News

Institute for Pale Blue Dots renamed in honour of Carl Sagan

10 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Carl Sagan’s highly inspirational 1980 TV series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” launched many a career in astronomy. Now the Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dot and Beyond — a research institution devoted to the pursuit of Sagan’s challenge to explore other worlds, to learn if they, too, contain life — was unveiled at Cornell University on May 9th.

News

Exo-asteroid debris shows how water reached Earth

7 May 2015 Astronomy Now

New research strongly suggests that water delivery via asteroids or comets is likely taking place in many other planetary systems, adding further support to the possibility water can be delivered to Earth-like planets via such bodies to create a suitable environment for the formation of life.

Book Reviews

Pearls of the Southern Skies

5 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Have you encountered the ‘War and Peace Nebula’, the ‘Furious Dancer Galaxy’ or the ‘Carina Smile Nebula’? These objects and a wealth of Southern Hemisphere deep-sky treasures feature in this well-written landscape-format coffee table book, says Nik Szymanek.

News

Astronomers set a new galaxy distance record

5 May 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers has pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5 percent of its present age with the discovery of an exceptionally luminous galaxy more than 13 billion light-years from Earth. The galaxy existed so long ago, it appears to be only 100 million years old.

News

First evidence of volcanic activity on a super-Earth?

5 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have detected wildly changing temperatures on a super-Earth — the first time any atmospheric variability has been observed on a rocky planet outside the Solar System — and believe it could be due to huge amounts of volcanic activity, further adding to the mystery of what had been nicknamed the ‘diamond planet.’