Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

NASA Releases First Interactive Mosaic of Lunar North Pole

18 March 2014 - 5:00pm
Scientists, using cameras aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have created the largest high resolution mosaic of our moon’s north polar region. The six-and-a-half feet (two-meters)-per-pixel images cover an area equal to more than one-quarter of the United States.

'Waves' detected on Titan’s lakes

18 March 2014 - 3:27pm
Scientists believe they have detected liquid waves on Saturn’s moon Titan – the first to be observed on the surface of another world.

AUDIO: Hawking 'wins inflation debate'

18 March 2014 - 10:34am
Tom Feilden, Stephen Hawking and Neil Turok discuss new evidence that scientists claim supports a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe.

Herschel:Herschel completes largest survey of cosmic dust in local Universe

18 March 2014 - 9:52am
The largest census of dust in local galaxies has been completed using data from ESA's Herschel space observatory, providing a huge legacy to the scientific community.

Swirls of colour reveal primordial gravitational waves

17 March 2014 - 5:08pm
This visualisation of eddies in cosmic background radiation gives a glimpse into the moments after the big bang

Hubble Celebrates 24th Anniversary with Infrared Image of Nearby Star Factory

17 March 2014 - 4:55pm
In celebration of the 24th anniversary of the launch of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have captured infrared-light images of a churning region of star birth 6,400 light-years away.

First glimpse of big bang ripples from universe's birth

17 March 2014 - 3:54pm
The first clear detection of primordial gravitational waves allows us to peer back further than we thought possible - and could unlock many cosmic secrets

Inflation: A compact guide to big science

17 March 2014 - 3:47pm
The cosmic marker that's caused such a stir

Spectacular cosmic discovery hailed

17 March 2014 - 3:46pm
Scientists say they have found a signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that occurred just fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

Hubble:Hubble revisits the Monkey Head Nebula for 24th birthday snap [heic1406]

17 March 2014 - 10:00am
To celebrate its 24th year in orbit, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has released a beautiful new image of part of NGC 2174, also known as the Monkey Head Nebula. This colourful region is filled with young stars embedded within bright wisps of cosmic gas and dust.

Hubble Celebrates Its 24th Anniversary with an Infrared Look at a Nearby Star Factory

17 March 2014 - 10:00am

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This colorful Hubble Space Telescope mosaic of a small portion of the Monkey Head Nebula unveils a collection of carved knots of gas and dust silhouetted against glowing gas. The cloud is sculpted by ultraviolet light eating into the cool hydrogen gas. As the interstellar dust particles are warmed from the radiation from the stars in the center of the nebula, they heat up and begin to glow at infrared wavelengths, as captured by Hubble. The space photo superficially resembles the "The Great Wave" print by 19th century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.

VIDEO: Planet Mercury 'is getting smaller'

17 March 2014 - 7:20am
The planet Mercury is about 7km smaller today than when its crust first solidified over four billion years ago.

Telescope captures view of gravitational waves

17 March 2014 - 1:00am

Telescope captures view of gravitational waves

Nature 507, 7492 (2014).

Author: Ron Cowen

Images of the infant Universe reveal evidence for rapid inflation after the Big Bang.

Wrinkled Mercury's shrinking history

16 March 2014 - 7:36pm
The planet Mercury is about 7km smaller today than when its rocky crust first solidified over four billion years ago - a greater degree of shrinkage than previously recognised.

Astrophile: Wrinkles reveal Mercury's rapid slimming

16 March 2014 - 7:00pm
The tiny world went on a serious diet in its youth, shedding about 11 kilometres of its original width as it cooled

VLT Spots Largest Yellow Hypergiant Star

12 March 2014 - 12:00pm
ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer has revealed the largest yellow star — and one of the ten largest stars found so far. This hypergiant has been found to measure more than 1300 times the diameter of the Sun, and to be part of a double star system, with the second component so close that it is in contact with the main star. Observations spanning over sixty years, some from amateur observers, also indicate that this rare and remarkable object is changing very rapidly and has been caught during a very brief phase of its life.

First alien rainbow image holds clues to Venus mystery

11 March 2014 - 7:14pm
This rare type of rainbow has previously only been glimpsed on Earth – and could help solve a decades-old mystery about Venus's atmosphere

Invisible Saturn-sized planet given away by comet army

11 March 2014 - 3:49pm
A strange cloud of carbon monoxide, probably from icy objects crashing together, may owe its existence to an invisible exoplanet

The RAS welcomes UK support for Square Kilometre Array and PLATO. £113m in new...

11 March 2014 - 3:22pm
The RAS welcomes UK support for Square Kilometre Array and PLATO.

£113m in new funding was announced today by David Willetts.

RAS welcomes UK support for SKA and PLATO
The UK Science Minister, David Willetts MP, today announced a total of £113 million of new funding to support UK involvement in the world's most powerful radio telescope and a new space mission that will search for Earth-like planets around other stars.

Be an Asteroid Hunter in NASA's First Asteroid Grand Challenge Contest Series

10 March 2014 - 3:00pm
NASA’s Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids.