Picture This

ESO captures stunning view of the vast Tarantula Nebula

30 May 2018 Astronomy Now

The spectacular Tarantula Nebula, a vast stellar nursery- and graveyard – in the Large Magellanic Cloud takes center stage in a stunning image captured by the European Southern Observatory’s VLT Survey Telescope, a starscape riddled with clusters, nebulae and supernova remnants.

Picture This

Peering into the shrouded heart of a luminous Seyfert galaxy

29 May 2018 Astronomy Now

Seyfert galaxies are unusually luminous, powered by supermassive black holes feeding on galactic dust and debris. It is difficult to peer into the dust-shrouded cores of such galaxies, but the European Southern Observatory, combining radio and optical observations, provides an intriguing glimpse.

Observing

June’s Jupiter events visible from the UK

28 May 2018 Ade Ashford

Jupiter has passed opposition, but the solar system’s largest planet is still putting on a magnificent show in the southern sky at dusk. Backyard telescopes readily reveal its Great Red Spot storm feature and four main moons constantly playing tag. Here’s our full guide to Jovian events visible from the UK in June.

News

With fuel running low, Kepler begins 18th observing campaign

27 May 2018 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope began its 18th observing campaign on 12 May, an 82-day run focusing on star clusters, galaxies and a handful of solar system bodies as the spacecraft nears the end of its life. Among its targets is 99942 Apophis, an asteroid expected to pass close by Earth in 2029.

Observing

See the Moon get close to Jupiter and a double star at dusk on 27 May

26 May 2018 Ade Ashford

Skywatchers in Western Europe looking at the rising 13-day-old gibbous Moon in the south-southeast at dusk on Sunday, 27 May can also see prime-time Jupiter within the same binocular field of view. But look closer in the vicinity of the solar system’s largest planet and you’ll see an easily resolved double star – alpha Librae.

Observing

Get ready for viewing Mars this summer during its closest approach for 15 years

26 May 2018 Ade Ashford

At the end of July 2018, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since the memorable opposition of 2003. This summer sees the Red Planet big and bright, low in the south around 1am BST, but now’s the time to train your eye to detect prominent Martian surface features – dust storms permitting! We present our interactive Mars Mapper to help plan your observations.