- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
ScienceShot: The Ultraviolet Glow of Newborn Stars
1 December 2011 2:25 pm
Sometimes your own star gets in the way of understanding the birth of others. In particular, astronomers would like to see the Milky Way's star-forming regions emit ultraviolet radiation known as Lyman alpha because it's expected to be both strong and a key diagnostic of conditions in stellar nurseries. Lyman alpha arises from hydrogen at a wavelength of 1216 angstroms (121.6 nanometers), but sunlight with the same wavelength illuminates gas that streams into the solar system from beyond, obscuring the view. Fortunately, in 1977, NASA launched the twin Voyager spacecraft—their paths are shown here—and both are escaping the sun's glow: in mid-November, Voyager 1 was 118.9 times farther from the sun than Earth is; for Voyager 2, the comparable figure was 96.9, still more than twice as far out as Pluto. As astronomers report online today in Science, the Voyager spacecraft have now spied Lyman-alpha emission from star-forming regions in the Milky Way. Because the properties of these nearby nurseries are known, the feat will help astronomers better understand conditions in far-off star-forming galaxies—where, ironically enough, Lyman alpha is easier to detect because the expanding universe redshifts the radiation to longer wavelengths so that sunlight doesn't muck up the view.
See more ScienceShots.