Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

Latest Hubble measurements suggest disparity in Hubble constant calculations is not a fluke [heic1908]

7 hours 12 min ago

Hubble's measurements of today's expansion rate do not match the rate that was expected based on how the Universe appeared shortly after the Big Bang over 13 billion years ago. Using new data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have significantly lowered the possibility that this discrepancy is a fluke.

Call for Proposals for an ESA-ESO Workshop in 2020

25 April 2019 - 9:35am
Members of the astronomy community are invited to submit proposals for a joint ESA-ESO workshop, to be held 21-25 September 2020, at ESAC, in Spain. Proposals should relate to science/facility-related topics where both ESA and ESO have provided and/or provide crucial contributions. The deadline for proposals is 5 June 2019.

Dark-matter detector observes exotic nuclear decay

25 April 2019 - 9:34am

Dark-matter detector observes exotic nuclear decay

Dark-matter detector observes exotic nuclear decay, Published online: 24 April 2019; doi:10.1038/d41586-019-01212-8

A detector that was designed to probe dark matter, the ‘missing’ mass in the Universe, has seen an elusive nuclear decay called two-neutrino double electron capture — with implications for nuclear and particle physics.

The new frontier of gravitational waves

25 April 2019 - 9:34am

The new frontier of gravitational waves

The new frontier of gravitational waves, Published online: 24 April 2019; doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1129-z

The history and advancements of gravitational-wave astronomy are reviewed and the future of the field is discussed.

Nasa lander 'detects first Marsquake'

24 April 2019 - 9:47am

It is the first seismic signal ever detected on the surface of a body other than Earth and its Moon.

First ‘marsquake’ detected on red planet

24 April 2019 - 9:46am

First ‘marsquake’ detected on red planet

First ‘marsquake’ detected on red planet, Published online: 23 April 2019; doi:10.1038/d41586-019-01330-3

NASA’s InSight lander hears seismic energy rippling through Mars.

New Planetary Protection Board to Review Guidelines for Future Solar System and Beyond Exploration

24 April 2019 - 9:46am

Following National Academy of Sciences recommendations, advice from the NASA Advisory Council, and subsequent unanimous agreement from NASA’s science leadership, the agency has established an independent Planetary Protection Review Board to review established guidelines for planetary protection and recommend any updates that are required. Planetary protection policies are designed to protect solar system bodies from contamination by Earth life, and to protect Earth from possible harm from potential biological sources beyond our planet.

News Article Type: Homepage ArticlesPublished: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 16:06

Hubble celebrates its 29th birthday with unrivaled view of the Southern Crab Nebula [heic1907]

23 April 2019 - 9:07am

This incredible image of the hourglass-shaped Southern Crab Nebula was taken to mark the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's 29th anniversary in space. The nebula, created by a binary star system, is one of the many objects that Hubble has demystified throughout its productive life. This new image adds to our understanding of the nebula and demonstrates the telescope's continued capabilities.

Planck reveals link between active galaxies and their dark matter environment

18 April 2019 - 9:31am

Scientists have used the tiny distortions imprinted on the cosmic microwave background by the gravity of matter throughout the Universe, recorded by ESA's Planck satellite, to uncover the connection between the luminosity of quasars – the bright cores of active galaxies – and the mass of the much larger 'halos' of dark matter in which they sit. The result is an important confirmation for our understanding of how galaxies evolve across cosmic history.

Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH<sup>+</sup>

18 April 2019 - 9:29am

Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH+

Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH<sup>+</sup>, Published online: 17 April 2019; doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1090-x

Studies of the planetary nebula NGC 7027, using an upgraded spectrometer onboard a high-altitude observatory, have identified the rotational ground-state transition of the helium hydride ion—the first molecule to form after the Big Bang and an essential precursor to molecular hydrogen.

The Universe’s First Molecule Is Found at Last

18 April 2019 - 9:28am
Portal origin URL: The Universe’s First Molecule Is Found at LastPortal origin nid: 443650Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 13:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: Scientists detected the first type of molecule that ever formed, called helium hydride, using Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA.Portal image: Illustration of planetary nebula NGC 7027 and helium hydride molecules.Science Categories: Universe

Light pollution not improving, says CPRE

17 April 2019 - 9:17am

Just one in 50 people in England experiences nights that are free from light pollution.

The cosmic drama that helped to build the Milky Way

17 April 2019 - 9:16am

The cosmic drama that helped to build the Milky Way

The cosmic drama that helped to build the Milky Way, Published online: 16 April 2019; doi:10.1038/d41586-019-01226-2

Stellar baby boom added a slew of stars to the Galaxy’s disk.

New Horizons takes images of furthest object ever visited

17 April 2019 - 9:16am
NASA’s New Horizons mission has reached a small lump of rock and ice some 6.5 billion kilometres away in the Kuiper belt.

Microwaves could spot dark matter

17 April 2019 - 9:16am
A powerful beam of microwaves fired into space could be used to detect hypothetical dark-matter particles called axions.

Telescope site agreed

17 April 2019 - 9:15am
The final agreements have been signed to begin construction on the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) in Chile.

Father of X-ray astronomy Riccardo Giacconi dies at 87

17 April 2019 - 9:13am
The Italian astrophysicist Riccardo Giacconi, who shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physics with Raymond Davis Jr and Masatoshi Koshiba, has died at the age of 87.

SKA convention set to be signed in Rome

17 April 2019 - 9:13am
Officials at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) are set to convene in Rome this month to sign a convention to create an intergovernmental governing body for the huge radio telescope that is under construction in South Africa and Australia.

LIGO upgrade to allow 'almost daily' detection of gravitational waves

17 April 2019 - 9:12am
The UK and US have announced a $35m upgrade to the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (aLIGO).

Visitor from another star

17 April 2019 - 9:12am
Asteroid, comet, alien ship or something else altogether? Astronomers are still unsure about the true nature of ‘Oumuamua – the first confirmed interstellar object to be detected in our solar system – as Andrew Glester finds