AAS NOVA — Research Highlights 2018

Find out the latest thinking about our universe.
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Identifying Life from Varying Atmospheres

Post by bystander » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:23 pm

Identifying Life from Varying Atmospheres
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jun 22
Susanna Kohler wrote:
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. ...

Atmospheric Seasonality as an Exoplanet Biosignature - Stephanie L. Olson et al
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Peering Inside the Pillars of Creation

Post by bystander » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:46 pm

Peering Inside the Pillars of Creation
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jun 27
Susanna Kohler wrote:
On 1 April 1995, Hubble captured one of its most well-known images: a stunning photo of towering features known as the Pillars of Creation, located in the Eagle Nebula just 7,000 light-years away. A new study explores how these iconic columns are influenced by the magnetic fields within them. ...

First Observations of the Magnetic Field inside the
Pillars of Creation: Results from the BISTRO Survey
- Kate Pattle et al
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Investigating Confined Solar Flares

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:12 pm

Investigating Confined Solar Flares
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jun 29
Kerry Hensley wrote:
Solar flares are often, but not always, associated with coronal mass ejections. Why do coronal mass ejections accompany some solar flares but not others? ...

Two-stage Energy Release Process of a Confined Flare with Double HXR Peaks - Hao Ning et al
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Piecing Together the Light from Colliding Stars

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:21 pm

Piecing Together the Light from Colliding Stars
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 02
Susanna Kohler wrote:
The recent discovery of GW170817 — the first gravitational-wave detection where we also observed electromagnetic signals — has enabled new studies of merging compact objects. What have we since learned about the radiation that emerges from these collisions? ...

The Diversity of Kilonova Emission in Short Gamma-Ray Bursts - B. P. Gompertz et al
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When Giant Planets Orbit Evolved Stars

Post by bystander » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:04 pm

When Giant Planets Orbit Evolved Stars
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 06
Susanna Kohler wrote:
What happens to planets orbiting around stars that age past the main sequence and evolve into red giants? These enormous reddened stars — our Sun’s fate billions of years from now — may have significant impacts on the planet populations around them. A new study explores these impacts by looking at the orbits of gas giants closely circling evolved stars. ...

Do Close-in Giant Planets Orbiting Evolved Stars Prefer Eccentric Orbits? - Samuel K. Grunblatt et al
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Gaia Identifies a Stellar Gap

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:56 pm

Gaia Identifies a Stellar Gap
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 11
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Sometimes more-precise measurements are all we need to make new discoveries in old structures! In a new study, data from the Gaia mission has revealed a surprise hidden among main-sequence stars. ...

A Gap in the Lower Main Sequence Revealed by Gaia Data Release 2
viewtopic.php?t=38230
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When Stars Run Away

Post by bystander » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:18 pm

When Stars Run Away
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 13
Kerry Hensley wrote:
The high-energy catalogs of the Fermi Large Area Telescope contain more than a thousand gamma-ray detections that have never been connected to a source. Some of these gamma rays could stem from very exotic objects: bow shocks of runaway stars. ...

Possible Association of Two Stellar Bowshocks with Unidentified Fermi Sources - E. Sánchez-Ayaso et al
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A Rapidly Spinning Black Hole with a Warped Disk

Post by bystander » Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:55 pm

A Rapidly Spinning Black Hole with a Warped Disk
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 16
Susanna Kohler wrote:
An X-ray telescope recently installed on the International Space Station has been improving our view of distant high-energy sources, one object at a time. Now, this telescope has provided a detailed look at a black hole feeding off its companion star. ...

A NICER Spectrum of MAXI J1535-571: Near-Maximal Black Hole Spin and Potential Disk Warping - J. M. Miller et al
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Shutting Down Star Formation

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:51 pm

Shutting Down Star Formation
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 18
Susanna Kohler wrote:
At some point in a galaxy’s life, it transitions from a star-forming factory into an old, red, inactive relic. Can new observations of a recently transitioned galaxy help us understand what drives that change? ...

Stellar and Molecular Gas Rotation in a Recently Quenched Massive Galaxy at z ~ 0.7 - Qiana Hunt et al
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Searching for Exoplanets around X-ray Binaries

Post by bystander » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:52 pm

Searching for Exoplanets around X-ray Binaries
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 20
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Finding planets around ordinary stars is great, but what if we could also hunt for planets around the black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs that live in binaries with companion stars? A new study shows it’s possible! ...

