Observing

Don’t miss the Leonid meteor shower on 17 November

16 November 2017 Ade Ashford

The maximum of the annual Leonid meteor shower, predicted to occur around nightfall on Friday, 17 November for observers in Western Europe and the UK, favourably coincides with a new Moon this year. However, observers in the British Isles may have to wait until around midnight to see about ten of the famously swift, bright Leonids per hour.

Observing

See Venus and Jupiter get close at dawn on 13 November

10 November 2017 Ade Ashford

At the beginning of civil twilight on Monday, 13 November, observers in Western Europe and the British Isles should seek out a viewing location offering an unobstructed view very low to the southeast horizon to see brightest planet Venus and largest planet Jupiter separated by little more than half the width of a full Moon.

News

Astronomers discover a star that would not die

9 November 2017 Astronomy Now

Supernovae, the explosions of stars, have been observed in the thousands and in all cases they marked the death of a star. Astronomers at Las Cumbres Observatory have discovered a remarkable exception — a star that exploded multiple times over a period of more than fifty years. Their observations are challenging existing theories on these cosmic catastrophes.

News

NuSTAR probes black hole mystery

5 November 2017 Astronomy Now

Black holes are famous for being ravenous eaters, but they do not eat everything that falls toward them. A small portion of material gets shot back out in powerful jets of hot gas, called plasma, that can wreak havoc on their surroundings. Along the way, this plasma somehow gets energized enough to strongly radiate light, forming two bright columns along the black hole’s axis of rotation.