Institute of Astronomy

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Stellar motions in nearby galaxy hint at underlying dark matter

Astronomy News - 29 November 2017 - 9:25am

By pinning down, for the first time, the three-dimensional motions of individual stars in the nearby Sculptor dwarf galaxy, astronomers have shed new light on the distribution of invisible dark matter that pervades the galaxy. This study combined the positions of stars measured by ESA's Gaia mission with observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope taken twelve years earlier.

Hubble and Gaia team up to measure 3D stellar motion with record-breaking precision [heic1719]

Astronomy News - 29 November 2017 - 9:24am

A team of astronomers used data from both the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ESA's Gaia satellite to directly measure the 3D motions of individual stars in a nearby galaxy. The achieved accuracy is better than anything previously measured for a galaxy beyond the Milky Way. The motions provide a field test of the currently-accepted cosmological model and also measure the trajectory of the galaxy through space. The results are published in Nature Astronomy.

We’ve found a bunch of dwarf galaxies we thought didn’t exist

Astronomy News - 29 November 2017 - 9:22am

The missing dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way have been found. Their existence means dark matter could be made of particles that are warmer than we expected

Mysterious gamma rays in Crab nebula traced to pulsar winds

Astronomy News - 29 November 2017 - 9:22am

Ultra-bright flashes in the Crab nebula have baffled astronomers, but they could result from winds created by a pulsar at the heart of the gas cloud

A force to be reckoned with

Astronomy News - 29 November 2017 - 9:20am

Think you know what gravity is? Think again. New research is revealing how little we know about this most mysterious of forces. Read the rest of the article from the latest version of CAM, the University's alumni magazine, here.

Gravity is one of the universe's great mysteries. We decided to find out why.

La TigreSupermassive black holes


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How to solve the problem of space junk

Astronomy News - 29 November 2017 - 9:19am

A British spacecraft is trying to clean up what we send up but never bring down.

Einstein’s theory put to the test

Astronomy News - 27 November 2017 - 9:10am

Einstein’s theory put to the test

Einstein’s theory put to the test, Published online: 24 November 2017; doi:10.1038/d41586-017-07497-x

Attempts to break relativity get ever-more stringent.

Signs of running water on Mars dunes are probably just dry sand

Astronomy News - 23 November 2017 - 9:15am

The strange striped patterns that appear and fade away on Martian slopes were once thought to be evidence of flowing water – they’re actually made by dry sand

Light pollution is set to double between now and 2050

Astronomy News - 23 November 2017 - 9:14am

The first global “light census” shows that the area affected by artificial lighting is growing by 2.2 per cent every year, posing risks to wildlife and human health

Giant telescope’s mobile-phone ‘dead zones’ rile South African residents

Astronomy News - 23 November 2017 - 9:12am

Giant telescope’s mobile-phone ‘dead zones’ rile South African residents

Nature 551, 7681 (2017). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2017.22998

Author: Sarah Wild

Sensitive radio dishes of the Square Kilometre Array will affect phone reception — and could harm local economies, say farmers.

Exoplanet hunters rethink search for alien life

Astronomy News - 23 November 2017 - 9:12am

Exoplanet hunters rethink search for alien life

Nature 551, 7681 (2017). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2017.23023

Author: Alexandra Witze

Astronomers expand ideas of how chemistry and geology could affect chances for life on other worlds.

Light pollution: Night being lost in many countries

Astronomy News - 23 November 2017 - 9:11am

Much of the world is "losing the night" as artificial light becomes brighter and more widespread, say scientists.

High-energy 'ghost particles' absorbed by Earth

Astronomy News - 23 November 2017 - 9:10am

Neutrinos are famous for travelling through solid objects, but they don't go through everything, a study shows.