ALMA has imaged a broad band of dust and pebbles around a distant star. There’s one problem, though: the inner edge of the band lies further away from the star than expected. The discovery may hint at the presence of an as-yet-undiscovered planet. The star (HR 8799) is known to be accompanied by four giant planets. The planets have even

ALMA captures ‘bubble-blowing star’

What does this nebula look like? A soap bubble, right? When you’re blowing soap bubbles, their outer rims are most conspicuous, even though the thin layer of soap has the same thickness everywhere. With this ALMA image, it’s the same. You’re not looking at a ring of glowing gas, but a nice, round bubble. It’s just that the outer rim

In some countries, more babies are born than in others. With galaxies, it’s the same: some galaxies have a much higher birth rate of new stars than others. Astronomers have studied six of those so-called starburst galaxies with the ALMA observatory. In five of them, they discovered large amounts of cool turbulent gas, surrounding the galaxies. ‘Turbulent’ means that the

The planet Saturn is known for its beautiful rings. But Saturn also has dozens of moons. The largest one is called Titan. It’s a bit larger than the planet Mercury and a bit smaller than Mars. And it’s the only moon in the solar system with a thick atmosphere. Astronomers already knew that the atmosphere of Titan contains lots of

A young star in the constellation Sagittarius (the Archer) is orbited by two infant planets. The planets were found by ALMA. They’re about twice as large as the planet Saturn in our own solar system. Planets orbiting other stars have been found before. But in this case, the planets are still forming. They’re baby planets. The two baby planets have

ALMA sets a dusty distance record

ALMA has set a new record. It has observed a galaxy known as A2744_YD4 – the most distant galaxy ever studied by the 66-dish observatory. The galaxy is so remote that its light took a whopping 13.2 billion years to reach Earth. This means that astronomers are seeing the galaxy not as it is now, but as it appeared 13.2

The stunning spiral pattern in this ALMA image is produced by a binary star – two stars orbiting each other. The size and shape of the spiral provides astronomers with information about the binary’s orbit. Apparently, this orbit is not circular, but elliptical – very elongated. The spiral pattern was already observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006. Now,

40-year-old supernova is efficient dust factory

Forty years ago, in February 1987, a cosmic explosion took place in the southern sky. It was first discovered by astronomers Ian Shelton and Oscar Duhalde, at an observatory in Chile. But this was not the ALMA observatory. Back then, ALMA hadn’t been built yet. No one even had serious plans to construct a huge array of antennas to observe

A young star in the constellation Sagittarius (the Archer) is orbited by two infant planets. The planets were found by ALMA. They’re about twice as large as the planet Saturn in our own solar system. Planets orbiting other stars have been found before. But in this case, the planets are still forming. They’re baby planets. The two baby planets have

Suppose you live in a very big house, with lots of families, each one with many children. Every month or so, a new baby is born, so you know all about it. You wonder about childbirth in other houses. But the nearest big house is many miles away, and the houses in your neighborhood are all small, with just one