hubble constant. 8 August 2011

Void alternative to dark energy may be ruled out
Astronomers using data from the Hubble Space Telescope may have ruled out one alternative theory to dark energy after recalculating the expansion rate of the universe to unprecedented accuracy. 10 July 2011

The gamma ray burstGamma-ray burst 'only 520 million years after big bang'
A cosmic explosion first detected in April 2009 is a candidate for the most distant object in the universe. At an estimated 13.14 billion light years, it lies far beyond any known quasar and could be more distant than any previously known galaxy or gamma-ray burst.  10 July 2011

Ancient galaxy clustersGalaxy cluster in 'early' universe is unexpectedly mature
Astronomers using the Very Large Telescope in Chile have proved that a galaxy cluster with ancient galaxies and stars existed a mere three billion years after the big bang.
10 July 2011

Star formationFirst stars study contradicts big bang
Contrary to current thinking by big bang theorists, the first stars in the universe were not all solitary and massive. Rather, they probably formed alongside numerous companions when the gas disks that surrounded them broke up during formation, giving birth to sibling stars of various masses in the fragments. 25 March 2011

massive galaxy that goes against theories of universe agePredictions at fault over time of massive galaxy formation
The most massive galaxies may have formed billions of years earlier than current scientific models predict, according to surprising new research. The results appear to disagree with the latest predictions of galaxy formation and evolution. 3 January 2011

Neutron star pulsesDiscovery of massive neutron star challenges theories of super-dense matter
Astronomers of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) have discovered the most massive neutron star ever seen. This discovery, made using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia, has strong and wide-ranging implications across several fields of physics and astrophysics. 3 January 2011


Artist's impression of Westerlund 1New challenge to theory of black hole formation
Astronomers from Europe , using the Very Large Telescope in Chile, have for the first time demonstrated that a magnetar — an unusual type of neutron star — was formed from a star that started its life with at least 40 times as much mass as the Sun. 27 October 2010

Pulsar eclipses reveal clues to ultra-dense matter
The first fast X-ray pulsar to be eclipsed by a companion star has been discovered by astronomers using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). Future studies of this unique stellar system will shed light on some of the most compressed matter in the universe and test a key prediction of Einstein's relativity theory. 8 Sept 2010

Most distant galaxy cluster resembles those in nearby universe
A team of astronomers, using the Spitzer Space Telescope, has uncovered what may be the most distant cluster of galaxies ever detected. However, it’s not the size nor the age of the cluster that amazes the team of researchers. Rather, it’s the surprisingly modern appearance of CLG J02182-05102 that has them baffled. 24 June 2010

Latest supernova surveys fail to resolve problems with dark energy
An international consortium called The Supernova Cosmology Project has announced what it calls the 'Union2' compilation of hundreds of supernovae type 1a, the largest collection ever of high-quality data from numerous surveys that are searching for and studying this particular type of stellar explosion. 24 June 2010

Hubble image of the Hickson compact groupMerging galaxies pose challenge to concept of evolving universe
New images by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show a group of small, ancient galaxies are just beginning the long process of merging together to form a large elliptical galaxy. Astronomers expect such encounters to only occur very early on in a universe that is evolving from an explosive beginning. 15 March 2010

Too few galaxies in early Universe
Five international teams of astronomers studying data from Hubble's new infrared camera, the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) have unexpectedly found that the density of galaxies in space decreases with distance. 15 March 2010

Image of PlutoRemarkable changes on Pluto witnessed by Hubble
NASA has released dramatic pictures taken with the Hubble Space Telescope that show differences over a two-year period. Astronomers were not expecting to find such obvious alterations to the surface structure over so short a period compared to its orbital period of 248 years. 15 March 2010

The Hubble imageDeepest Hubble image surprises astronomers
The Hubble Space Telescope has made the deepest image of the universe ever by using near-infrared light. The light from the furthest objects in the image has taken an incredible 13.1 billion years to reach us, a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang. 15 Feb 2010

Millions of hours of expensive supercomputer time used to prop up big bang model.
By making computer simulations of cosmic explosions big enough and frequent enough it was possible to generate galaxies with substantially lower densities at their cores, closely matching the observed properties of dwarf galaxies. 12 Feb 2010

SaturnHubble captures stunning images of double aurora on Saturn.
Stunning new images taken by the Hubble space telescope have given a once in a lifetime view of the fluttering aurorae that light up both of Saturn's poles. The observations have allowed researchers to monitor the behaviour of both Saturn's poles in the same shot over a sustained period of time. 12 Feb 2010

New views of Orion Nebula
New images taken by the world's largest infrared telescope have revealed new details of the Orion Nebula. The images taken by the European Southern Observatory's new VISTA survey telescope reveal many of its hidden secrets.

An artists impression of the black holeFurthest stellar mass black hole ever found
Astronomers have detected a stellar-mass black hole much farther away than any other previously known — 6 million light years. With a mass above fifteen times that of the Sun, this is also the second most massive stellar-mass black hole ever found. 12 Feb 2010


Go out and see Comet Lulin!
Comet Lulin is currently moving past the bright star Spica in Virgo and is just about visible with the unaided eye from a dark-sky site. Its brightness will peak on 24 February. 17 February 2009

Cosmologists simulate early universe
Scientists have used a computer simulation to predict what the very early Universe could have appeared like 500 million years after a big bang. 
The images, produced by scientists at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, show the formation of the first big galaxies in the Universe. 12 February 2009

Astronomers discover cosmic dust fountain
Astronomers at the University of Toledo have observed a double-star system that displays all the characteristics that astronomers suspect are associated with dust production. 12 Feb 2009

NASA's great observatories celebrate International Year of Astronomy
In conjunction with Galileo's birthday on Feb. 15, NASA is releasing images from its Great Observatories — the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory — to more than 100 planetariums, museums, nature centres, and schools across the US. 12 February 2009

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