Quantum nature of space challenged by observations

New observations have shown that the quantum structure of space, if there is any, is at much smaller scales than predicted.
In Einstein’s theory of relativity, space is a smooth, continuous fabric. In quantum theory, there is an inherent discreteness present in physics. In an attempt to reconcile the two theories, …

A huge flare for a hungry star

Astronomers have observed an enormous X-ray outburst, probably caused by a star feeding on a giant clump of matter.
Neutron stars, forming after the death of massive stars, are so dense they generate extremely strong gravitational fields. The clump of matter came from a blue supergiant, orbited by a companion neutron …

Epic galactic storms shut down star formation

ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory has found gigantic storms of molecular gas gusting in the centers of many galaxies. These powerful storms, driven by star formation and central black holes, are strong enough to halt the mechanisms that produced them in the first place.
Some of these massive outflows can reach extremely …

Black hole Cygnus X-1 reveals strong magnetic fields

The black hole Cygnus X-1 is revealing new details about its vicinity. The chaotic region is threaded by strong magnetic fields.
Cygnus X-1 was the first black hole discovered by astronomers, in 1964. It is part of an X-ray binary located 6,000 light-years away from the Sun: it is about 8.7 …

Less dark matter to form a new galaxy bursting with stars

The Herschel Space Observatory has revealed how much dark matter it takes to form a new galaxy bursting with stars.
Herschel launched into space in May 2009. The mission’s large, 3.5-meter telescope detects longer-wavelength infrared light from a host of objects, ranging from asteroids and planets in our own solar system …

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