(Inside Science) -- This month, we look at the births, deaths, and travels of stars observed from various telescopes. NASA’s Hubble Telescope imaged arched galaxies 4.6 billion light years away, the Chandra X-ray Observatory found a star formation near a black hole, while the Anglo-Australian Telescope found a runaway star to be traveling at great speeds away from the Milky Way.
Astronomers in Australia, the U.S., the U.K., and Chile discovered a star traveling at more than six million kilometers per hour. The illustration above shows the star speeding away after it was flung from a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. The international study concluded that the star is moving so fast that it will leave the Milky Way galaxy in about 100 million years, only to keep on rocketing across the universe. (James Josephides, Swinborne Astronomy Productions)
Hubble turned its telescope to a massive galaxy cluster 4.6 billion light years away this month. Distinctly encircling it are four bright arcs -- each a copy of the same galaxy nicknamed the Sunburst Arc. This galaxy’s light is being focused into multiple images by gravitational lensing. It is so brightly lensed that its image is visible at least 12 times within the four arcs. (ESA, NASA, Rivera-Thorsen et al.)
This photomosaic combines 28 distinct images to form a portrait of the arch of the Milky Way over the Guilderton Lighthouse in Western Australia. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are visible as well. Highlighted to the upper-left of the lighthouse is the facsimile of a supernova that would have exploded 9,000 years ago and been visible in the night sky at that location. (Paean Ng, Astrordinary Imaging)
Last June, scientists discovered a mysterious cosmic explosion known as AT2018cow. This month, astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to shed light on its origin. While still controversial, this team of researchers thinks it might have originated from a tidal disruption or a stellar explosion. This artist’s rendition imagines AT2018cow as a blinding light. (NAOJ)