Astronomers unmask cosmic eruptions in nearby galaxies

On April 15, 2020, a wave of X-rays and gamma rays lasting only a fraction of a second triggered detectors on NASA and European spacecraft. The event was a giant flare from a magnetar, a type of city-sized stellar remnant that boasts the strongest magnetic fields known. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center A brief […]

Waterways Change as Cities Grow Nearby

Large rivers powerfully sculpt landscapes, but their smaller brethren—streams—are much more numerous and affect local communities and ecosystems. Now, scientists have used multidecadal data sets to trace how streamflow across the continental United States has changed in response to urbanization. They found a variety of trends, complicating the long-standing notion that city growth […]

Milky Way’s central black hole may have zapped nearby red giant stars

Innumerable stars reside within 1.6 light-years of the Milky Way’s central black hole. But this same crowded neighborhood has fewer red giants — luminous stars that are large and cool — than expected. Now astrophysicists have a new theory why: The supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, launched a powerful jet of gas that ripped off […]

Violent space weather could limit life on nearby exoplanets

Artist’s impression of flare from our neighboring star Proxima Centauri ejecting material onto a nearby planet. (Mark Myers/OzGrav/) Earth regularly endures highly charged belches from our Sun, sometimes even prompting a dancing curtain of ever-changing color known as aurora. But could similar violent eruptions in other solar systems make far-off worlds inhospitable to life? Earlier […]

A smartwatch app alerts users with hearing loss to nearby sounds

A new smartwatch app alerts users who are deaf or hard of hearing of nearby sounds, such as microwave beeps or car horns. “The main motivation [for the app] came from my own experience, and conversations that my colleagues and I have had with deaf and hard of hearing people over several years,” says Dhruv […]

Hubble launches large ultraviolet-light survey of nearby stars

This is a ground-based telescopic photo of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The galaxy is one of several select targets of a new initiative with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope called ULLYSES (UV Legacy Library of Young Stars as Essential Standards). The program is looking at over 300 stars […]