News

Astronomers capture best view ever of disintegrating comet

16 September 2016 Astronomy Now

The sharpest, most detailed observations of a comet breaking apart have been captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The images suggest that the roughly 4.5-billion-year-old comet, named 332P/Ikeya-Murakami, may be spinning so fast that material is ejected from its surface. The resulting debris is now scattered along a 3,000-mile-long trail.

News

Pluto ‘paints’ its largest moon red

15 September 2016 Astronomy Now

In June 2015, when the cameras on NASA’s approaching New Horizons spacecraft first spotted the large reddish polar region on Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, mission scientists knew two things: they’d never seen anything like it elsewhere in our Solar System, and they couldn’t wait to get the story behind it.

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Parallel Mountains by Sean Goebel

15 September 2016 Astronomy Now

The shadow of Manua Kea, the highest peak in the state of Hawaii, is projected by the rising sun over the volcano, Hualalai, whilst the Full Moon soars above them, higher again.

News

What happened after the lights came on in the universe?

15 September 2016 Astronomy Now

The National Science Foundation has approved funding to expand the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (HERA) in South Africa. Upgrading the number of antennas from 19 to 240 by the year 2018 will enable HERA to study more clearly the impact of cosmic dawn, the moment a few hundred million years after the Big Bang when the first stars and galaxies blazed awake.

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Celestial Veil by Yuyun Wang

14 September 2016 Astronomy Now

The natural light of the Milky Way battles with the light pollution over the fishing village, or kelong, in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. In the lower right hand corner, there is also bioluminescence in the waters at the bottom of the kelong.

Observing

See the Moon hide planet Neptune on 15 September

14 September 2016 Ade Ashford

Observers up for an extreme observing challenge may care to make an attempt at viewing the almost full Moon pass in front of planet Neptune soon after 8pm BST on Thursday, 15 September. The planet’s disappearance occurs at a low altitude in twilight for the British Isles, but can also be seen from a large swathe of Europe and western Russia.

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Aurora Bird by Jan R Olsen

14 September 2016 Astronomy Now

The vivid green Northern Lights resemble a bird soaring over open water in Olderdalen, Norway. This image, by Jan R Olsen of Norway, is one of those shortlisted in this year’s Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

News

Astronomers shed light on different galaxy types

14 September 2016 Astronomy Now

Australian scientists have taken a critical step towards understanding why different types of galaxies exist throughout the universe. The research means that astronomers can now classify galaxies according to their physical properties rather than human interpretation of a galaxy’s appearance.