Searching for Exoplanets around X-ray Binaries with Accreting White
Dwarfs, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes
- Nia Imara, Rosanne Di Stefano
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Shocks in the Solar Atmosphere

Post by bystander » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:16 pm

Shocks in the Solar Atmosphere
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 25
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Despite the Sun’s proximity, there’s still a lot we don’t know about our nearest star! A new study, however, has brought us a step closer to understanding one of its mysteries: how the solar atmosphere is heated. ...

A New Method to Comprehensively Diagnose Shock Waves in the Solar Atmosphere
Based on Simultaneous Spectroscopic and Imaging Observations
- Wenzhi Ruan et al
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Red Clump Stars and the History of the Galactic Bulge

Post by bystander » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:24 pm

Red Clump Stars and the History of the Galactic Bulge
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Jul 27
Kerry Hensley wrote:
What’s going on in the galactic bulge? The discovery of the double red clump — two groupings of stars seen in the color-magnitude diagram of the galactic bulge — has raised questions about the structure and formation history of the stars surrounding the center of our galaxy. ...

Assembling the Milky Way Bulge from Globular Clusters: Evidence from the Double Red Clump - Young-Wook Lee et al
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Growing Black Holes Within Accretion Disks

Post by bystander » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:08 pm

Growing Black Holes Within Accretion Disks
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 01
Susanna Kohler wrote:
How can stellar-mass black holes attain the large sizes we’ve recently observed in merging binaries? A recent study explores an intriguing possibility: perhaps these smaller black holes grow and collide while trapped within the accretion disks that can surround enormous supermassive black holes. ...

The Growth of Stellar Mass Black Hole Binaries Trapped
in the Accretion Disks of Active Galactic Nuclei
- Shu-Xu Yi, K.S. Cheng, Ronald E. Taam
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Exploring Imbalances in the Sun’s Magnetic Flux

Post by bystander » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:11 pm

Exploring Imbalances in the Sun’s Magnetic Flux
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 03
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Solar flares, coronal mass ejections, prominences, sunspots — the most exciting features of the Sun are all driven by complex magnetic activity within the Sun’s interior and at its surface. Indeed, observations of the Sun have long revealed regions of magnetic flux of various magnitudes and polarities across the Sun’s disk.

But it wasn’t until 1970 that scientists started measuring a different aspect of the Sun’s magnetization: its mean magnetic field. By treating the Sun like a distant star and measuring its net magnetic field by integrating across its whole disk, scientists have been able to effectively measure the imbalance in the magnetic flux of opposite polarities across its visible disk. A new study explores what might create this overall imbalance. ...

On the Variability of the Solar Mean Magnetic Field: Contributions from
Various Magnetic Features on the Surface of the Sun
- Souvik Bose, K. Nagaraju
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The Origin of the Satellite Segue 1

Post by bystander » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:20 pm

The Origin of the Satellite Segue 1
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 08
Susanna Kohler wrote:
The mysterious object Segue 1 has intrigued astronomers since it was first discovered in 2007. A new study has now measured the first proper motions for this tiny neighboring galaxy, providing clues as to how it came to be in orbit around the Milky Way. ...
The Orbit and Origin of the Ultra-faint Dwarf Galaxy Segue 1 - T. K. Fritz et al
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Dark Energy Survey Reveals Stellar Streams

Post by bystander » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:39 pm

Dark Energy Survey Reveals Stellar Streams
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 10
Kerry Hensley wrote:
Over billions of years, globular clusters and dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way have been torn apart and stretched out by tidal forces. The disruption of these ancient stellar populations results in narrow trails of stars called stellar streams. These stellar streams can help us understand how the Milky Way halo was constructed and what our galaxy’s dark matter distribution is like — but how do we find them? ...

Stellar Streams Discovered in the Dark Energy Survey - N. Shipp et al
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Could Binary Mergers Help Us Find Intelligent Life?

Post by bystander » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:03 pm

Could Binary Mergers Help Us Find Intelligent Life?
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 13
Susanna Kohler wrote:
How do we find extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) — not just life beyond Earth, but advanced extraterrestrial civilizations? One approach is to seek signals from ETI that may be attempting to communicate with us — but the problem of where, when, and how to look for such communications is a complex one. A new study explores one way we could optimize this hunt: by searching for communication signals that are synchronized with the merger of two neutron stars. ...

