Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

Gaia satellite and amateur astronomers spot one in a billion star

Published on 22/07/2015 

Artist’s impression of Gaia14aae. Credit: Marisa Grove/Institute of Astronomy

The Gaia satellite has discovered a unique binary system where one star is ‘eating’ the other, but neither star has any hydrogen, the most common element in the Universe. The system could be an important tool for understanding how binary stars might explode at the end of their lives.

Gaia satellite and amateur astronomers spot one in a billion star

Published on 17/07/2015 

An international team of researchers, with the assistance of amateur astronomers, have discovered a unique binary star system: the first known such system where one star completely eclipses the other. It is a type of two-star system known as a Cataclysmic Variable, where one super dense white dwarf star is stealing gas from its companion star, effectively ‘cannibalising’ it.

Second Catalogue of Planck compact sources released

Published on 09/07/2015 

Figure caption: Map of selection of compact sources from the Second Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

A fresh check on supernova cosmology

Published on 06/07/2015 

A team from the University of Cambridge has used the largest sample of supernovae and host galaxies to date to study the relation between host galaxy and the precise brightness of the supernova.

‘Sunscreen’ Layer found on Extreme Planet

Published on 10/06/2015 

NASA scientists detected a stratosphere on WASP-33b by measuring the drop in light as the planet passed behind its star (top). Temperatures in the low stratosphere rise (right) because of molecules absorbing radiation from the star; otherwise, temperatures would cool down at higher altitudes (left).

Link to the accompanying NASA vido on Youtube.

‘Sunscreen’ layer detected on distant planet