Astronomy

This graphic features an artist’s impression of a star found in the closest orbit known around a black hole. This discovery was made using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (shown in the inset where low, medium, and high-energy X-rays are colored red, green, and blue respectively), plus NASA’s NuSTAR telescope and the Australia Telescope Compact Array. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/University of Alberta/A.Bahramian et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

An international team of astronomers has observed evidence of a star that whips around a black hole at a rate of nearly twice an hour. If confirmed, the finding could demonstrate the tightest orbital dance between a black hole and a companion star ever seen.

galaxy radiates black hole

The massive black hole shown at left in this drawing is able to rapidly grow as intense radiation from a galaxy nearby shuts down star-formation in its host galaxy. Illustration Courtesy of John Wise, Georgia Tech

The appearance of supermassive black holes at the dawn of the universe has puzzled astronomers since their discovery more than a decade ago.

Columbia faculty Presidential Early Career Awardees

Left: Marcel Agüeros. Right: Antonius Dieker. Photo by Timothy Lee Photographers

Marcel Agüeros, assistant professor of Astronomy, and Antonius “Ton” Dieker, associate professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and a member of the Data Science

Three Columbia astrophysicists are celebrating a major scientific discovery – the detection of gravitational waves.

Astronomy Students Rooftop Variables Program Columbia University

Rings of Saturn, moons of Jupiter, the constellation Cassiopeia. Young students are reaching for the stars and planets, with Columbia’s help.

Sean Solomon, director of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has been leading NASA’s MESSENGER mission to Mercury for the last four years. MESSENGER is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

The moon

Photo courtesy of NASA

For years, Arlin Crotts has been an iconoclast among his peers in the world of lunar science.

Image: NASA/A. Fujii

Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century Polish astronomer and mathematician, wasn’t the first to suggest that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe—the idea originated with the ancient Greeks—but he was the first to prove it with a mathematical theorem.

coronal hole

Picture of the sun with a coronal hole (the large dark region at the bottom). Credit: NASA

Daniel Wolf Savin and Michael Hahn have been fascinated by the universe since they were boys.

When astronauts go on a mission, they are allowed to take one or two personal items with them. On his first space flight in 2002, Michael Massimino (ENG’84) took a Columbia Engineering School flag.

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