News

ALMA’s detailed view of star formation in the distant universe

8 June 2015 Astronomy Now

The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array has produced a spectacularly detailed image of a distant galaxy known as SDP.81 that is being gravitationally lensed. The image shows a magnified view of the galaxy’s star-forming regions, the likes of which have never been seen before at this level of detail in a galaxy so remote.

News

The dark side of globular star clusters

14 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a new class of “dark” globular star clusters around the giant galaxy Centaurus A. These mysterious objects look similar to normal clusters, but contain much more mass and may either harbour unexpected amounts of dark matter, or contain massive black holes — neither of which was expected nor is understood.

Picture This

Pillars of Creation revealed in 3-D

3 May 2015 Astronomy Now

The iconic 20-year-old Hubble image of the Pillars of Creation is reinterpreted in three dimensions by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, suggesting that the Pillars of Destruction might be an equally apt name.

News

Thermonuclear supernova ejects Galaxy’s fastest star

7 March 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers using the 10-metre Keck II and Pan-STARRS1 telescopes on Hawaii have discovered a Milky Way star travelling at a record 2.7 million miles per hour. Propelled by the thermonuclear detonation of a massive white dwarf companion, this hypervelocity star will escape the gravity of our Galaxy.

News

MUSE looks deeper into the universe than Hubble in 3-D

2 March 2015 Astronomy Now

The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep universe. The new observations of the Hubble Deep Field South reveal the distances, motions and other properties of far more galaxies than ever before in this tiny piece of the sky.

News

Sun’s close encounter with Scholz’s Star

18 February 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers using large telescopes in South Africa and Chile identify the closest known flyby of a star to our Solar System: a low-mass star system nicknamed “Scholz’s Star” that passed through the Oort Cloud 70,000 years ago.

News

A new VISTA through the Milky Way

4 February 2015 Astronomy Now

While mapping the central regions of the Milky Way in infrared light searching for new and hidden objects, the 4.1-metre VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile looked through a familiar object to wonders beyond.