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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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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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A cold cosmic mystery solved

20 April 2015 Astronomy Now

Since its discovery over a decade ago on a map of the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang, astronomers have puzzled over the so-called Cold Spot — possibly the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity. Now, a team led by researchers from the University of Hawaii may have found an explanation for its existence.

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Universe expanding more slowly than previously thought?

13 April 2015 Astronomy Now

A University of Arizona-led team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognised before. The findings have implications for our understanding of how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.

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The dwarf galaxy that reveals the history of the universe

24 March 2015 Astronomy Now

Dwarf galaxy I Zw 18 stands out for its extreme scarcity of heavy elements, a characteristic typical of primeval galaxies. A map of ionised helium in the galaxy has just been published, indicating the presence of peculiar stars similar to the first that ever shone in the universe.

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Ancient quasar with massive black hole found at cosmic dawn

25 February 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers has found a huge and ancient black hole which was powering the brightest object in the early universe. The black hole’s mass is 12 billion times that of the Sun, and was at the centre of a quasar that pumped out a million billion times the energy of our star.