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Citizen scientists discover gravitational lenses via Space Warps project

26 September 2015 Astronomy Now

Around 37,000 citizen scientists combed through 430,000 images to help an international team of researchers to discover 29 new gravitational lens candidates through Space Warps — an online classification system which guides citizen scientists to become lens hunters, giving the public a chance to make their own scientific discoveries.

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Extreme starburst in the core of a gargantuan galaxy cluster

11 September 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers has discovered a prodigious galaxy cluster with a core bursting with new stars — an incredibly rare find. This surprising new discovery, the result of collaborative synergy from ground- and space-based observations, is the first to show that gigantic galaxies at the centres of massive clusters can grow significantly by feeding off gas stolen from other galaxies.

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Dark energy survey finds eight more galactic neighbours

18 August 2015 Astronomy Now

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey, using one of the world’s most powerful digital cameras, have discovered eight more faint celestial objects hovering near our Milky Way galaxy. Signs indicate that they, like the objects found by the same team earlier this year, are likely dwarf satellite galaxies — the smallest and closest known form of galaxies.

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Simulated map of missing satellite galaxies could answer dark matter puzzle

23 July 2015 Astronomy Now

A ripple in the outskirts of the Milky Way led Rochester Institute of Technology astrophysicist Sukanya Chakrabarti to a previously undetected dwarf galaxy hidden under a veil of dark matter. Now Chakrabarti is refining her technique to uncover dwarf galaxies and understand dark matter by simulating the evolutionary histories of galactic discs and their satellite populations.

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Dead galaxies may be packed with dark matter

20 July 2015 Astronomy Now

Research using powerful computer simulations to study galaxies that have fallen into the Coma Cluster, one of the largest gravitationally-bound structures in the universe roughly 300 million light-years from Earth, suggests that it could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study.

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Huge new survey to shine light on dark matter

11 July 2015 Astronomy Now

The first results have been released from a major new dark matter survey of the southern skies using ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The VST KiDS survey will allow astronomers to make precise measurements of dark matter, the structure of galaxy halos, and the evolution of galaxies and clusters.

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Faint galaxies found hiding in the Virgo Cluster

27 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A recent survey using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope has discovered hundreds of new galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, the nearest large cluster of galaxies. Most are extremely faint dwarf galaxies, objects hundreds of thousands of times less massive than our Milky Way, and amongst the faintest galaxies known in the universe.