Cepheid variable stars are helping astronomers see what our galaxy looks like from within.
Thanks to the help of the general public, astronomers have discovered a new signature marking a hidden phase of star formation.
The gaseous object G2 has survived its swing around the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole, but the questions of what it is and where it comes from remain unanswered.
Astronomers have mapped the cosmic watershed and discovered a massive supercluster that extends more than 500 million light-years and contains 100,000 large galaxies. The Milky Way sits on the edge of this humongous structure.
New analyses suggest that observations heralded as evidence for the universe’s brief growth spurt don’t conclusively show what researchers thought they did.
The ESA's Planck mission has released one of the most detailed maps of the Milky Way's magnetic field.
Astronomers have discovered hot, young stars in the Leading Arm of the Magellanic Stream, calling the history of the Magellanic Clouds once again into question.
A new study finds the space surrounding dwarf galaxies in the nearby universe to be shockingly pristine.
Evidence from observations and computer simulations supports a picture of galaxy growth that isn't dominated by the rough-and-tumble crashes of big galaxies. Instead, most of the universe's stellar metropolises appear to feed themselves with nibbles instead of feasts.
Astronomers continue to debate whether our home galaxy has big arms and some smaller appendages — or, as new results suggest, four major arms.
New 3D maps of the Milky Way's central bulge of stars show a distinctively peanut-like shape. The maps give clues about how our galaxy evolved to its present-day form.
The Milky Way's central supermassive black hole eats only a fraction of the gas available to it. New X-ray observations suggest how the beast manages to stay so trim when faced with a feast.
New observations solve the origins of a long rivulet of gas encircling the Milky Way.
A pulsar discovered last April is helping astronomers measure the magnetic field surrounding our galaxy’s central black hole.
Time and tide wait for no man. So the XMM-Newton space telescope is making every second count. As the telescope shifts its gaze from source to source, it's recording the X-ray sky.
Astronomers around the world are watching as the gaseous object called G2 heads for a close pass around the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole. Now it looks like the distended cloud is starting to swing back toward us.
The Cat's Paw Nebula is home to many bright, young stars. But thousands of fainter stars concealed behind dust reveal themselves in a new infrared image.
Astronomers have been waiting for our galaxy’s slumbering supermassive black hole to stir for a snack. Instead, the universe handed them a different treat.
Observations of Milky Way’s chaotic center show hints of stars forming just two light-years away from our galaxy’s supermassive black hole.
Astronomers investigating a supernova remnant see nothing but swirls of gas. The lack of stellar remains means the explosion must have birthed a black hole only 1,000 years ago.
New observations of spaghetti-thin clouds, faraway star-forming regions and mysterious magnetic fields are revealing the hard-to-see structure of the galaxy we call home.
New microwave and radio observations resurrect controversy over gigantic lobes seen ballooning from the Milky Way’s center.
Astronomers have discovered an unexpected explanation for why they can only find a small fraction of the satellite galaxies the Milky Way is supposed to have.
Our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole emits regular, mysterious X-ray flares. For the first time, NASA’s newest sharp-eyed telescope has captured a high-energy view of the action.
The Orion Nebula hosts a well studied star cluster, the gold standard by which astronomers measure all other clusters. New research suggests that this benchmark might need to be revised.