Feb 12, 2020 - Science

Astronomers capture a stellar deep space confrontation

Photo: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Olofsson, et al.

There's no match for the drama of a confrontation in deep space. Astronomers spotted this gas cloud created when one dying star became a red giant, growing large enough to encircle a companion star.

What's happening: The companion star then fell toward the dying one, forcing it to slough off its outer layers of gas, according to the European Southern Observatory, exposing its core.

  • "With detailed images of the environment of HD101584 we can make the connection between the giant star it was before, and the stellar remnant it will soon become,” Sofia Ramstedt from Uppsala University, Sweden, said in a statement about the photo.

Go deeper: Solar Orbiter to offer a new look at our nearest star

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Astronomers find double star system that keeps changing its behavior

Photo: NASA/ESA

A large cluster of stars 19,000 light-years from Earth harbors something strange: Within the cluster, a neutron star left over after a supernova explosion orbits a star not too different from our Sun.

The big picture: The Chandra observatory has been observing that star system — known as Terzan 5 CX1 — for more than a decade, and in that time, Terzan 5 CX1 has gone from looking like one type of star system to another and back again.

Go deeperArrowFeb 26, 2020 - Science

"The Super Bowl kid" and other sports prodigies

Screenshot: Whistle/YouTube

Just before Super Bowl LIV, Fox aired a video commemorating the NFL's 100th anniversary. It featured a young boy running a football across America, with various NFL legends telling him to "Take it to the house, kid! before switching to the live broadcast, where the young boy ran onto the field and handed the ref the game ball.

Who is he? The star of the commercial is 13-year-old football and track prodigy, Maxwell "Bunchie" Young, who was named SI's "Sportskid of the Year" in 2017 and was recently featured on "No Days Off," a YouTube show about sports prodigies from Whistle (previously Whistle Sports).

Go deeperArrowFeb 14, 2020 - Sports

NASA spacecraft snaps a fortuitous shot of a black hole 30,000 light-years away

Gif: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/MIT/Harvard

Sometimes the best photos are taken by accident. NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was exploring an asteroid not far from Earth when it unexpectedly caught sight of a black hole 30,000 light-years away.

What they found: OSIRIS-REx detected the black hole using an instrument designed to measure the effect solar particles are having on its target asteroid, Bennu.

Go deeperArrowMar 3, 2020 - Science