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.
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
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.
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.