Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

Blowing a crater in asteroid Ryugu

3 April 2020 - 9:12am

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Full Mirror Deployment a Success

3 April 2020 - 9:07am
Portal origin URL: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Full Mirror Deployment a SuccessPortal origin nid: 459384Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 14:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: In a recent test, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope fully deployed its primary mirror into the same configuration it will have when in space.Portal image: Fully deployed JWST mirrorScience Categories: Universe

Hungry black hole may be cosmic 'missing link'

2 April 2020 - 9:33am

Astronomers say they have found the best evidence yet for an elusive class of black hole.

Hubble Finds Best Evidence for Elusive Mid-Sized Black Hole

2 April 2020 - 9:28am
Portal origin URL: Hubble Finds Best Evidence for Elusive Mid-Sized Black HolePortal origin nid: 459374Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 13:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: Astronomers have found the best evidence for the perpetrator of a cosmic homicide: a black hole of an elusive class known as "intermediate-mass," which betrayed its existence by tearing apart a wayward star that passed too close.Portal image: illustration of a glowing black hole accretion disk with material spiraling into it.Science Categories: Universe

NASA Selects Mission to Study Causes of Giant Solar Particle Storms

1 April 2020 - 9:35am

NASA has selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms – known as solar particle storms – into planetary space.

Telescope named after Vera Rubin

31 March 2020 - 9:16am
The upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope on Cerro Pachón in Chile has been renamed the Vera C Rubin Observatory, making it the first national US observatory to be named after a female astronomer.

The enduring enigma of the cosmic cold spot

31 March 2020 - 9:16am
Syed Faisal ur Rahman delves into the various explanations for the strange “cold spot” in the cosmic microwave background, the ancient light of the Big Bang, that bathes the universe

European Space Agency launches Solar Orbiter mission

31 March 2020 - 9:15am
A new mission to take the most detailed view yet of the Sun and its polar regions has been launched by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Convection cells the size of Texas dazzle with clarity on the Sun

31 March 2020 - 9:14am
An image of the Sun with the highest spatial resolution ever has been taken by the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope. Located on Haleakala volcano in Hawaii, the Inouye Solar Telescope has a mirror that measures 4 m across, making it the largest solar telescope ever.

Europe launches CHEOPS exoplanet mission

31 March 2020 - 9:13am
The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched a new mission to take a closer look at nearby bright stars that are already known to have exoplanets orbiting around them.

NASA Selects Mission to Study Causes of Giant Solar Particle Storms

31 March 2020 - 9:08am
Portal origin URL: NASA Selects Mission to Study Causes of Giant Solar Particle StormsPortal origin nid: 459353Published: Monday, March 30, 2020 - 11:08Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: NASA has selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms – known as solar particle storms – into planetary space.Portal image: A new NASA mission called SunRISE will study what drives solar particle storms – giant surges of solar particlesScience Categories: Sun

X-ray data constrain dark matter decay

27 March 2020 - 10:04am

The dark matter interpretation of the 3.5-keV line is inconsistent with blank-sky observations

27 March 2020 - 10:02am

Observations of nearby galaxies and galaxy clusters have reported an unexpected x-ray emission line around 3.5 kilo–electron volts (keV). Proposals to explain this line include decaying dark matter—in particular, that the decay of sterile neutrinos with a mass around 7 keV could match the available data. If this interpretation is correct, the 3.5-keV line should also be emitted by dark matter in the halo of the Milky Way. We used more than 30 megaseconds of XMM-Newton (X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission) blank-sky observations to test this hypothesis, finding no evidence of the 3.5-keV line emission from the Milky Way halo. We set an upper limit on the decay rate of dark matter in this mass range, which is inconsistent with the possibility that the 3.5-keV line originates from dark matter decay.

Revisiting Decades-Old Voyager 2 Data, Scientists Find One More Secret

26 March 2020 - 9:53am
Portal origin URL: Revisiting Decades-Old Voyager 2 Data, Scientists Find One More SecretPortal origin nid: 459131Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 10:01Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: Three decades after Voyager 2’s flyby of Uranus, scientists took another look at the data. This time, they noticed a tiny squiggle that could mean giant globs of Uranus’ atmosphere are escaping to space.Portal image: Voyager 2 Image of UranusScience Categories: Solar System

Coronavirus pandemic threatens launch of world's most-expensive telescope

25 March 2020 - 10:25am

Nature, Published online: 24 March 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00868-x

NASA halts work on the US$8.8-billion James Webb Space Telescope, which was due to launch next year.

Quasar Tsunamis Rip Across Galaxies

23 March 2020 - 9:53am
Portal origin URL: Quasar Tsunamis Rip Across GalaxiesPortal origin nid: 459027Published: Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 13:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: Astronomers have discovered the most energetic outflows ever witnessed in the universe. They emanate from quasars and tear across interstellar space like tsunamis, wreaking havoc on the galaxies in which the quasars live.Portal image: illustration of a dusty swirl of particles spiraling in, with streams of glowing material spewing outward from the centerScience Categories: Universe

The red planet quakes

20 March 2020 - 10:27am

The killer asteroid that unleashed a giant dust cloud across the globe

20 March 2020 - 10:23am

Nature, Published online: 19 March 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00807-w

Modelling finally explains how debris from a space rock’s impact travelled around the world.

Chandra Data Tests 'Theory of Everything'

20 March 2020 - 10:23am
Portal origin URL: Chandra Data Tests 'Theory of Everything'Portal origin nid: 459030Published: Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 05:22Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: Astronomers used Chandra to perform a test of string theory, a possible "theory of everything" that would tie all of known physics together.Portal image: Perseus galaxy cluster.Science Categories: Universe