Author Archives: AAS Nova

A New Look at the Solar Corona

The hot, tenuous solar corona is visible during a total solar eclipse, and astronomers have long studied the structure and dynamics of the ghostly coronal streamers. Now, a special observing campaign has allowed us to see the corona in unprecedented detail.

Surprise Discovery of a 14-Year-Old Supernova

Much of today’s astronomy happens via methodical searches, but sometimes serendipitous discoveries still surprise us. Such is the case with the transient CGS2004A, a possible supernova recently detected in a galaxy nearly 50 million light-years away.

Planet Formation Caught in the Act

A team of scientists has captured evidence that PDS 70b, the first directly imaged instance of early planet formation, is actively accreting material, and they’ve measured the rate at which it’s growing.

When Giant Planets Orbit Evolved Stars

A new study explores the impacts of stars that age past the main sequence and evolve into red giants on the planets orbiting around them by looking at the orbits of gas giants closely circling evolved stars.

Identifying Life from Varying Atmospheres

There’s no hiding — changes in Earth’s atmosphere over the seasons are a dead giveaway to the fact that Earth hosts life. Now a new study explores whether we might use atmospheric seasonality like Earth’s to detect life on other planets. Looking for Change Most of the searches for life beyond our planet focus on…

Disentangling the History of the Magellanic Clouds

The Magellanic Clouds — two nearby dwarf galaxies easily visible to the naked eye in the southern hemisphere — are key to understanding the dynamics and evolution of the Local Group of galaxies. Can an in-depth look at these galaxies’ outer regions help us make sense of their complicated interaction history?

The Fate of Exomoons when Planets Scatter

Planet interactions are thought to be common as solar systems are first forming and settling down. A new study suggests that these close encounters could have a significant impact on the moons of giant exoplanets — and they may generate a large population of free-floating exomoons.

An Eccentric Planet Skims a Giant Star

As part of a major survey of evolved stars, scientists have discovered the most eccentric planet known to orbit a giant. What can we learn from this unusual object before it’s eventually consumed by its host?

Hubble’s View of Little Blue Dots

The recent discovery of a new type of tiny, star-forming galaxy is the latest in a zoo of detections shedding light on our early universe. What can we learn from the unique “little blue dots” found in archival Hubble data?

More Planets in the Hyades Cluster

A few weeks ago, Astrobites reported on a Neptune-sized planet discovered orbiting a star in the Hyades cluster. A separate study submitted at the same time, however, reveals that there may be even more planets lurking in this system.

Which of Kepler’s Stars Flare?

The habitability of distant exoplanets is dependent upon many factors — one of which is the activity of their host stars. To learn about which stars are most likely to flare, a recent study examines tens of thousands of stellar flares observed by Kepler. Need for a Broader Sample Most of our understanding of what…

When a Star and a Binary Meet

What happens in the extreme environments of globular clusters when a star and a binary system meet? A team of scientists has new ideas about how these objects can deform, change their paths, spiral around each other, and merge.

Globular Clusters for Faint Galaxies

The origin of ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) has posed a long-standing mystery for astronomers. New observations of several of these faint giants with the Hubble Space Telescope are now lending support to one theory.

Exploring the Minispiral at the Milky Way’s Center

The region around Sgr A*, the 4-million-solar-mass black hole at the heart of our galaxy, is a complex and dynamic place. New Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observations of the Milky Way’s center now reveal more about this harsh, inhospitable environment.