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Astrophysics Topics

  • The Humming Black Hole

    2000April 6, 2011

    A black hole binary star system called XTE J1550-564 has recently become one of the brightest sources in the sky at x-ray wavelengths. Astronomers are fascinated by fluctuations in the x-ray emission from this source, which if converted to sound waves would feel like the deep rumbling vibrations from a bass speaker at a rock 'n roll concert.

  • Amateurs Catch a Gamma-ray Burst

    2000April 6, 2011

    For the first time amateur astronomers, using a 40-yr old telescope and a homemade CCD camera, have detected the faint afterglow from a gamma-ray burst billions of light years away.

  • Impact!

    2000April 6, 2011

    Images made by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatoryshow for the first time the full impact of the actual blast wave from Supernova 1987A. The observations are the first time that X-rays from a shock wave have been imaged at such an early stage of a supernova explosion.

  • Brown Dwarf Solar Flare

    2000April 6, 2011

    The Chandra X-ray Observatoryhas detected the first-ever flare from what's known as a brown dwarf, or failed star. Scientists were surprised at the outburst, which unleashed an amount of energy comparable to a small solar flare.

  • Amatuers Reach for the Stars

    2000April 6, 2011

    Amateur astronomers attended a unique meeting in mid-April to learn about high-energy Astrophysicsand how they can participate in it.

  • From the Drawing Board to the Stars

    2000April 6, 2011

    In this scientific human interest story, Dr. Jim Burch describes what it's like to visualize a modern space mission and then, years later, to make it happen. Burch shares his experiences as a competitor for mission funding, as a coordinator of far-flung personnel, and as an onlooker during launch.

  • It's a Supernova!

    2003April 6, 2011

    On March 29, 2003, in the constellation Leo, something exploded--bright enough to see through small telescopes in brightly-lit cities. Astronomers say it provides the long-sought link between supernovas and mysterious gamma ray bursts.

  • near-Earth Supernovas

    2003April 6, 2011

    A new NASA mission named "CHIPS" will soon leave Earth to study the remains of some uncomfortably close supernova explosions.

  • The Goldilocks Zone

    2003April 6, 2011

    Researchers are finding that life can thrive in some unexpected places on Earth--and perhaps elsewhere in the Universe, too.

  • Solar Flares on Steroids

    2003April 6, 2011

    Solar flares that scorch Earth's atmosphere are commonplace. But scientists have discovered a few each year that are not like the others: they come from stars thousands of light years away.