Science News

Proxima Centauri’s No Good, Very Bad Day: Flare Illuminates Lack of a Dust Ring; Puts Habitability of Proxima b in Question

Proxima Centauri, Proxima b

A team of astronomers led by Carnegie's Meredith MacGregor and Alycia Weinberger detected a massive stellar flare—an energetic explosion of radiation—from the closest star to our own Sun, Proxima Centauri, which occurred last March.

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Meteoritic Stardust Unlocks Timing of Supernova Dust Formation

Crab Nebula, Carnegie DTM

Dust is everywhere—not just in your attic or under your bed, but also in outer space. To astronomers, dust can be a nuisance by blocking the light of distant stars, or it can be a tool to study the history of our universe, galaxy, and Solar System.

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Could TRAPPIST-1’s Seven Earth-like Planets Have Gas Giant Siblings?

TRAPPIST-1_NASA

New work from a team of Carnegie scientists (and one Carnegie alumnus) asked whether any gas giant planets could potentially orbit TRAPPIST-1 at distances greater than that of the star's seven known planets.

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Our Solar System’s “Shocking” Origin

Gas and dust in outer space make up the Veil Nebula, the debris of a massive star explosion from about 8,000 years ago. Credit: NASA/ESA

According to one longstanding theory, our Solar System’s formation was triggered by a shock wave from an exploding supernova. New work offers fresh evidence supporting this theory, modeling the Solar System’s formation beyond the initial cloud collapse and into the intermediate stages of star formation.

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Volcanoes: Explosive and Entertaining

Diana Roman

Diana Roman’s job sounds like a blast. Pun very much intended. Although many people find volcanoes scary, she knows how to make them fun and, more importantly, fascinating. A staff scientist at DTM, Roman told us all about what happens “When the Volcano Stirs” during a public program at our DC headquarters building on Wednesday, May 31.

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Surprise! When a Brown Dwarf is Actually a Planetary Mass Object

Jonathan Gagne

Sometimes a brown dwarf is actually a planet—or planet-like anyway. A team led by Carnegie’s Jonathan Gagné, and including researchers from the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at Université de Montréal, the American Museum of Natural History, and University of California San Diego, discovered that what astronomers had previously thought was one of the closest brown dwarfs to our own Sun is, in fact, a planetary mass object. 

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