Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

‘Unsustainable’: how satellite swarms pose a rising threat to astronomy

27 May 2022 - 10:11am

Nature, Published online: 26 May 2022; doi:10.1038/d41586-022-01420-9

SpaceX and other companies are still struggling to make their satellites darker in the night sky.

End draws near for lander that mapped the interior of Mars

27 May 2022 - 10:10am
Science, <a href="https://www.science.org/toc/science/376/6596">Volume 376, Issue 6596</a>, Page 905-905, May 2022.

Hubble Views an Interacting Spiral

27 May 2022 - 10:07am
Portal origin URL: Hubble Views an Interacting SpiralPortal origin nid: 479771Published: Thursday, May 26, 2022 - 08:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: This image, taken by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, features the spiral galaxy NGC 3509.Portal image: spiral galaxy bisects the image from center left to bottom right. the lower left corner of the image is blacked out, a WFPC2 artifact.

Hubble Looks at a Face-On Grand Spiral

27 May 2022 - 10:07am
Portal origin URL: Hubble Looks at a Face-On Grand SpiralPortal origin nid: 479775Published: Thursday, May 26, 2022 - 08:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: This image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope features the Grand Design Spiral, NGC 3631, located some 53 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major.Portal image: sublime face-on spiral galaxy whose central bulge of stars is at center left. Its spiral arms radiate out filling the image. Dark reddish-brown dust lanes line the inner part of the spiral arms.

Black-hole image sheds light on Milky Way mysteries

26 May 2022 - 10:29am

Nature, Published online: 25 May 2022; doi:10.1038/d41586-022-01462-z

A growing body of evidence, including observations that produced the first image of Sagittarius A*, is starting to reveal the inner workings of our Galaxy’s core.

Hubble Captures a Galactic Dance

26 May 2022 - 10:01am
Portal origin URL: Hubble Captures a Galactic DancePortal origin nid: 479766Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 08:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image finds the large spiral galaxy, NGC 3227, wrapped in a turbulent gravitational dance with its companion, the elliptical galaxy NGC 3226.Portal image: Lower left: large spiral galaxy with reddish brown dust lanes extends toward the center of the image. Center right: bright elliptical galaxy

Puzzling Triple Star System

25 May 2022 - 8:58am
Planet Hunter TESS

Citizen scientists have discovered a strange lopsided system consisting of three very massive stars orbiting around one another very rapidly---a rare combination that has scientists asking how this system could have formed.

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Binarity of a protostar affects the evolution of the disk and planets

24 May 2022 - 10:03am

Nature, Published online: 23 May 2022; doi:10.1038/s41586-022-04659-4

Binarity and multiplicity in general strongly affect the properties of emerging stars, as well as the physical and chemical structures of protoplanetary disks and therefore potentially any emerging planetary systems.

NGC 541 Fuels an Irregular Galaxy in New Hubble Image

24 May 2022 - 10:01am
Portal origin URL: NGC 541 Fuels an Irregular Galaxy in New Hubble ImagePortal origin nid: 479706Published: Monday, May 23, 2022 - 08:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: This striking pair is lenticular galaxy NGC 541 and an unusual star-forming, irregular dwarf galaxy known as Minkowski’s Object (the bluish object to the lower left of NGC 541).Portal image: Center, right: Bright, white elliptical galaxy with very bright core from which a diffuse glow extends outward. Another bright, smaller/more distant galaxy is below it, while bright blue/white irregular is to its lower left.

ESO observatories to reopen for public visits

21 May 2022 - 8:13pm

ESO’s observatory sites in Chile are once again opening their doors to the public, after two years of pandemic-related closures. From 28 May, visitors will be able to take free tours of the sites in Paranal and La Silla.

We hope to once again amaze people with ESO's impressive telescopes, immersed in the most incredible landscapes of the Atacama Desert,'' says Luis Chavarría, ESO Representative in Chile. “The reopening of our sites to the public marks a small but significant step for ESO.” 

Tours of the ESO sites provide a unique opportunity for anybody to experience what it is like at the forefront of astronomy research. Visitors can explore inside the ESO telescopes, learn about their technology, and even witness where astronomers and engineers find a much-needed oasis in the desert. 

Public tours will run every Saturday at 10:00 and 14:00 in Spanish and English. Each tour will be limited to a capacity of 40 people at both Paranal and La Silla. As time progresses, ESO will adapt to changes in COVID-19 local guidelines, with the aim of offering more spaces on the tours. 

