Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

Nasa's Jupiter mission Juno reveals giant polar storms

14 December 2018 - 3:36pm

Stunning images from Nasa's Jupiter "JunoCam" show huge, "endless storms" at the planet's poles.

Dive over Jupiter's cloud-tops with Nasa's Juno craft

14 December 2018 - 3:35pm

Nasa's Juno mission to Jupiter has reached its halfway mark and revealed spectacular views of the planet's polar storms.

Ancient life may be easier to find on Mars

14 December 2018 - 3:35pm

When the US space agency's next rover gets to Mars in 2021, it will seek evidence of ancient life.

China’s place among the stars

13 December 2018 - 10:29am

China’s place among the stars

China’s place among the stars, Published online: 12 December 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07690-6

The FAST telescope dish, stretching half a kilometre, will thrust China’s radio astronomers into a role of global leadership.

Dancing with the Enemy

13 December 2018 - 10:27am
While testing a new subsystem on the SPHERE planet-hunting instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers were able to capture dramatic details of the turbulent stellar relationship in the binary star R Aquarii with unprecedented clarity — even compared to observations from Hubble.

Rosetta witnesses birth of baby bow shock around comet

13 December 2018 - 10:26am

A new study reveals that, contrary to first impressions, Rosetta did detect signs of an infant bow shock at the comet it explored for two years – the first ever seen forming anywhere in the Solar System.

Parker Solar Probe: Sun-skimming mission starts calling home

13 December 2018 - 10:25am

Having become the closest-ever human-made object to our star, the Parker spacecraft returns its first data

Nasa's Voyager 2 probe 'leaves the Solar System'

11 December 2018 - 9:15am

Voyager 2, a space probe launched in 1977, becomes only the second human-made object to enter the space between the stars.

NASA’s Voyager 2 Probe Enters Interstellar Space

11 December 2018 - 9:14am
For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars. NASA’s Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun.

China launches spacecraft to the far side of the Moon

11 December 2018 - 9:14am

China launches spacecraft to the far side of the Moon

China launches spacecraft to the far side of the Moon, Published online: 10 December 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07699-x

The Chang’e-4 probe is set to arrive at its destination early next year.

Voyager 2 enters interstellar space after 41 years

11 December 2018 - 9:13am

Voyager 2 enters interstellar space after 41 years

Voyager 2 enters interstellar space after 41 years, Published online: 10 December 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07727-w

Second of NASA's epic long-distance probes sails beyond the Sun's influence.

First Light for SPECULOOS

6 December 2018 - 9:20am
The SPECULOOS project has made its first observations at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. SPECULOOS will focus on detecting Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby ultra-cool stars and brown dwarfs.

Daily briefing: Spying signs of a mega black-hole merger

6 December 2018 - 9:18am

Daily briefing: Spying signs of a mega black-hole merger

Daily briefing: Spying signs of a mega black-hole merger, Published online: 05 December 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07660-y

A glut of gravitational-wave results, a petition backing a plan to do away with paywalled research, and the first healthy birth from a womb transplanted from a deceased donor.

An experiment to search for dark-matter interactions using sodium iodide detectors

6 December 2018 - 9:18am

An experiment to search for dark-matter interactions using sodium iodide detectors

An experiment to search for dark-matter interactions using sodium iodide detectors, Published online: 05 December 2018; doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0739-1

Early results from the COSINE-100 experiment—designed to test a much-debated claim of the detection of a dark-matter signal—show no indications of dark matter, providing evidence against the previous claim.

Epic storm roils a tranquil region of Neptune

6 December 2018 - 9:18am

Epic storm roils a tranquil region of Neptune

Epic storm roils a tranquil region of Neptune, Published online: 05 December 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07622-4

Amateur astronomers help to track a disturbance in the icy planet’s atmosphere.

These dusty young stars are changing the rules of planet-building

5 December 2018 - 9:13am

These dusty young stars are changing the rules of planet-building

These dusty young stars are changing the rules of planet-building, Published online: 04 December 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07591-8

Astronomers peer inside planetary nurseries for clues about how our Solar System and others came to be.

Gravitational-wave astronomers detect hints of largest black-hole merger yet

5 December 2018 - 9:12am

Gravitational-wave astronomers detect hints of largest black-hole merger yet

Gravitational-wave astronomers detect hints of largest black-hole merger yet, Published online: 04 December 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07649-7

Physicists at the LIGO experiment have now detected 11 cosmic events that produce ripples in the fabric of space-time.

Gravitational waves: Monster black hole merger detected

4 December 2018 - 9:17am

Laser labs sense gravitational waves from a black hole collision at least five billion light-years away.

Osiris-Rex: Nasa probe arrives at Asteroid Bennu

4 December 2018 - 9:16am

Nasa's Osiris-Rex spacecraft moves alongside the 500m-wide rock from which it hopes to grab a sample.

NASA'S OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Arrives at Asteroid Bennu

4 December 2018 - 9:16am
NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft completed its 1.2 billion-mile (2 billion-kilometer) journey to arrive at the asteroid Bennu Monday.