Institute of Astronomy

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Solo supernovae challenge cosmic distance standards

Astronomy News - 28 January 2015 - 6:46pm
Supernovae were thought to need help from a nearby star – if they don't, we may have to rethink how we measure cosmic distances as well as dark energy






Fractals seen in throbs of pulsating golden stars

Astronomy News - 28 January 2015 - 3:09pm
Zoom in on a star's vibrations and, if they're related by the golden ratio, you might see fractals, like a coastline. This could tell us about what's going on inside






The Mouth of the Beast

Astronomy News - 28 January 2015 - 11:07am
Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Although it appears to be big and bright in this picture, this is actually a faint nebula, which makes it very hard for amateur astronomers to spot. The exact nature of CG4 remains a mystery.

Kepler find reveals 'dawn of galaxy'

Astronomy News - 28 January 2015 - 6:27am

An ancient solar system similar to our own is discovered by scientists at the University of Birmingham studying data from the Kepler telescope.

Best ever view of asteroid Ceres

Astronomy News - 27 January 2015 - 6:05pm

The best image ever acquired of Ceres, the largest asteroid in the Solar System, is now in the hands of science.

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Captures Best-Ever View of Dwarf Planet

Astronomy News - 27 January 2015 - 3:29pm

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres on Jan. 25, and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the first human-made probe to visit a dwarf planet.

Planet hosts giant ring system

Astronomy News - 27 January 2015 - 1:58pm

Astronomers say they have discovered a gigantic ring system around a distant planet - the first such structure discovered outside our Solar System.

Near asteroid 2004 BL86 has a moon

Astronomy News - 27 January 2015 - 1:58pm

Scientists who tracked the large asteroid 2004 BL86 as it passed by Earth say it has a small satellite.

Ancient planets are almost as old as the universe

Astronomy News - 27 January 2015 - 2:21am
The oldest rocky planets yet are 11.2 billion years old, just a little younger than the universe – meaning the galaxy made an early start on planet building






Rosetta watches comet shed its dusty coat

Astronomy News - 26 January 2015 - 7:15pm

ESA's Rosetta mission is providing unique insight into the life cycle of a comet's dusty surface, watching 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it sheds the dusty coat it has accumulated over the past four years.

VIDEO: Icy mystery: Pluto ready for close-up

Astronomy News - 25 January 2015 - 8:36am

The US space agency's mission to Pluto is about to take its first pictures of the mysterious icy world.

Eyes on Pluto for historic encounter

Astronomy News - 25 January 2015 - 6:38am

Nasa's mission to Pluto gets under way in earnest as the New Horizons probe starts taking the pictures needed for July's close fly-by.

Getting to know Rosetta's comet

Astronomy News - 22 January 2015 - 10:50pm

Rosetta is revealing its host comet as having a remarkable array of surface features and with many processes contributing to its activity, painting a complex picture of its evolution.

Weird cosmic echoes may offer new glimpse of big bang

Astronomy News - 22 January 2015 - 8:47pm

Any event that creates photons may leave a kind of electromagnetic echo. If so, echoes from the big bang itself may still be detectable

#RosettaWatch: My summer holiday around a comet

Astronomy News - 22 January 2015 - 8:47pm
The first big batch of science results from the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft are just out. Here's our pick of the bunch.






Comet shows off its 'goosebumps'

Astronomy News - 22 January 2015 - 8:13pm

Scientists working on Europe's Rosetta mission say they may have found evidence for how comets are formed.

NASA, Microsoft Collaboration Will Allow Scientists to ‘Work on Mars’

Astronomy News - 21 January 2015 - 10:19pm

NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software called OnSight, a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens.

Meteorite is 'hard drive' from space

Astronomy News - 21 January 2015 - 8:08pm

Researchers have decoded ancient recordings from fragments of an asteroid dating back billions of years to the start of the Solar System.

Crunch time for pet theory on dark matter

Astronomy News - 21 January 2015 - 6:37pm

Crunch time for pet theory on dark matter

Nature 517, 7535 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/517422a

Author: Davide Castelvecchi

Thought to make up the Universe’s missing matter, WIMPs are running out of places to hide.

Astronomy: Cosmic fog and smog

Astronomy News - 21 January 2015 - 6:37pm

Astronomy: Cosmic fog and smog

Nature 517, 7535 (2015). doi:10.1038/517444a

Authors: Molly S. Peeples

It emerges that most of the elements heavier than helium are not found in galaxies, where they can be mixed into future stars and planets. Instead, these elements largely reside far from galaxies in ionized gas and dust particles.