Visitors will have to register in advance, for which there are online forms for La Silla and Paranal. Visitors should fill a COVID-19 health declaration form 24 to 48 hours prior to the visit. In addition, they must comply with the new COVID-19 protocol and guidelines, including wearing masks (disposable surgical masks, N95, KN95) for the duration of the visit and showing the Chilean Mobility Pass or proof of a negative PCR test. 

“We are very much looking forward to slowly but safely opening our observatories to the public for the first time in two years” says Laura Ventura, ESO’s Head of Communication in Chile.

Hubble Captures a Peculiar Pair

21 May 2022 - 8:13pm
Portal origin URL: Hubble Captures a Peculiar PairPortal origin nid: 479337Published: Friday, May 20, 2022 - 08:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: This new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of IC 4271, also known as Arp 40, is a curious pair of spiral galaxies some 800 million light-years away.Portal image: Two, face-on spiral galaxies. The larger one is centered in the image. The smaller one is superimposed on the upper left side of the larger.

Galaxies without dark matter perplex astronomers

20 May 2022 - 8:37am

Nature, Published online: 19 May 2022; doi:10.1038/d41586-022-01410-x

Researchers say a cosmic collision could have created two galaxies that don’t contain the mysterious substance — but others cast doubt on the claim.

Hubble Focuses on a Large Lenticular

20 May 2022 - 8:36am
Portal origin URL: Hubble Focuses on a Large LenticularPortal origin nid: 479336Published: Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 08:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: This new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image looks at one of the nearest, massive lenticular galaxies to Earth, NGC 1023 some 36 million light-years away.Portal image: large lens-like diffuse galaxy with bright core. a cloud of blue gas and stars on its lower left edge

Hubble Reaches New Milestone in Mystery of Universe's Expansion Rate

20 May 2022 - 8:34am
Portal origin URL: Hubble Reaches New Milestone in Mystery of Universe's Expansion RatePortal origin nid: 479616Published: Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 10:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: Completing a nearly 30-year marathon, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has calibrated more than 40 "milepost markers" of space and time to help scientists precisely measure the expansion rate of the universe.Portal image: A grid of 36 galaxy images, 4 rows of 9 images each.

Shadow of Milky Way’s giant black hole revealed

20 May 2022 - 8:33am
Science, <a href="https://www.science.org/toc/science/376/6595">Volume 376, Issue 6595</a>, Page 785-785, May 2022.

A trail of dark-matter-free galaxies from a bullet-dwarf collision

19 May 2022 - 8:54am

Nature, Published online: 18 May 2022; doi:10.1038/s41586-022-04665-6

The dark-matter-free dwarf galaxies DF2 and DF4 in the NGC 1052 group probably formed together in the aftermath of a single bullet-dwarf collision around eight billion years ago.

Resolving the H <span class="small-caps u-small-caps">i</span> in damped Lyman α systems that power star formation

19 May 2022 - 8:54am

Nature, Published online: 18 May 2022; doi:10.1038/s41586-022-04616-1

Spectroscopy of a gravitationally lensed galaxy at a redshift of 2.7 with spatially resolved maps of two foreground damped Lyman α systems indicates a vast mass of neutral hydrogen gas, consistent with a star-forming region.

Giant collision created galaxies devoid of dark matter

19 May 2022 - 8:53am

Nature, Published online: 18 May 2022; doi:10.1038/d41586-022-01298-7

Two galaxies that are curiously lacking in dark matter — the most abundant matter in the Universe — might have formed when a collision between dwarf galaxies separated ordinary matter from its dark counterpart.

How galaxies could exist without dark matter

19 May 2022 - 8:53am

Nature, Published online: 18 May 2022; doi:10.1038/d41586-022-01403-w

How dark-matter-free galaxies may have formed, the scientists surviving the war in Ukraine, and imaging the black hole Sagittarius A*.

Hubble Peers Through Giant Elliptical’s Layers

19 May 2022 - 8:51am
Portal origin URL: Hubble Peers Through Giant Elliptical’s LayersPortal origin nid: 479334Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 08:00Featured (stick to top of list): noPortal text teaser: This new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the central region of the gigantic elliptical galaxy NGC 474.Portal image: Bright, white diffuse sphere with an extremely bright core. Diffuse shells of matter form layers around the core