Nov 12, 2019

Your weekly dose of awe: A space-time warp

Photo: NASA/ESA/E. Rivera-Thorsen

Sometimes our deepest views of the universe are the most indirect.

The intrigue: This photo, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows a galaxy about 11 billion light-years away whose image has been distorted and magnified by a massive galaxy cluster 4.6 billion light-years away.

  • The cluster has bent the light of the more distant galaxy, known as the Sunburst Arc, around it, allowing scientists to see it in a way they couldn't have otherwise.
  • That warping — called gravitational lensing — has created "12 images of the background galaxy, distributed over four major arcs," seen in this photo, according to NASA.

What they're saying: "The magnification allows Hubble to view structures as small as 520 light-years across that would be too small to see without the turboboost from the lensing effect," NASA said in a statement.

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Scientists spot galaxy with 3 supermassive black holes in its core

The galaxy NGC 6240. Photo: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA

A galaxy with three supermassive black holes swirling within it could help astronomers piece together just how some of the largest galaxies formed.

Why it matters: The discovery in the NGC 6240 galaxy located about 400 million light-years away marks the first time three supermassive black holes have been found in such close proximity to one another. The galaxy gives scientists an unprecedented chance to study the motions of three huge black holes that were once likely parts of three different galaxies as they merge.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

A new view of the Milky Way

Photo: NASA/MIT/TESS

The Milky Way shines in a photo taken by a space telescope designed to hunt for planets circling stars far from our own solar system.

Details: The image by NASA's TESS was released on Nov. 5 and was created by piecing together 208 photos taken by the telescope during its first year gathering science from orbit.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Mercury is having a moment

Color-enhanced view of Mercury. Photo: NASA/JHU-APL/Carnegie

Scientists are pushing space agencies around the world to send dedicated missions to the small, relatively unexplored planet Mercury.

Why it matters: With its odd, huge core, magnetic field and unexplained chemistry, the planet is like nowhere else in the solar system.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019