New research suggests our galaxy contains as many as 100 billion brown dwarfs—a type of celestial object that didn’t have quite what it takes to become a full-fledged star. The finding shows just how ubiquitous brown dwarfs really are, and how many false starts are involved in the formation of new stars.
Using the ALMA telescope, astronomers have captured an exceptionally clear image of a triple protostar system still in the early stages of development. The new image is providing fresh insights into multi-star systems and how they come into existence.
An international team of astronomers has discovered a huge expanse of space near the center of the Milky Way that’s devoid of young stars. This stellar desert extends for 8,000 light-years from the galactic core—and it hasn’t produced new stars for hundreds of millions of years.
Using the VISTA telescope, astronomers in Chile have discovered a previously undetected band of young stars hidden away behind thick clouds of dust in the central bulge of the Milky Way.
The process by which stars form has been well established for decades. Then, in the 1990s, astronomers looked out on the universe and saw evidence everywhere telling them that they weren’t getting the whole picture. Stars were beginning to form, but then disappearing. How?
Multiple star systems containing two or more stars are extremely common, but astronomers aren't entirely sure how these complex systems are created. The remarkable discovery of an embryonic four-star system is providing some tantalizing clues.
Back in 1995, the Hubble telescope took an absolutely breathtaking photo of stars being formed that's now known as "Pillars of Creation." And now, 20 years later, NASA has released a couple new images of the same star formation that was taken by a new and improved Hubble last year. It's beyond breathtaking. It's…
Every time we think we have galactic dynamics figured out, the universe throws a new curveball at us. In a new image, two galaxies consumed a conspicuously-absent third. Galactic cannibalism is nothing new, but its chilling impact on star formation is.
What happens when you take observations of a gas cloud, a protostar, and a pre-star dense core of gas, and model them with turbulence? A downright hypnotizing model at how multiple star systems may form.
An international team of astronomers has identified the earliest known star in the Universe. Considered a "second generation star," it formed shortly after the Big Bang — some 13.7 billion years ago.
Astronomers have discovered the most distant galaxy yet — a celestial object whose light took an astounding 13.1 billion years to get here. It’s less than 2% the mass of the Milky Way, but it’s producing stars at a rate that’s confounding scientists.
We are about to see what happens when stars come to life. On March 13, the Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub Millimeter Array (ALMA) goes online. It's the most powerful such telescope ever built, and is part of a class of "very large telescopes" that combine the power of several massive antennae to gather information…
When I first saw these never-before-seen time-lapse videos—captured over the course of 14 years by the Hubble Space Telescope—I just couldn't believe my eyes. Hubble photos can be beautiful, but these videos just left me speechless.
The universe just isn't what it used to be. Billions of years ago, when the universe was still in its infancy, the casual observer would have seen stars forming all around him, and at a pretty rapid clip. In recent years, however (i.e. the last few billion), the rate of star formation has slowed to a fraction of its…
If you've ever wanted to see how a nebula's gas and dust can provide the fuel for stars to burst into being, check out this vibrant new Hubble Space Telescope image that hints at the volatility of the early universe.
In 2006, a NASA spacecraft returned to Earth with samples that scientists hoped might contain cosmic dust, a byproduct of star formation. They let the public look for the elusive particles online. A squinting citizen might have just found one.
A supermassive black hole is blasting a powerful jet, smashing a nearby galaxy in the system known as 3C321, NASA says. The jet's unprecedented "galactic violence" could wreak destruction on any planets in its path, and could create a burst of new stars. Image by AP/NASA.