Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

Chaotic cosmic wombs may birth backwards planets

21 October 2014 - 5:30pm
Rebel planets orbit their stars the wrong way around – and prenatal turmoil may be to blame






Comet immortalised before close call with spacecraft

20 October 2014 - 6:33pm
A comet making its first trip in from the Oort cloud was caught on camera before a near miss with four spacecraft currently orbiting the Red Planet






AUDIO: Are we alone in the Milky Way?

20 October 2014 - 11:29am
Prof Brian Cox muses on whether life here on Earth is unique within the Milky Way and what this might mean.

AUDIO: Scientists study ancient comet

20 October 2014 - 10:52am
A recently discovered comet has flown past Mars, giving scientists a unique chance to study an object from the farthest reaches of the Solar System.

Orbiters on alert as comet skims Mars

19 October 2014 - 12:05am
Scientists should get a grandstand view of a comet on Sunday when it makes a dramatic flyby of Mars.

2014 Orionid Meteor Shower

17 October 2014 - 7:10pm
Earth is entering a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, parent of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Tuesday, Oct. 21st.

AUDIO: Science shines light on dark matter

17 October 2014 - 1:31pm
Scientists from the University of Leicester say they may have solved one of the most enduring mysteries in modern physics: the nature of dark matter.

Name sought for comet landing site

17 October 2014 - 11:27am
The public are being invited to name the site on a comet where a European robot will try to land on 12 November.

Rosetta comet: More black swan than yellow duck

17 October 2014 - 8:24am
A fascination of comets is their blackness

Where will New Horizons Go After Pluto?

17 October 2014 - 1:36am
Peering out to the dim, outer reaches of our solar system, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto in July 2015.

Death Star moon is 'wonky or watery'

16 October 2014 - 7:04pm
The internal structure of Saturn's moon Mimas is either irregularly shaped or awash with water, according to a new study of its tell-tale wobbling movements.

Saturn's moon Mimas might have its own subsurface sea

16 October 2014 - 7:00pm
Mimas's odd wobbles suggest it could have an exotic, partly liquid interior, making it the smallest in the pantheon of icy moons with hidden seas






Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass

16 October 2014 - 6:00pm

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Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted one of the farthest, faintest, and smallest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away. This new detection is considered one of the most reliable distance measurements of a galaxy that existed in the early universe, said the Hubble researchers. Hubble detected the galaxy due to the lensing power of the mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster. The cluster is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making the background objects appear larger and brighter in a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.

Probing the past - Most reliable remote distance measurement yet [heic1423]

16 October 2014 - 6:00pm
Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have made what may be the most reliable distance measurement yet of an object that existed in the Universe's formative years. The galaxy is one of the faintest, smallest and most distant galaxies ever seen and measuring its distance with this accuracy was possible due only to the incredibly detailed mapping of how giant galaxy clusters warp the space-time around them.

NASA’s Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass

16 October 2014 - 5:00pm
Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a tiny, faint galaxy -- one of the farthest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away.

Spacecraft seek geysers without human help

16 October 2014 - 4:46pm
Software that can identify plumes emanating from comet and moon surfaces is the next step toward landers that can explore planets autonomously






Mercury's hidden water-ice revealed

16 October 2014 - 4:14pm
A Nasa spacecraft has provided the first optical images of ice within permanently shadowed craters on the planet Mercury.

Cassini caught in Hyperion's electron beam

16 October 2014 - 2:00pm
Static electricity is known to play an important role on the airless, dusty Moon, but evidence of surface charging on other objects in the Solar System has been elusive. However, a new analysis of data from the international Cassini mission has revealed that the orbiter was briefly bathed in a beam of electrons coming from the electrostatically charged surface of Saturn's moon, Hyperion.

Name Rosetta mission's landing site

16 October 2014 - 12:17pm
ESA and its Rosetta mission partners are inviting you to suggest a name for the site where lander Philae will touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November.

Curious signal hints at dark matter – first evidence of axions? Astronomers use...

16 October 2014 - 12:13pm
Curious signal hints at dark matter – first evidence of axions?

Astronomers use X-ray observations to detect evidence of an exotic type of particle, providing a tantalising insight into the nature of mysterious 'dark matter'. New #MNRAS paper by Fraser et al.

https://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/2524-curious-signal-hints-at-dark-matter


Curious signal hints at dark matter – first evidence of axions?
www.ras.org.uk
Space scientists at the University of Leicester have detected a curious signal in the X-ray sky – one that provides a tantalising insight into the nature of mysterious 'dark matter'.The Leicester team has found what appears to be a signature of 'ax