Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

Hitomi Mission Glimpses Cosmic 'Recipe' for the Nearby Universe

Published on 13/11/2017 

Before its brief mission ended unexpectedly in March 2016, Japan's Hitomi X-ray observatory captured exceptional information about the motions of hot gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster. Scientists have been able to analyze more deeply the chemical make-up of this gas, providing new insights into the stellar explosions that formed most of these elements and cast them into space.

First detection of gravitational waves produced by colliding neutron stars

Published on 16/10/2017 

In a galaxy far away, two dead stars begin a final spiral into a massive collision. The resulting explosion unleashes a huge burst of energy, sending ripples across the very fabric of space. In the nuclear cauldron of the collision, atoms are ripped apart to form entirely new elements and scattered outward across the Universe.

It could be a scenario from science fiction, but it really happened 130 million years ago -- in the NGC 4993 galaxy in the Hydra constellation, at a time here on Earth when dinosaurs still ruled, and flowering plants were only just evolving.

The Scientific Quest to Explain Tabby's Star

Published on 10/10/2017 

One of the most mysterious stellar objects may be revealing some of its secrets at last.

Black Holes with Ravenous Appetites Define Type I Active Galaxies

Published on 28/09/2017 

New research suggests that the central black holes in Type I and Type II active galaxies consume matter at different rates, upending popular theory

For decades, astronomers have tried to pin down why two of the most common types of active galaxies, known as Type I and Type II galaxies, appear different when observed from Earth. Although both galaxy types host voracious supermassive black holes known as active galactic nuclei, which actively swallow matter and emit massive amounts of radiation, Type I galaxies appear brighter to astronomers’ telescopes.

An inferno world with titanium skies

Published on 13/09/2017 

An international team of astronomers has detected titanium oxide in the atmosphere of an exoplanet for the first time. The results, reported in the journal Nature, provide unique information about the chemical composition and the temperature and pressure structure of the atmosphere of this unusual and very hot world.