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Tag: Galactic

Astronomers spot oldest galactic protocluster, a giant of the early universe

Astronomers spot oldest galactic protocluster, a giant of the early universe

Science
Sept. 27 (UPI) -- With the help of several powerful telescopes, an international team of astronomers has identified the earliest known protocluster. The protocluster, a constellation of 12 galaxies linked by gravity, formed some 13 billion years ago, when the universe was just 800 million years old. Scientists have described their discovery in a new paper, set to be published in the Astrophysical Journal on September 30. In the present universe, galactic clusters can grow to contain thousands of galaxies. Smaller galaxy clusters can organize to form superclusters, the largest structures in the cosmos. Models suggest there are 10 million superclusters in the observable universe. The protocluster candidate, z66OD, contains a protogalaxy called Himiko, a giant gas cloud and one of the larg...
Hubble photographs playful galactic duo

Hubble photographs playful galactic duo

Science
Aug. 9 (UPI) -- NASA shared an image, recently captured by Hubble, of the galactic duo UGC 2369 on Friday. The image showcases the pair caught in a playful dance. Long, long ago, the galaxies were separate, but today, they are in the midst of colliding. Slowly, their mutual gravitational attraction is pulling them closer and closer. As they've become entwined, gravity has distorted their features, altering their appearances. "A tenuous bridge of gas, dust and stars can be seen connecting the two galaxies, created when they pulled material out into space across the diminishing divide between them," NASA wrote in a news release. Still, despite their contortions and shared name, the two galactic entities remain visibly distinct. Millions of years from now, however, the pair will be almost c...
Virgin Galactic carries test passenger to space for the first time

Virgin Galactic carries test passenger to space for the first time

Science
Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Virgin Galactic's space plane carried three people to the edge of space and back for the first time on Friday. According to NASA, space begins 50 miles from Earth's surface. During Friday's test flight, VSS Unity reached an altitude of 56 miles. In December, the plane reached an apex of just more than 51 miles above Earth's surface. In addition to spending a bit more time in suborbital space, Friday's flight featured a test passenger for the first time. Pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci were joined by Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic's chief astronaut instructor. "Beth Moses, experienced zero-g float time as SpaceShipTwo reached apogee today," Virgin Galactic tweeted. Moses is the first woman to enter space aboard a commercial vehicle. VSS Unity is Virgin Galactic's newe...
Galactic collision could wake up Milky Way black hole

Galactic collision could wake up Milky Way black hole

Technology
New research has predicted that a galactic collision could wake the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and cause it to swell ten times over and devour all surrounding matter. Astrophysicists at Durham University have predicted that the collision between the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and our own galaxy could occur much sooner than the expected crash between us and neighbouring galaxy Andromeda.This "catastrophic" collision could occur in two billion years' time - much sooner than the expected eight billion years until we smash into Andromeda.This is because recent research has discovered that the LMC contains far more dark matter than previously thought - meaning it is losing energy and dooming it to crash into our galaxy. The findings are published in the jour...
Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space in historic flight

Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space in historic flight

Science
Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Virgin Galactic made history Thursday by flying to the edge of Earth's atmosphere, taking its boldest step yet in space tourism. The company's rocket-powered VSS Unity took off from its Mojave Air & Space Port early Thursday. Its SpaceShipTwo separated from the WhiteKnightTwo twin-fuselage carrier aircraft and reached a maximum altitude of 51.4 miles before returning to Earth. NASA recognizes the 50-mile mark as the edge of space. The test flight marked a major bounce back for Virgin Galactic, which saw pilot Michael Alsbury die and fellow pilot Peter Siebold injured four years ago when the VSS Enterprise broke apart in a failed test flight that put the entire project in jeopardy. "Incremental flight test programs are by definition open-ended and, to a great extent, each...