News Media

Synopsis: Tidal Disruption of a Star (N. Stone and A. Loeb)

February 9, 2012

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Swift

The cores of most galaxies are thought to harbor black holes with masses of a million or more suns. But many remain unseen until an unlucky star passes too close and is pulled apart by tidal forces. The stellar debris gathers into a disk and spirals towards the black hole in the center. As it does, it may form a jet of material that beams high-energy light like a flashlight. Last spring, the Swift satellite measured a flare of x rays and gamma rays from a distant galaxy that has the hallmarks of such a jet that happens to point right at us.... Read more about Synopsis: Tidal Disruption of a Star (N. Stone and A. Loeb)

Tough Science: Five Experiments as Hard as Finding the Higgs - feature Astronomy Alumni

January 10, 2012

This article appeared in Nature magazine entitled "Tough Science: Five Experiments as Hard as Finding the Higgs," by science writer Nicola Jones,The five projects with highlighted researchers that he selected are:

NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft Announces Two Earth-Size Planets Are Discovered

December 21, 2011

Astronomers from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft announced Tuesday that they had discovered a pair of planets the size of Earth orbiting a distant star. The new planets, one about as big as Earth and the other slightly smaller than Venus, are the smallest yet found beyond the solar system. Harvard Astronomy Professor David Charbonneau was a member of the team that made the observations, led by his colleague Francois Fressin.... Read more about NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft Announces Two Earth-Size Planets Are Discovered

Is There a City on Pluto? Before You Answer, Consider: We've Never Looked.

November 10, 2011

Link to Time Magazine article

Before Ed Turner and Avi Loeb tell you about their research, they want to make one thing perfectly clear: they do not claim there's a city on Pluto. But if there were, they say, we could see it. And, as they suggest in a paper they've submitted to the journal Astrobiology, it's worth taking a look, just in case.

... Read more about Is There a City on Pluto? Before You Answer, Consider: We've Never Looked.

Searching for the origins of life... and our future (BBC News)

November 8, 2011

By Karen Weintraub Cambridge, Massachusetts
November 8, 2011

Hollywood is wrong about aliens. They don't have oddly shaped
heads, bulging eyes or even an eery green hue. Dimitar Sasselov is
pretty convinced of that.

He's not even sure we'll know them when we see them. Prof
Sasselov, an astrophysicist, thinks that if life exists elsewhere - and
he believes it does - it will likely be based on different building
blocks than ours, and so may not even be recognizable as life.

A project he's heading at Harvard University, called the Origins of...

Read more about Searching for the origins of life... and our future (BBC News)

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