Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

Mars Mountain was All Wet

14 December 2014 - 8:31am
Observations by NASA’s Curiosity Rover indicate Mars' Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years. This suggests ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes at many locations on the Red Planet.

Embers from a Rock Comet

12 December 2014 - 9:29pm
Earth is passing through a stream of debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters expect as many as 120 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Dec. 13-14.

Even in colour, Comet 67P is grey

12 December 2014 - 6:50pm

The first colour image from the Rosetta spacecraft shows that Comet 67P is even more dark and monochrome than expected.

Cosmic collision sparks blinding x-ray light show

12 December 2014 - 5:30pm
As a pair of colliding galaxies merges, a flurry of forming stars produce ultra-bright x-ray bursts






Cosmic collision sparks blinding x-ray light show

12 December 2014 - 5:30pm

As a pair of colliding galaxies merges, a flurry of forming stars produce ultra-bright x-ray bursts






Soggy space rocks brought water to young moon

11 December 2014 - 3:47pm
The scorching impact that formed the moon should have left it completely dry, but a rain of meteorites may have delivered water






Comets 'not source of Earth's water'

10 December 2014 - 7:05pm

Data from the Rosetta probe suggests that water on Earth may not have come from comets, scientists conclude.

Rosetta fuels debate on origin of Earth's oceans

10 December 2014 - 7:00pm
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet's oceans.

#RosettaWatch: Comet water is not like Earth's

10 December 2014 - 7:00pm

The idea that comets brought water to the young Earth has taken a blow after the discovery that comet 67P's water is very different to that of our planet






Young, hotheaded stars could host habitable worlds

10 December 2014 - 5:10pm
"Infant Earths" could expand the search for alien life – but there's a warning note for supposedly habitable planets orbiting mature stars






Cosmic rays drive the galactic pottery wheel

10 December 2014 - 4:06pm

The flat disc shape of the Milky Way galaxy had been a mystery. Now simulations suggest it could be thanks to winds driven by charged particles






The sun and Jupiter could reveal space-time ripples

10 December 2014 - 3:41pm
The wobbles caused by gigantic gravitational waves have never been measured directly, but we could use the sun and Jupiter as a huge wave detector






Curiosity rover finds ancient lake in Martian crater

8 December 2014 - 9:05pm

The crater that NASA's Curiosity rover is exploring was once a wide, shallow lake that may have lasted for tens of millions of years






NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Clues to How Water Helped Shape Martian Landscape

8 December 2014 - 4:00pm

Observations by NASA’s Curiosity Rover indicate Mars' Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years.

Goals defined for UK's Lunar mission

8 December 2014 - 1:23am

Scientists set out the detailed scientific goals of a proposed UK-led mission to the Moon, including research into the feasibility of a human base there.

New Horizons Wakes Up on Pluto's Doorstep

7 December 2014 - 5:04pm
After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles —the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation on Dec. 6th for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system.