Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

Update on the Hubble safe mode

3 hours 23 min ago

ESA PR 28-2018: BepiColombo blasts off to investigate Mercury's mysteries

22 October 2018 - 9:04am

The ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury blasted off on an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou at 01:45:28 GMT on 20 October on its exciting mission to study the mysteries of the Solar System’s innermost planet.

Mercury: Why we need to learn more about it

19 October 2018 - 10:01am

BepiColombo: the latest space mission to explore Mercury is being launched and will help us learn more about Earth

Largest Galaxy Proto-Supercluster Found

18 October 2018 - 9:42am
An international team of astronomers using the VIMOS instrument of ESO’s Very Large Telescope have uncovered a titanic structure in the early Universe. This galaxy proto-supercluster — which they nickname Hyperion — was unveiled by new measurements and a complex examination of archive data. This is the largest and most massive structure yet found at such a remote time and distance — merely 2 billion years after the Big Bang.

A two per cent Hubble constant measurement from standard sirens within five years

18 October 2018 - 9:40am

A two per cent Hubble constant measurement from standard sirens within five years

A two per cent Hubble constant measurement from standard sirens within five years, Published online: 17 October 2018; doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0606-0

Gravitational-wave observations of binary neutron-star mergers will enable precision measurements of the Hubble constant within five years.

Solar flair: the Sun on show

18 October 2018 - 9:39am

Solar flair: the Sun on show

Solar flair: the Sun on show, Published online: 17 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07093-7

Elizabeth Gibney soaks up an exhibition blazing with hot science and cultural riches.

Twenty-five years of using microlensing to study dark matter

17 October 2018 - 9:31am

Twenty-five years of using microlensing to study dark matter

Twenty-five years of using microlensing to study dark matter, Published online: 16 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07006-8

In 1993, two papers reported observations of an astronomical phenomenon called gravitational microlensing. The results showed that microlensing could be used to probe the elusive dark matter that is thought to pervade the Universe.

All systems go for second-ever mission to enter Mercury’s orbit

16 October 2018 - 9:10am

All systems go for second-ever mission to enter Mercury’s orbit

All systems go for second-ever mission to enter Mercury’s orbit, Published online: 15 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06996-9

European and Japanese €1.6-billion double probe, BepiColombo, will take seven years to reach the Solar System’s innermost planet.

Cosmic bubble spawns one of the biggest galactic swarms ever seen

16 October 2018 - 9:10am

Cosmic bubble spawns one of the biggest galactic swarms ever seen

Cosmic bubble spawns one of the biggest galactic swarms ever seen, Published online: 15 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07028-2

A protocluster of galaxies was born when the Universe was one billion years old.

Hawking's final science study released

12 October 2018 - 9:13am

Stephen Hawking's final scientific paper has been released, and deals with one of the central topics in the physicist's 56-year-long career.

Telescope ground breaking begins

11 October 2018 - 9:04am
Excavation has begun at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile for the 25 m Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). The work will involve removing around 13 300 tonnes of rock from the mountain and is expected to take around five months to complete.

NASA launches Parker Solar Probe mission to 'touch' the Sun

11 October 2018 - 9:03am
NASA has launched a mission to study the Sun’s atmosphere and solar wind that will come far closer to our star than any other craft before.

Upgrade for Arecibo Observatory

11 October 2018 - 9:03am
US engineers and scientists have been awarded $5.8m from the National Science Foundation to design and build a new antenna for the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Music of the stars

11 October 2018 - 9:02am
Retired US astronomer and teacher Andrew Fraknoi has painstakingly put together a collection of musical pieces inspired by astronomy.

Water found under Mars' south pole

11 October 2018 - 9:02am
A radar instrument on a European mission to Mars has discovered liquid water beneath the red planet’s south polar ice cap, raising intriguing possibilities for both astrobiology and studies of Mars’ past climate.

Construction of Europe's exoplanet hunter PLATO begins

9 October 2018 - 11:33am

The construction of ESA's PLATO mission to find and study planets beyond our Solar System will be led by Germany's OHB System AG as prime contractor, marking the start of the full industrial phase of the project.

Tracing the Universe: X-ray survey supports standard cosmological model

9 October 2018 - 11:33am

Scanning the sky for X-ray sources, ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has been busy with the XXL Survey, its largest observational programme to date. The second batch of data from the survey has just been released, including information on 365 galaxy clusters, which trace the large-scale structure of the Universe and its evolution through time, and on 26 000 active galactic nuclei (AGN).

Hubble finds compelling evidence for a moon outside the Solar System [heic1817]

9 October 2018 - 11:33am

Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and older data from the Kepler Space Telescope two astronomers have found the first compelling evidence for a moon outside our own Solar System. The data indicate an exomoon the size of Neptune, in a stellar system 8000 light-years from Earth. The new results are presented in the journal Science Advances.

Cassini probe sniffs out strange radiation belt inside Saturn’s rings

9 October 2018 - 11:32am

Cassini probe sniffs out strange radiation belt inside Saturn’s rings

Cassini probe sniffs out strange radiation belt inside Saturn’s rings, Published online: 04 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06925-w

NASA spacecraft's swan song reveals unusual behaviour by charged particles close to the planet.

Hubble telescope stops collecting data after mechanical fault

9 October 2018 - 11:31am

Hubble telescope stops collecting data after mechanical fault

Hubble telescope stops collecting data after mechanical fault, Published online: 08 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06984-z

A malfunctioning gyroscope has temporarily hobbled the ageing space observatory.