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News: August 2009

Debris discs warped by interstellar wind

The curious shapes of some potentially planet harbouring dust-filled discs around stars could be explained by interactions with the local interstellar gas.

FULL STORY

 

Trifid Nebula's triple treat

A stunning new image of the Trifid Nebula from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) reveals the furious star-forming furnace set inside a rare combination of three nebula types.

FULL STORY

 

Cygnus X-1 puts
astronomers in a spin

New research from the Chandra and XMM-Newton spacecraft show that Cygnus X-1 is spinning much slower than other black holes.

FULL STORY

 

The planet that
shouldn't exist

A planet ten times the mass of Jupiter found orbiting its star in less than one Earth day could provide a rare glimpse into the final moments of a planet's life.

FULL STORY

 

Neptune twenty years later

The greatest voyage of space exploration ever undertaken experienced its final highlight two decades ago, on 25 August 1989, when the intrepid spacecraft Voyager 2 flew within 4,950 kilometres of the beautiful blue ice giant Neptune.

FULL STORY

 

Citizens to help solve
stellar mystery

This autumn a bright star will begin to fade in a curious transformation that occurs every 27 years, and this time the help of citizens will be called upon.

FULL STORY

 

Catalina Sky Survey spawns Real-Time Transient Survey

Primarily built for tracking down Near Earth Objects, the Catalina Sky Survey is set to expand into the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey, the first and only fully public synoptic sky survey.

FULL STORY

 

Galaxies demand a
stellar recount

New data from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer have turned the idea that stars of certain sizes form in certain quantities on its head.

FULL STORY

 

Stellar messenger from the early Universe

New observations by the Subaru Telescope of an old, bright star has shed new light on how the Universe's early stars may have developed.

FULL STORY

 

ESO peers deep into the hellish birthplaces of stars

New images released today by ESO delve deep into the star-forming furnace of RCW 38, a dense cluster located 5,500 light years away towards the constellation Vela.

FULL STORY

 

Gravitational wave observatory listens for echoes of Universe's birth

A team of scientists using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo Collaboration have put new constraints on how the Universe looked in its earliest moments.

FULL STORY

 

New insight into
evolution of life

Humans have the fusing of two microscopic single-celled organisms more than 2.5 billion years ago to thank for their existence, new NASA-funded research has found.

FULL STORY

 

Tiny flares heat
Sun's atmosphere

The mystery of why temperatures in the Sun's atmosphere exceed those nearer its surface has finally been explained by tiny bursts of heat and energy called nanoflares.

FULL STORY

 

Building blocks of life
found in comet

A fundamental building block of life, glycine, has been identified in the samples returned from comet Wild 2 by NASA's Stardust mission.

FULL STORY

 

Super planetary nebula

A team of astronomers from Australia and the United States have discovered a new class of object which they have nicknamed 'Super Planetary Nebula'.

FULL STORY

 

Variability in type Ia supernovae

Newly discovered sources of variability in type Ia supernovae could cause problems in their use for calculating cosmic distances and the expansion of the Universe.

FULL STORY

 

Storms in the tropics
of Titan

Ground-based observations of Saturn's giant moon Titan have revealed tantalizing evidence that its parched desert-like surface can support large-scale storm clouds that rain liquid methane.

FULL STORY

 

Trigger-happy star formation

Star formation has often been blamed on gas clouds cooling sufficiently for gravity to overcome them and cause them to collapse, or perhaps on the shock waves of supernovae smashing into interstellar gas and forcing it to condense and collapse.

FULL STORY

 

Giant new planet's
backward orbit

The seventeenth planet discovered by the SuperWASP team is not only the largest discovered to date, but it also orbits its host star the wrong way, casting new light on how planetary systems form and evolve.

FULL STORY

 

Opportunity's meteorite yields clues on Mars history

New analysis conducted by Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on a large meteorite that it discovered last month reveals more details on the red planet's environmental history.

FULL STORY

 

Black holes got off to
a false start

It took a generation of starved black holes to spur into action the formation of the giant supermassive black holes that we observe in the centres of galaxies today.

FULL STORY

 

The nights of the Perseids

The meteor season will explode into full swing over the next few days as the Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak over the nights of 11-12 and 12-13 August.

FULL STORY

 

Martian methane created at prodigious rates

The puzzle of methane on Mars has deepened, and it is not looking good for the prospect of finding life. New measurements show that, whatever the source of the methane is, it is producing it 600 times faster than had been assumed.

FULL STORY

 

The Sun's excessive youth

In its youth our Sun span ten times faster, with a much more powerful magnetic field and enormous sunspots covering it like vast continents on a planet.

FULL STORY

 

Spitzer sees
planetary pile-up

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found evidence of a high-speed collision between a Mercury-sized planet and a Moon-sized body within the last few thousand years.

FULL STORY

 

Structures leap from Saturn's rings

A new moonlet and strange vertical structures are among the treasure trove of goodies revealed by the Cassini spacecraft as Saturn nears equinox.

FULL STORY

 

Spitzer's first 'warm' images

From star-forming pods to stellar graveyards, Spitzer opens its eyes to a new era of 'warm' observations.

FULL STORY

 

Kepler sees changing phases of giant planet

NASA's exoplanet seeking spacecraft, Kepler, has been confirmed to be up and running, and in doing so has captured the light of a gas giant orbiting a star over a thousand light years away.

FULL STORY

 

Volcanoes and lakes in new images of Titan

New ultra-high resolution radar images of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan showing the effects of icy cryovolcanoes are being presented this week at the International Astronomical Union's General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro.

FULL STORY

 

Venus spot continues
to puzzle

Over two weeks ago a bright white spot appeared in the atmosphere of Venus, but where did it come from? A new report from the Venus Express team sheds some light on the matter.

FULL STORY

 

Hyperactive galaxies roam early Universe

Astronomers have measured the motions of stars for the first time in a very distant galaxy, speeding around its host at twice the speed of our Sun through the Milky Way.

FULL STORY

 

Double trouble
for a dusty star

Dramatic new pictures taken by ESO telescopes reveal a special type of giant, dust-emitting star to not be just one object, but two.

FULL STORY

 

Opportunity rock
is iron meteorite

A large boulder spied by the Mars Exploration Rover in July has been confirmed as the largest iron meteorite found on Mars to date.

FULL STORY

 

Opportunity stumbles on possible meteorite

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has spied a rock that could be a meteorite.

FULL STORY

 

Comets not likely cause of mass extinctions

New research conducted by scientists at the University of Washington concludes that it is unlikely comets caused any more than one minor extinction event.

FULL STORY

 
 
 

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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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