The Search for Extra-Galactic Intelligence Signals Synchronized with Binary Neutron Star Mergers ~ Yuki Nishino, Naoki Seto
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Microwaves from Solar Flares

Post by bystander » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:09 pm

Microwaves from Solar Flares
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 15
Susanna Kohler wrote:
The Sun is a rather well-studied star, so it’s always exciting when we get the opportunity to observe it in a new way. One such opportunity is upcoming, via the Parker Solar Probe that just launched last week. But while we wait for that new view of the Sun, we have another one to examine: the Sun in microwaves. ...

Microwave and Hard X-Ray Observations of the 2017 September 10 Solar Limb Flare ~ Dale E. Gary et al
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Planet Formation Caught in the Act

Post by bystander » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:31 pm

Planet Formation Caught in the Act
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 17
Susanna Kohler wrote:
The gas giant PDS 70b made headlines last month as the first newly forming planet to ever be directly imaged. Now a team of scientists has gone a step further: they’ve captured evidence that this planet is actively accreting material, and they’ve measured the rate at which it’s growing. ...

Magellan Adaptive Optics Imaging of PDS 70: Measuring the Mass
Accretion Rate of a Young Giant Planet within a Gapped Disk
~ Kevin Wagner et al viewtopic.php?t=38435
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Measuring Microlensing from Space

Post by bystander » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:14 pm

Measuring Microlensing from Space
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 24
Kerry Hensley wrote:
The gravity of massive galaxies can warp the light from distant background sources into dramatic shapes. Gravitational lensing by foreground stars, planets, and other low-mass objects may be less visually stunning, but these tiny lensing events hold big promise. ...

OGLE-2016-BLG-1045: A Test of Cheap Space-Based Microlens Parallaxes ~ I.-G. Shin et al
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Habitable Moons Instead of Habitable Planets?

Post by bystander » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:14 pm

Habitable Moons Instead of Habitable Planets?
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Aug 29
Susanna Kohler wrote:
One of the primary goals of exoplanet-hunting missions like Kepler is to discover Earth-like planets in their hosts’ habitable zones. But could there be other relevant worlds to look for? A new study has explored the possibility of habitable moons around giant planets. ...

Exploring Kepler Giant Planets in the Habitable Zone ~ Michelle L. Hill et al
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Black Hole Mergers Through Cosmic Time

Post by bystander » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:03 pm

Black Hole Mergers Through Cosmic Time
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Sep 07
Kerry Hensley wrote:
The advent of gravitational-wave astrophysics has made possible the study of elusive cosmic phenomena — like the mysterious merging of stellar-mass black holes. ...

Does the Black Hole Merger Rate Evolve with Redshift? ~ Maya Fishbach, Daniel E. Holz, Will M. Farr
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Surprise Discovery of a 14-Year-Old Supernova

Post by bystander » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:10 pm

Surprise Discovery of a 14-Year-Old Supernova
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Sep 12
Susanna Kohler wrote:
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. ...

Serendipitous Discovery of a 14 year old Supernova at 16 Mpc ~ James Guillochon et al
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New Detections of the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole

Post by bystander » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:32 pm

New Detections of the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Sep 14
Susanna Kohler wrote:
A supermassive black hole lurks at the center of our galaxy — and we’re still trying to understand its structure and behavior. Now scientists have made new detections of Sgr A* in far infrared, helping us to further piece together a picture of this monster. ...

A Detection of Sgr A* in the Far Infrared ~ Sebastiano D. von Fellenberg et al
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Support for Today’s Reality of Astronomy Data

Post by bystander » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:23 pm

Support for Today’s Reality of Astronomy Data
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2018 Sep 19
Susanna Kohler wrote:
One of the greatest misconceptions about astronomy as a profession is that we all sit alone in front of a telescope eyepiece every night, gazing at the stars. In reality, today’s observational astronomy is collaborative — and it takes the form of ones and zeros on a computer. ...

The Astropy Project: Building an Open-Science Project and Status of the v2.0 Core Package ~ Astropy Collaboration
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