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News: August 2011

 

Unique galaxy tells tantalizing tale

A spiral galaxy with a unique combination of characteristics, including powerful jets, is giving astronomers insight into the growth of galaxies early in the Universe.

READ MORE

 
 

First simulation of a
Milky Way-like galaxy

A team’s efforts to create a computer simulation of a Milky Way-like galaxy is reported as successful, and helps to solve a recurring problem of galaxy formation.

READ MORE

 
 

Class act supernova caught on telescope

Berkeley astronomers have caught the rare event of a type Ia supernova just hours after its eruption, residing a short 21 million light years away from Earth in the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) of Ursa Major, making it the closest type Ia supernova seen in decades.

READ MORE

 
 

Observing the Pinwheel's supernova

Supernova PTF11kly has real potential to become bright enough to be visible in large binoculars. Amateur astronomers are strongly urged to make as many observations as possible while it is ‘on the rise’, as such data is so valuable to on-going research into these titanic explosions.

READ MORE

 
 

WISE spots coolest stars in the Universe

Data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has uncovered what has been hailed as the coolest class of stars to be found, with temperatures dipping as low as that of the human body.

READ MORE

 
 

Diamond "planet" was
once a star

A small planet-sized object made of solid diamond has been found orbiting a pulsar 4,000 light years away in the constellation of Serpens.

READ MORE

 
 

Black hole signals
stellar feast

Radiation streaming from a source known as Swift J1644+57 is thought to be the result of a star being consumed by a once-dormant black hole.

READ MORE

 
 

White dwarf planet not so
Snow White

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have uncovered ice and possibly a thin atmospheric layer of methane belonging to the dwarf planet 2007 OR10, also nicknamed Snow White.

READ MORE

 
 

VLT stares into the eyes
of Virgo

The peculiar pair of galaxies nicknamed The Eyes in the constellation of Virgo have been captured by the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) ground-based Very Large Telescope (VLT). It is the first image to be produced by ESO’s Cosmic Gems outreach programme.

READ MORE

 
 

Colliding solar systems spell disaster for habitable planets

Computer simulations have revealed the reason why some exoplanets are inclined at large angles and why this might lead to habitable planets being evicted from planetary systems.

READ MORE

 
 

Could Earth’s ring of antimatter power spacecraft?

A belt of antimatter has been discovered circling the Earth, which in future could be used to fuel voyages that race at breakneck speeds to other planets in the Solar System.

READ MORE

 
 

The Moon gets a face-lift

New analysis of lunar rocks suggests that Earth's Moon could be around 200 million years younger than previously thought.

READ MORE

 
 

Giant space blob glows
from within

A team of astronomers using ESO's (European Southern Observatory) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have found that a rare and vast glowing cloud of gas known as a Lyman-alpha blob is being powered by light emitted from galaxies that are embedded within it.

READ MORE

 
 

Exoplanet blacker than coal

A Jupiter-sized planet discovered in 2006 by the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) and observed again by the Kepler spacecraft has a curious property: it reflects less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it blacker than coal or any other planet or moon in the Solar System.

READ MORE

 
 

Red galaxies fire up galaxy evolution theory

Astronomers from the University of Tokyo and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) have uncovered star-forming galaxies that appear paradoxically red in a galaxy cluster situated some four billion light years away.

READ MORE

 
 

Opportunity rover begins exploring huge crater

NASA's Opportunity rover has arrived at Endeavour crater, a sweeping impact site fraught with clay minerals that could signal a wetter, more habitable environment existed on ancient Mars, the space agency announced Wednesday.

READ MORE

 
 

Meteorites could be life’s messengers

Chemicals that existed in the early Solar System, which could have been an important source of the organic compounds that gave rise to life on Earth, have been found locked up within meteorites.

READ MORE

 
 

Keep an eye on the sky for Perseids!

The Perseid meteor shower peaks on 12-13 August but this year will be hampered by a full moon. How many will you spot?

NIGHT SKY GUIDE

 
 

Liquid water on Mars
might taste salty

Fingers of dark material running down steep slopes in the warmest regions of Mars could be the result of salty water flows, say scientists interpreting repeat observations snapped by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's (MRO) powerful HiRISE camera.

READ MORE

 
 

Atlas 5 rocket launches Jupiter-bound probe

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket has lifted off carrying NASA's Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft from Cape Canaveral's Complex 41. Technical issues delayed the launch until 12:25 p.m. EDT (1625 GMT).

SPACEFLIGHT NOW MISSION STATUS CENTER

 
 

Moon's mountains made
from giant 'splat'

The rugged highlands of the lunar farside may be the remains of a smaller companion moon that sunk into its surface, according to new computer simulations conducted by planetary scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

READ MORE

 
 

Amateur astronomers strike it asteroid-rich

A new project with the Faulkes Telescope Project, part of the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT), is allowing amateur astronomers and schoolchildren to team up to find new asteroids and comets.

READ MORE

 
 

Juno seeks new insights into origins of planet Jupiter

NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft, the centerpiece of a $1.1 billion mission to Jupiter, has been mounted atop an Atlas 5 rocket, setting the stage for launch 5 August on a five-year voyage to the Solar System's largest planet.

READ MORE

 
 

Orion breathes oxygen

ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has made the first confirmed detection of oxygen molecules in space, in the star-forming factory of the Orion Nebula.

READ MORE

 
 

VISTA finds 96 star clusters

Using data from the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, an international team of astronomers has discovered 96 new open star clusters hidden by the dust in the Milky Way.

ESO IMAGE RELEASE

 
 

Asteroid shares Earth's orbit

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has uncovered Earth's first Trojan asteroid – a 300-metre wide rocky inhabitant orbiting the Sun in loops around the plane of Earth's orbit.

READ MORE

 
 

NASA unveils spectacular photos of cratered asteroid

Four years after launch from Cape Canaveral, NASA's ion-drive Dawn spacecraft is finally in orbit around the asteroid Vesta, studying the second largest body in the rubble-strewn belt between Mars and Jupiter in unprecedented detail.

READ MORE

 
 

Wave power key
to Sun's hot corona

New results from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), published in the journal Nature, may have solved the mystery of how the Sun's outer atmosphere can be more than twenty times hotter than its surface, and could lead to a better understanding of the intense solar wind and its impact on Earth.

READ MORE

 
 

Hot gas heads for black hole

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has, for the first time at X-ray wavelengths, clearly imaged hot gas being drawn towards a galaxy’s central black hole.

READ MORE

 
 

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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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