Picture This

See the sharpest-ever view of giant Betelgeuse

30 June 2017 Astronomy Now

This orange blob shows the nearby star Betelgeuse, as seen by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. This is the first time that ALMA has ever observed the surface of a star and this first attempt has resulted in the highest-resolution image of Betelgeuse available.

Observing

First quarter Moon meets Jupiter and Spica in the evening sky

30 June 2017 Ade Ashford

Observer’s in the UK and Western Europe should look low to the southwest an hour after sunset on Friday, 30 June to glimpse the almost first quarter Moon a low-power binocular field of view to the right of Jupiter in bright twilight. The following night finds the waxing gibbous Moon forming a near isosceles triangle with the planet and first-magnitude star Spica in Virgo.

News

Artificial brain helps Gaia catch speeding stars

27 June 2017 Astronomy Now

With the help of software that mimics a human brain, ESA’s Gaia satellite spotted six stars zipping at high speed from the centre of our galaxy to its outskirts. This could provide key information about some of the most obscure regions of the Milky Way.

News

Chandra samples galactic goulash

27 June 2017 Astronomy Now

What would happen if you took two galaxies and mixed them together over millions of years? A new image including data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals the cosmic culinary outcome.

Picture This

Jupiter’s “String of Pearls”

26 June 2017 Astronomy Now

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s bands of light and dark clouds was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

News

Hubble captures massive dead disc galaxy

25 June 2017 Astronomy Now

By combining the power of a “natural lens” in space with the capability of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers made a surprising discovery—the first example of a compact yet massive, fast-spinning, disk-shaped galaxy that stopped making stars only a few billion years after the big bang. 

Observing

Seeing double in the summer sky

24 June 2017 Ade Ashford

With astronomical twilight lasting all night around the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice for stargazers in the UK, what does the deep-sky observer do when the sky never gets truly dark? Fortunately, there are many beautiful double and multiple stars to seek out while most nebulae are off limits.