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Dragonfly’s compound ‘eye’ reveals very faint galaxy structure

26 May 2015 Astronomy Now

At CASCA 2015, Roberto Abraham from the University of Toronto describes the first results from the Dragonfly Telephoto Array — an innovative, multi-lens system designed to produce digital images of ultra-low surface brightness objects at visible wavelengths — that is at least ten times more efficient than its nearest rival.

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Galaxy’s cannibalistic snacking habits revealed

23 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A team of Australian and Spanish astronomers have caught a greedy galaxy gobbling on its neighbours and leaving crumbs of evidence about its dietary past. Their successful and novel approach to investigating how galaxies grow is being used in a new program to further refine the best models of galaxy evolution.

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WISE discovery of the most luminous galaxy in the universe

22 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns has been discovered using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). It is the most luminous galaxy found to date and belongs to a new class of objects — extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs.

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Supernova observed colliding with its companion star

20 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Type Ia supernovae are violent stellar explosions that shine as some of the brightest objects in the universe, but there are still many mysteries surrounding their origin. Now a team of astronomers have witnessed a supernova smashing into a nearby star, shocking it, and creating an ultraviolet glow that reveals the size of the companion.

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Citizen-funded CubeSat ready to go solar sailing

20 May 2015 Stephen Clark

A shoebox-sized satellite conceived and funded by members of the Planetary Society, an advocacy organization co-founded by Carl Sagan, is fastened to an Atlas 5 rocket for launch to test one of the late celebrity-astronomer’s futuristic concepts for exploring the cosmos.

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Newly dedicated observatory to search for gravitational waves

20 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Seeking to expand how we observe and understand phenomena such as supernovae and colliding black holes that generate gravitational waves, the National Science Foundation has just dedicated the Advanced Laser Gravitational Wave Observatories (Advanced LIGO) in Richland, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana.

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OSIRIS discovers balancing rock on comet 67P

19 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Scientists from Rosetta’s OSIRIS team have discovered an extraordinary formation in the Aker region on the larger lobe of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The largest of a group of three boulders with a diameter of approximately 30 metres appears to perch on the rim of a small depression. There seems to be only a very small contact area with the nucleus.

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Hubble catches a stellar exodus in action

17 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have captured for the first time snapshots of fledgling white dwarf stars beginning their slow-paced, 40-million-year migration from the crowded centre of giant globular cluster 47 Tucanae to the less populated suburbs.

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‘Fluffiest galaxies’ discovered by Keck Observatory

16 May 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of researchers have used the W. M. Keck Observatory to confirm the existence of the most diffuse class of galaxies known in the universe. These Ultra Diffuse Galaxies (UDGs) are nearly as wide as our own Milky Way galaxy — about 60,000 light-years — yet harbour only one percent as many stars.