Institute of Astronomy

Astronomy News

First 'exomoon' may have been found

4 October 2018 - 8:38am

Astronomers have announced the possible discovery of the first known moon outside our Solar System.

Astronomers Find First Evidence of Possible Moon Outside Our Solar System

4 October 2018 - 8:32am
Using NASA’s Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, astronomers have uncovered tantalizing evidence of what could be the first discovery of a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system.

Japanese rover lands on ancient asteroid for 16 hour-mission

4 October 2018 - 8:29am

Japanese rover lands on ancient asteroid for 16 hour-mission

Japanese rover lands on ancient asteroid for 16 hour-mission, Published online: 03 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06928-7

Third lander from Hayabusa2 has less than a day to collect data before its battery runs out.

Listen: Behind the scenes of Japan’s daring asteroid mission

4 October 2018 - 8:29am

Listen: Behind the scenes of Japan’s daring asteroid mission

Listen: Behind the scenes of Japan’s daring asteroid mission, Published online: 03 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06908-x

Nature visits the pioneering spacecraft's creators to learn how Hayabusa2 will explore the Ryugu asteroid.

Very-high-energy particle acceleration powered by the jets of the microquasar SS 433

4 October 2018 - 8:29am

Very-high-energy particle acceleration powered by the jets of the microquasar SS 433

Very-high-energy particle acceleration powered by the jets of the microquasar SS 433, Published online: 03 October 2018; doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0565-5

Observations of teraelectronvolt γ-rays accelerated by the jets of the miniature quasar SS 433 are reported.

A new era in the search for dark matter

4 October 2018 - 8:28am

A new era in the search for dark matter

A new era in the search for dark matter, Published online: 03 October 2018; doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0542-z

The current state of the search for dark-matter particles is reviewed, and a broader experimental and theoretical approach is proposed to solve the dark-matter problem.

Suspected first exomoon comes into tantalizing focus

4 October 2018 - 8:28am

Suspected first exomoon comes into tantalizing focus

Suspected first exomoon comes into tantalizing focus, Published online: 03 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06918-9

Hubble telescope spots faint changes in the light from a star that could signal the presence of a moon around a distant planet.

Gaia spots stars flying between galaxies

3 October 2018 - 8:43am

A team of astronomers using the latest set of data from ESA's Gaia mission to look for high-velocity stars being kicked out of the Milky Way were surprised to find stars instead sprinting inwards – perhaps from another galaxy.

A Universe Aglow

2 October 2018 - 8:26am
Deep observations made with the MUSE spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope have uncovered vast cosmic reservoirs of atomic hydrogen surrounding distant galaxies. The exquisite sensitivity of MUSE allowed for direct observations of dim clouds of hydrogen glowing with Lyman-alpha emission in the early Universe — revealing that almost the whole night sky is invisibly aglow.

Nearly all the sky is covered by Lyman-α emission around high-redshift galaxies

2 October 2018 - 8:25am

Nearly all the sky is covered by Lyman-α emission around high-redshift galaxies

Nearly all the sky is covered by Lyman-α emission around high-redshift galaxies, Published online: 01 October 2018; doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0564-6

Lyman-α emission from atomic hydrogen shows the location of warm gas and is ubiquitous around galaxies between redshifts of 3 and 6, thereby covering nearly all the sky.

‘Goblin’ world found orbiting at the edges of the Solar System

2 October 2018 - 8:25am

‘Goblin’ world found orbiting at the edges of the Solar System

‘Goblin’ world found orbiting at the edges of the Solar System, Published online: 01 October 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06885-1

The object never gets closer to the Sun than 65 times the Earth–Sun distance.

Jupiter takes an annual pummelling from the Solar System

1 October 2018 - 8:29am

Jupiter takes an annual pummelling from the Solar System

Jupiter takes an annual pummelling from the Solar System, Published online: 28 September 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06851-x

Flashes of light seen on the giant planet hint at frequent impacts by small objects.

Ireland to Join the European Southern Observatory

27 September 2018 - 8:39am
On 26 September, John Halligan T.D., Irish Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development and Xavier Barcons, Director General of ESO signed the Accession Agreement that will lead to Ireland joining the European Southern Observatory (ESO) — the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. ESO is looking forward to welcoming Ireland and will work with the nation’s astronomers and industry to advance the cutting edge of astronomy.

An evolving jet from a strongly magnetized accreting X-ray pulsar

27 September 2018 - 8:36am

An evolving jet from a strongly magnetized accreting X-ray pulsar

An evolving jet from a strongly magnetized accreting X-ray pulsar, Published online: 26 September 2018; doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0524-1

Observations of a jet from a strongly magnetized neutron star reveal that strong magnetic fields do not prevent jet formation and suggest that stellar properties influence jet power.

Outbursts of luminous blue variable stars from variations in the helium opacity

27 September 2018 - 8:36am

Outbursts of luminous blue variable stars from variations in the helium opacity

Outbursts of luminous blue variable stars from variations in the helium opacity, Published online: 26 September 2018; doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0525-0

Three-dimensional simulations of the convective envelopes of massive stars suggest that it is the helium opacity that controls outbursts in luminous blue variable stars.

Dust storms on Titan spotted by Cassini for the first time

26 September 2018 - 9:04am

Data from the international Cassini spacecraft that explored Saturn and its moons between 2004 and 2017 has revealed what appear to be giant dust storms in equatorial regions of Titan.

Gaia finds candidates for interstellar 'Oumuamua's home

26 September 2018 - 9:04am

Using data from ESA's Gaia stellar surveyor, astronomers have identified four stars that are possible places of origin of 'Oumuamua, an interstellar object spotted during a brief visit to our Solar System in 2017.

Japanese mission becomes first to land rovers on asteroid

24 September 2018 - 8:35am

Japanese mission becomes first to land rovers on asteroid

Japanese mission becomes first to land rovers on asteroid, Published online: 21 September 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06808-0

Twin probes from Hayabusa2 mission have sent back their first pictures from Ryugu’s surface.