Tag Archives: galactic

Galactic Wheel of Life Shines in Infrared

It might look like a spoked wheel or even a “Chakram” weapon wielded by warriors like “Xena,” from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1291. Though the galaxy is quite old, roughly 12 billion years, it is marked by an unusual ring where newborn stars are igniting. (more…)

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Hungry Black Hole

Astronomers poised for galactic chow-down

The super-massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy has a healthy appetite, frequently snacking on asteroids and comets. Now, a cloud of gas and dust called G2 is on a dangerous course to become its next meal.

Even though Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”) hasn’t been easy to see through the cosmic dust, sitting 25,000 light years away at galaxy central, scientists know it is a black hole — and a hungry one at that. Its weight has been estimated to be more than that of 4 million suns. (more…)

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Black Hole at Milky Way Core Powers Galaxy’s Fastest Stars

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The black hole at the center of the galaxy is to blame for sling-shotting “hypervelocity stars” out of the Milky Way at up to 1.8 million miles per hour, according to new evidence from research involving a University of Michigan astronomer. 

Hypervelocity stars, discovered about five years ago, are the fastest stars astronomers have ever observed. They are escaping the galaxy at beyond what was thought to be its stellar speed limit.

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