Observing

Watch asteroid 2015 FP118 fly by Earth in early September

31 August 2018 Ade Ashford

Shortly after 11am BST on Monday, 3 September, an 800-metre-wide space rock with the catchy name 2015 FP118 hurtles past Earth some 12¼ times the average distance of the Moon. On subsequent nights we show you how to track it down with backyard telescopes of 10-inch (25-cm) aperture and larger.

News

Giant black hole pair photobombs Andromeda galaxy

1 December 2017 Astronomy Now

It seems like even black holes can’t resist the temptation to insert themselves unannounced into photographs. A cosmic photobomb found as a background object in images of the nearby Andromeda galaxy has revealed what could be the most tightly coupled pair of supermassive black holes ever seen.

Observing

Find the Andromeda Galaxy in the late summer sky

2 September 2016 Ade Ashford

One of best deep-sky objects of the approaching season is the Andromeda Galaxy, or Messier 31, that is now accessible low in the east-northeast by 10pm local time in the UK and Western Europe. Here’s our comprehensive guide to locating this iconic Local Group galaxy.

News

Ten-metre Canary Island telescope obtains deepest Earth-based galaxy image

10 June 2016 Astronomy Now

The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) set out to test the limit of observation which can be reached using the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world: the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC). The observers managed to obtain an image 10 times deeper than any other obtained from the ground, observing a faint halo of stars around the galaxy UGC0180.

Picture This

A mysterious solitary galaxy in Ursa Major

6 June 2016 Astronomy Now

The drizzle of stars scattered across this image forms an irregular dwarf galaxy known as UGC 4879. Some 2.3 million light-years from its closest neighbour, UGC 4879’s isolation means that it has not interacted with any surrounding galaxies, making it an ideal laboratory for astronomers looking to understand the complex mysteries of starbirth throughout the universe.

Picture This

Hubble sees distant spirals through a diffuse dwarf galaxy

11 April 2016 Astronomy Now

At first glance this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image seems to show an array of different cosmic objects, but the speckling of stars shown here actually forms a single body — a nearby dwarf galaxy known as Leo A. Its few million stars are so sparsely distributed that some distant background galaxies are visible through it.

Picture This

Hubble captures a low surface brightness galaxy

4 April 2016 Astronomy Now

This striking NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image depicts the low surface brightness (LSB) galaxy known as UGC 477, located just over 110 million light-years away in the constellation of Pisces. LSB galaxies appear to be dominated by dark matter, making them excellent objects to study to further our understanding of this elusive substance.

News

Andromeda Galaxy’s first spinning neutron star found

2 April 2016 Astronomy Now

Decades of searching in the Andromeda Galaxy has finally paid off, with the discovery of an elusive breed of stellar corpse — a neutron star, by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope. Neutron stars are the small and extraordinarily dense remains of a once-massive star that exploded as a powerful supernova at the end of its natural life.

News

Andromeda Galaxy scanned with high-energy X-ray vision

6 January 2016 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured the best high-energy X-ray view yet of a portion of the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest large neighbouring spiral galaxy. The space observatory has observed 40 “X-ray binaries” — intense sources of X-rays comprising a black hole or neutron star that feeds off a stellar companion.