Picture This

Hubble views a nitrogen-rich planetary nebula

29 June 2015 Astronomy Now

NGC 6153 in the constellation Scorpius contains up to three times the amount of neon, argon, oxygen, carbon and chlorine to be found in our Solar System, but what really sets this planetary nebula apart is the quantity of nitrogen in its clouds.

Observing

See Saturn’s close brush with the Moon on 28 June

27 June 2015 Ade Ashford

Some five weeks after opposition, Saturn attains a maximum altitude of just 18 degrees in the south around 10:30pm as seen from the centre of the UK. If you need help finding the ringed planet, the Moon passes conveniently close by on the night of 28 June.

News

Messier 87 has swallowed an entire galaxy in the last billion years

26 June 2015 Astronomy Now

M87 is a giant elliptical galaxy with a total mass more than a million million times that of the Sun that lies at the centre of the Virgo Cluster about 50 million light-years away. New observations with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope have revealed the full extent of the galaxy’s cannibalistic nature.

News

Monster black hole wakes up after 26 years

26 June 2015 Astronomy Now

On 15 June 2015, a long-time acquaintance of X-ray and gamma ray astronomers made its comeback to the cosmic stage: V404 Cygni, a system comprising a black hole and a star orbiting one another. It is located in our Milky Way galaxy, almost 8,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.

News

Global Asteroid Day events and webcasts set for June 30

25 June 2015 Astronomy Now

The first official Asteroid Day is on 30 June with premiere events in London and San Francisco, but local organisers are making final preparations for more than 50 public events worldwide to increase education and awareness about asteroids and how to better detect them.

Equipment

Orion edge-on planetary eyepieces

23 June 2015 Steve Ringwood

Steve Ringwood takes a look through a range of 1.25-inch seven-element eyepieces of a design optimised for high contrast, flat-field performance on the planets and likes what he sees.