Slow-Growing Galaxies Offer Window to Early UniverseLearn MoreOctober 15, 2014 • News Feature
What makes one rose bush blossom with flowers, while another remains barren? Astronomers ask a similar question of galaxies, wondering how some flourish with star formation and others barely bloom.
A new study published in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Nature addresses this question by making some of the most accurate measurements yet of the meager rates at which small, sluggish galaxies create stars. The report uses data from the European Space Agency's Herschel mission, in which NASA is a partner, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX).
NASA Telescopes Uncover Early Construction of Giant GalaxyLearn MoreAugust 27, 2014 • News Release
Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed "Sparky," is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate.
Young Sun’s Violent History Solves Meteorite MysteryLearn MoreJuly 1, 2014 • News Feature
Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory to probe the turbulent beginnings of a Sun-like star have found evidence of mighty stellar winds that could solve a puzzling meteorite mystery in our own back yard.
In spite of their tranquil appearance in the night sky, stars are scorching furnaces that spring to life through tumultuous processes – and our 4.5 billion-year-old Sun is no exception. To glimpse its harsh early days, astronomers gather clues not only in the Solar System but also by studying young stars elsewhere in our Galaxy.
New Molecules Around Old StarsLearn MoreJune 17, 2014 • Partner News Feature
Using the Herschel Space Observatory, astronomers have discovered that a molecule vital for creating water exists in the burning embers of dying Sun-like stars.
When low- to middleweight stars like our Sun approach the end of their lives, they eventually become dense, white dwarf stars. In doing so, they cast off their outer layers of dust and gas into space, creating a kaleidoscope of intricate patterns known as planetary nebulas.