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News: May 2009

Big planet, small star

One of the smallest stars in the Galaxy has been found to have a planet orbiting it that is six times more massive than Jupiter. The discovery was made using a brand new technique that watches for wobbles in a star's proper motion.

FULL STORY

 

On the edge of a hungry black hole

Gas and dust equal to the mass of two Earths are being gobbled up every hour by a hungry black hole in a distant galaxy, according to a space telescope probing the Universe in

X-rays that has peered closer to a black hole than ever before.

FULL STORY

 

M82's hidden supernova

A supernova has recently exploded in the nearby galaxy M82, but you won't be able to see it with any ordinary telescope. Shrouded in obscuring gas and dust, only the radio emission of the stellar explosion is able to penetrate through to the outside and be detected by the radio telescopes.

FULL STORY

 

How to search for alien seas

To test whether we would be able to detect oceans on exoplanets, researchers have used the Deep Impact spacecraft to observe Earth, "as if we were aliens looking at Earth with the tools we might have in ten years."

FULL STORY

 

Victoria gives Opportunity view into Mars' history

Opportunity's two-year stay in Mars' Victoria Crater is now bearing fruit, with the publication of the first major analysis of the erosional processes from wind and water that have sculpted the geology of the crater.

FULL STORY

 

Did life need the asteroid bombardment?

A period 3.9 billion years ago when Earth was peppered with impacts by large asteroids may have created an environment in which primitive life could take hold, rather than destroying that life.

FULL STORY

 

Millisecond pulsar mystery solved

Astronomers have watched a pulsar be spun up in real time by its companion star, turning it into an incredibly fast millisecond pulsar rotating a breakneck 592 times per second.

FULL STORY

 

First British astronaut announced by ESA

For the first time a Briton is officially among the cadre of astronauts after Timothy Peake, a RAF helicopter pilot, was selected by the European Space Agency following the latest round of astronaut recruitment.

FULL STORY

 

Cosmological rulers find new accuracy

A surprisingly simple method has been uncovered that allows astronomers to use supernovae to measure distances in the Universe to a far greater degree of accuracy than ever before, in just a single night.

FULL STORY

 

Doomed planet may have been drenched in water

A small exoplanet full of water may have been swallowed up by a dead white dwarf star, according to anomalous readings of hydrogen in the star's helium-rich atmosphere.

FULL STORY

 

Herschel and Planck are on their way

The European Space Agency's Herschel and Plank spacecraft have successfully launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. The launch took place at 2:12pm this Thursday afternoon.

FULL STORY

 

Comet crystals feel the heat

The Spitzer Space Telescope has observed the infrared signature of tiny silicate crystals, commonly found in comets, being created around the young star EX Lupi.

FULL STORY

 

Spirit struggles with

soft soil

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is facing one of its biggest challenges yet with a patch of soft soil that is currently holding the rover hostage.

FULL STORY

 

Your guide to the Hubble repair mission

The space shuttle Atlantis blasts off to the Hubble Space Telescope to carry out vital repairs to one of its cameras, batteries, guidance system and gyroscopes, and completely replace two other instruments.

FULL STORY

 

An interview with meteorite hunter Peter Jenniskens

Peter Jenniskens led an expedition into the Nubian desert to recover hundreds of fragments from asteroid 2008 TC3 that exploded over the skies of Sudan last October.

FULL STORY

 

Venetia Phair, 11 July 1918 - 30 April 2009

The little girl who named the Pluto in 1930, Venetia Phair (nee Burney), died on 30 April at the age of 90.

FULL STORY

 

Hubble servicing mission on track for Monday launch

Originally scheduled for launch in 2004, the Hubble Space Telescope's final repair mission, STS-125, is finally go for launch on Monday 11 May at 2.01pm, EDT.

FULL STORY

 

Hubble Space Telescope refines Hubble's constant

The rate at which the Universe is expanding, as described by the Hubble constant, has been refined to a precision where the error is smaller than five percent thanks to new data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

FULL STORY

 

Spitzer reborn

After five and a half years of probing the Universe at infrared wavelengths, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope will run out of coolant, marking a new era of "warm" observations.

FULL STORY

 

Herschel and Planck gear up for 14 May launch

ESA's two missions to probe the far reaches of the Universe are gearing up to launch from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana on 14 May.

FULL STORY

 

Fermi explores high energy "space invaders"

New details of high energy particles detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope were revealed yesterday at the American Physical Society meeting held in Denver.

FULL STORY

 

An interview with Dan Stark

Keith Cooper interviews Dan Stark of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge - and AstroFest 2009 speaker - on the Universe's first galaxies and how spiral galaxies assembled and began rotating.

FULL STORY

 

Postcards from MESSENGER

A previously unknown 690 kilometre wide impact basin and evidence that Mercury's atmosphere and the interaction of its magnetic field with the solar wind are more active than previously thought are the latest offerings from NASA's MESSENGER mission.

FULL STORY

 

Rogue black holes skulk Milky Way perimeter

Hundreds of rogue black holes left over from the galaxy building days of the early Universe could be wandering loose in the Milky Way, say Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicists.

FULL STORY

 

Neil Bone, 1959-2009

Our dear friend, Neil Bone, passed away peacefully in his sleep on 23 April after battling against cancer. Neil first began contributing to Astronomy Now way back in May 1987 with our second ever issue.

FULL STORY

 

Gamma-ray burst bellows from depths of the Universe

A spectacular gamma-ray blast from the past has made it into the record books as the most distant object in the Universe, located 13 billion light years away.

FULL STORY

 

Solar wind tans young asteroids

Unlike human skin which is damaged by prolonged exposure to sunlight over a lifetime, an asteroid's surface is aged in the first instances of its life.

FULL STORY

 

Back to latest news

2010 Yearbook
Our latest 132-page Astronomy Now special edition is an extravaganza of astronomy for the year ahead, with a complete 30-page guide to observing the planets, moon, meteor showers, two solar eclipses, and the deep sky in 2010.
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE
 

Take the tour!
A 100-page special edition from the creators of Astronomy Now magazine, The Grand Tour of the Universe takes readers from one end of the Universe to the other and, in doing so, asks the question "just how big is the Universe?"
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE


Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE

Guide to the Constellations
Astronomy Now presents this 100-page, full-colour guide to the 68 constellations visible from the British Isles by Neil Bone, the respected amateur astronomer and writer.
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE

Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE


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