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The Top 10 Discoveries in Astronomy in the past year

The Top 10 Discoveries in Astronomy in the past year








Now that 2014 is officially over and 2015 has begun, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is taking a look back at some of the amazing discoveries of the past year. Messier 82 (M82), the galaxy in which the nearest supernova in decades recently exploded, also is the closest galaxy that is undergoing a rapid burst of star formation, known as a starburst. (Photo : Josh Marvil (NM Tech/NRAO), Bill Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF), NASA)

Now that 2014 is officially over and 2015 has begun, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is taking a look back at some of the amazing discoveries of the past year. They've listed the top 10 stories based on both scientific impact and public interest. What are they? That's a good question.

The first on the list is a new radio image of the starburst in the galaxy M82. This picture unveiled fresh information about the galaxy 5,200 light-years away. Another discovery was finding a white dwarf star that's possibly the coldest and dimmest ever detected. In fact, the ancient stellar remnant is so cool that its carbon has crystallized, forming what is essentially an Earth-size diamond in space.

That's not all that the astronomers have listed, though. There's also the discovery of the galactic supercluster that's home to the Milky Way Galaxy, and the discovery of a stream of dust and gas through a binary star system known as GG Tau-A, which may be sustaining two disks of material.

In addition to all of these findings, astronomers have discovered pebble-sized particles that may kick start planet formation near the Orion Nebula, and the dusty hallmarks of an entire family of Pluto-size objects swarming around the adolescent version of our own sun. Yet the number one finding of the year was probably the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star as part of testing ALMA's new high-resolution capabilities.

To learn more about the top ten findings of 2014, you can find them here.


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