News

White dwarf “Death Star” seen destroying a planet

21 October 2015 Astronomy Now

The Death Star of the movie Star Wars may be fictional, but planetary destruction is real. Astronomers announced today that they have spotted a large, rocky object disintegrating in its death spiral around a distant white dwarf star. The discovery also confirms a long-standing theory behind the source of white dwarf “pollution” by metals.

News

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft proves it can still find planets

19 December 2014 Astronomy Now

When the primary mission of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft ended in May 2013 due to a failure of its stabilisation system, a team of scientists and engineers developed an ingenious strategy to control the spacecraft. The resulting second mission, K2, has a newfound planet — HIP 116454b