In just 10 months during 2010, an orbiting observatory meticulously recorded a "heat map" of the entire celestial sphere, revealing unseen beauty in the Milky Way and providing astronomers with a catalog of more than a half billion celestial objects.
Two teams of astronomers have independently announced the detection of a dwarf galaxy being eaten by another dwarf galaxy, NGC 4449. Seen in this image as a faint swipe of red stars, the satellite will probably be shredded after only a few orbits of its host, adding its stars to that galaxy's collection.
Astronomers have discovered a dusty, stretched-out cloud heading for the supermassive black hole lurking in the Milky Way's core. The blob could be the meal the beast needs to wake up for a bit from its slumber, if the cloud survives its incoming trip on the dining cart.
Astronomers are searching galaxies with no central bulges for intermediate-mass black holes — the missing links between the small black holes that result from collapsing stars and the monsters in the cores of bulge galaxies. A team reports that it's found one — or maybe three.
Poring over sky-survey data, a Dutch schoolteacher noticed a starless blue-green blob near a faint galaxy. Astronomers think "Hanny's Voorwerp" is a cloud of intergalactic gas lit by an active galactic nucleus (AGN) hidden in the galaxy just to its north. But if so, why don't we see the AGN?