Picture This

A new ‘Einstein ring’ is discovered

2 June 2016 Astronomy Now

This unusual phenomenon, predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, was discovered by chance by doctoral student Margherita Bettinelli at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias while analysing images of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy. The “Canarias Einstein ring” is one of the most symmetrical discovered until now and is almost circular.

News

How comets break up and make up

2 June 2016 Astronomy Now

For some comets, breaking up is not that hard to do. A new study indicates that the bodies of some periodic comets — objects that orbit the Sun in less than 200 years — may regularly split in two, then reunite down the road. This may be a repeating process fundamental to comet evolution.

Equipment

Celestron Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph

1 June 2016 Ade Ashford

Celestron’s 280mm (11-inch) aperture f/2.2 Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph (RASA) is capable of blisteringly fast photographic speeds, capturing images of nebulae and galaxies in seconds. An imaging system optimised for virtually any one-shot colour CCD or DSLR in existence, Ade Ashford appraises this photon-grabbing wonder in the context of evolving optical systems.

Picture This

Mercury and International Space Station transit the Sun

1 June 2016 Astronomy Now

French astrophotographer Thierry Legault travelled to the suburbs of Philadelphia, USA to capture both the International Space Station and planet Mercury transiting the Sun on 9 May. This image includes multiple stacked frames to show the Station’s path in the fraction of a second it took to cross the Sun, while Mercury appears as a black dot at bottom-centre.

News

Asteroids identified as source of Moon’s water

1 June 2016 Astronomy Now

According to a new international study, most (>80 percent) of the water inside the Moon was delivered by asteroids similar to carbonaceous chondritic meteorites during the early lunar evolution, approximately 4.5—4.3 billion years ago. A similar delivery of water to the Earth would have been occurring within this same interval of time.