A new view of distant galaxies

Growing up under the clear night skies of the state of Georgia, in the south-east of the United States, I remember lying in the back of my dad’s pickup truck looking up at the constellations, and even from that very early age of nine or 10 there was just something so fundamental and wonderful about … Continue reading A new view of distant galaxies

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Rare space object captured by Hubble The Hubble Space Telescope has snapped a picture of a rare phenomenon: bright blue jets of gas blasting out from a dust cloud. Known as a Herbig-Haro object, this image shows the genesis of a star system. In the centre, a baby star is being born, spinning as it … Continue reading You may have missed…

Disintegrating comet was seen by ancient civilisations

Researchers in the US have wound back the cosmic clock to determine that a spectacular comet whizzed past the Earth 5,000 years ago. While the event isn’t recorded in any historical account, the team were able to gather clues from more recently sighted comets. In a paper published in the Astronomical Journal, they examined observations … Continue reading Disintegrating comet was seen by ancient civilisations

Spinning star hurtling out of the Milky Way

Astronomers have discovered that the runaway star LP 40−365 is not only catapulting out of our galaxy, but it’s spinning as it goes. “This star is moving so fast that it’s almost certainly leaving the galaxy…[it’s] moving almost two million miles an hour,” says JJ Hermes from Boston University, co-author of a new paper published … Continue reading Spinning star hurtling out of the Milky Way

Hubble, Hubble, toil ends trouble

The Hubble Space Telescope is back online – for now. ‘Our window on the universe’, as it’s known, suffered a serious malfunction on 13 June. On Tuesday morning it was back up and running, and sent new images down to Earth. At just over 30 years of age, Hubble is nearing the end of its … Continue reading Hubble, Hubble, toil ends trouble

Shadows in space?

This Hubble Space Telescope image of the heart of the active galaxy IC 5063, 156 million light-years from Earth, reveals a mixture of bright rays and dark shadows coming from its blazing core, the home of a supermassive black hole. Astronomers suggest that a ring of dusty material surrounding the black hole may be casting … Continue reading Shadows in space?

Colour and movement in the skies above

You can’t beat space for great snapshots, and here we present not one but four new ones. Above is what could be called a cosmic amethyst. Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have captured a bubble of ultra-hot gas at the centre of an expiring star: a planetary nebula about 7800 light-years away in our … Continue reading Colour and movement in the skies above

Astronomers detect rare kilonova explosion

Astronomers studying short-lived gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have detected a rare kilonova explosion in which two neutron stars appear to have merged to form a larger neutron star called a magnetar. “I’ve been studying these short gamma-ray bursts for a decade now,” says Wen-fai Fong, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University, US. “Just when you think you … Continue reading Astronomers detect rare kilonova explosion

A crisp new portrait of Jupiter’s storms

This newly released image of Jupiter, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on 25 August, was captured when the planet was 650 million kilometres from Earth. As well as looking quite beautiful, it is giving researchers an updated report on the monster planet’s turbulent atmosphere. An exciting detail, NASA says, appears at mid-northern latitudes as … Continue reading A crisp new portrait of Jupiter’s storms

Antarctica is the perfect place for stargazing

Have you ever wondered why stars twinkle? It’s because turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere makes light emitted from the star wobble as it completes it’s light years-long journey to the lenses in our eyes and telescopes. But now scientists from international research institutions including UNSW Sydney have found the best place on Earth where  – … Continue reading Antarctica is the perfect place for stargazing

Nancy Grace Roman had her eyes on the sky

Given her background, Nancy Grace Roman’s life could have gone a couple of ways. She was born on 16 May 1925 in Nashville, Tennessee, hailed as a home of American roots music, and her mother, Georgia, was a music teacher. But her father, Irwin, was a mathematician and geophysicist, and by age 11 she had … Continue reading Nancy Grace Roman had her eyes on the sky

Capturing the chaos in nearby nebulae

Astronomers have maxed out the Hubble Space Telescope’s imaging capability – using it across its full wavelength range – to create new images of “crazy fireworks” happening in two nearby young planetary nebulae. As well as looking great, the observations in near-ultraviolet to near-infrared light reveal unprecedented levels of complexity and rapid changes in jets … Continue reading Capturing the chaos in nearby nebulae