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.’

News

The dark matter conspiracy

3 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A new study finds that elliptical galaxies maintain a remarkably constant circular speed out to large distances from their centres, in the same way that spiral galaxies do. In these very different types of galaxies, stars and dark matter somehow conspire to redistribute themselves to produce this effect, or does modified Newtonian dynamics offer an explanation?

Picture This

Pillars of Creation revealed in 3-D

3 May 2015 Astronomy Now

The iconic 20-year-old Hubble image of the Pillars of Creation is reinterpreted in three dimensions by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, suggesting that the Pillars of Destruction might be an equally apt name.