Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

Daring Chinese telescope is poised to transform astronomy

3 October 2016 - 11:38am

Daring Chinese telescope is poised to transform astronomy

Nature 537, 7622 (2016).

Author: David Cyranoski

Construction of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) is complete, but debugging has only just begun.

Dark matter: What's the matter?

3 October 2016 - 11:37am

Dark matter: What's the matter?

Nature. doi:10.1038/537S194a

Author: Jeff Hecht

The leading theory of dark matter is running out of room to hide.

Dark energy: Staring into darkness

3 October 2016 - 11:37am

Dark energy: Staring into darkness

Nature. doi:10.1038/537S201a

Author: Stephen Battersby

The path to understanding dark energy begins with a single question: has it always been the same throughout the history of the Universe?

Astronomy: Early star-forming gas found

3 October 2016 - 11:36am

Astronomy: Early star-forming gas found

Nature 537, 7622 (2016). doi:10.1038/537589c

Astronomers have identified distant gas-rich galaxies that probably caused the Universe's rate of star formation to peak some 10 billion years ago.Several teams used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile to probe a well-studied patch of sky called the 'Hubble Ultra

Rosetta: Mission control confirms probe has 'crash landed'

3 October 2016 - 11:34am

Mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, react to confirmation that the Rosetta probe has ended its mission to Comet 67P by crash-landing on to the icy object's surface.

Coronal loops arch above the Sun in Nasa images

3 October 2016 - 11:34am

Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory captures a magnificent display of coronal loops above an area with strong magnetic fields.

Rosetta spacecraft's crash landing explained

30 September 2016 - 12:01pm

The Rosetta probe, which has been beaming back spectacular pictures of a comet, is to end its journey by crash landing.

ALMA Catches Stellar Cocoon with Curious Chemistry

29 September 2016 - 9:37am
A hot and dense mass of complex molecules, cocooning a newborn star, has been discovered by a Japanese team of astronomers using ALMA. This unique hot molecular core is the first of its kind to have been detected outside the Milky Way galaxy. It has a very different molecular composition from similar objects in our own galaxy — a tantalising hint that the chemistry taking place across the Universe could be much more diverse than expected.

Rosetta measures production of water at comet over two years

29 September 2016 - 9:36am
Over the past two years, Rosetta has kept a close eye on many properties of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, tracking how these changed along the comet's orbit. A very crucial aspect concerns how much water vapour a comet releases into space, and how the water production rate varies at different distances from the Sun. For the first time, Rosetta enabled scientists to monitor this quantity and its evolution in situ over two years.

Why does the Europa water plume matter?

28 September 2016 - 9:05am

Professor Michele Dougherty explains the importance of the water plumes on Jupiter's moon

NASA’s Hubble Spots Possible Water Plumes Erupting on Jupiter's Moon Europa

27 September 2016 - 10:52am
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes.

Hubble Finds Planet Orbiting Pair of Stars

27 September 2016 - 10:51am

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Two is company, but three might not always be a crowd, at least in space. When astronomers found an extrasolar planet orbiting a neighboring star, a detailed analysis of the data uncovered a third body. But astronomers couldn't definitively identify whether the object was another planet or another star in the system.

NASA's Hubble Spots Possible Water Plumes Erupting on Jupiter's Moon Europa

27 September 2016 - 10:50am

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New findings from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show suspected water plumes erupting from Jupiter's icy moon Europa. These observations bolster earlier Hubble work suggesting that Europa is venting water vapor. A team of astronomers, led by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, observed these finger-like projections while viewing Europa's limb as the moon passed in front of Jupiter. The team was inspired to use this observing method by studies of atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars.

ALMA Explores the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

27 September 2016 - 10:47am
International teams of astronomers have used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to explore the distant corner of the Universe first revealed in the iconic images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). These new ALMA observations are significantly deeper and sharper than previous surveys at millimetre wavelengths. They clearly show how the rate of star formation in young galaxies is closely related to their total mass in stars. They also trace the previously unknown abundance of star-forming gas at different points in time, providing new insights into the “Golden Age” of galaxy formation approximately 10 billion years ago.

Hubble helps find light-bending world with two suns [heic1619]

27 September 2016 - 10:44am

A distant planet orbiting two stars, found by its warping of spacetime, has been confirmed using observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The planet's mass caused what is known as a microlensing event, where light is bent by an object's gravitational field. The event was observed in 2007, making this the first circumbinary planet to be confirmed following detection of a microlensing event.

China's colossal radio telescope begins testing

27 September 2016 - 10:42am

The world's largest radio telescope has received its first signals from space and is now entering an intensive testing phase.

Europa moon 'spewing water jets'

27 September 2016 - 10:41am

Further evidence has been obtained to show that Jupiter's icy moon Europa throws jets of water out into space.

Water spotted spurting from Jupiter's moon

27 September 2016 - 10:41am

Nasa says jets of water spotted spurting from Jupiter's moon, Europa, take them a step closer to finding out if there is life in space.

Exoplanets: Migration of giants

22 September 2016 - 10:03am

Exoplanets: Migration of giants

Nature 537, 7621 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature19430

Authors: Amaury Triaud

The origin of hot Jupiters, large gaseous planets in close orbits around stars, is unknown. Observations suggest that such planets are abundant in stellar clusters, and can result from encounters with other celestial bodies.

Detailed map shows Milky Way is bigger than we thought

22 September 2016 - 9:56am

Detailed map shows Milky Way is bigger than we thought

Nature 537, 7621 (2016).

Author: Davide Castelvecchi

First results from Gaia probe also seem to solve old controversy over Pleiades cluster.