Observing

Seek out 3C 273, the brightest optical quasar, in the spring sky

7 March 2019 Ade Ashford

Plumb the hidden depths of spring’s deep-sky by seeking out 3C 273, the optically-brightest quasi-stellar object (QSO) in the constellation of Virgo. Quasars are the intensely luminous centres of very distant and active galaxies, powered by a supermassive black hole. And don’t worry that you need a huge ‘scope to see it – a 15-cm (6-inch) instrument and a clear, moonless night are all you need.

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Hubble captures extremely remote galaxy cluster

16 April 2018 William Harwood

The Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 captured an image of a massive galaxy cluster some six billion light years from Earth, part of a program to find targets for the James Webb Space Telescope.

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Revealing galactic secrets

26 October 2017 Astronomy Now

Countless galaxies vie for attention in this monster image of the Fornax Galaxy Cluster, some appearing only as pinpricks of light while others dominate the foreground.

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Hubble’s compact galaxy with big-time star formation

16 October 2017 Astronomy Now

As far as galaxies are concerned, size can be deceptive. Some of the largest galaxies in the Universe are dormant, while some dwarf galaxies, such as ESO 553-46 imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, can produce stars at a hair-raising rate.

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Explosive birth of stars can swell galactic cores

12 September 2017 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have found that active star formation upswells galaxies, like yeast helps bread rise. Using three powerful telescopes on the ground and in orbit, they observed galaxies from 11 billion years ago and found explosive formation of stars in the cores of galaxies. This suggests that galaxies can change their own shape without interaction with other galaxies.