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Gigantic, early black hole could upend evolutionary theory

10 July 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have spotted a super-sized black hole in the early universe that grew much faster than its host galaxy. The discovery challenges previous notions about the way host galaxies grow in relation to black holes and casts doubt on earlier suggestions that the radiation emitted by expanding black holes curtails the creation of stars.

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A galaxy in bloom: new Hubble snap of ESO 381-12

9 July 2015 Astronomy Now

The ghostly shells of galaxy ESO 381-12 are captured here in a new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, set against a backdrop of distant galaxies. Some 270 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus, ESO 381-12 is categorised as a lenticular galaxy — a hybrid type that shares properties with both spiral and elliptical galaxies.

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Celebrating Hubble: The cosmic sombrero

7 June 2015 Astronomy Now

Regarded as one of the most majestic of all of the galaxies in the Universe is the Sombrero, 28 million light years away in the constellation Virgo. This spiral galaxy’s notable features are its thick, torus-like disc with a dark, duty rim and the intense, bulbous, white glow that emanates from its core.

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Astronomers set a new galaxy distance record

5 May 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers has pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5 percent of its present age with the discovery of an exceptionally luminous galaxy more than 13 billion light-years from Earth. The galaxy existed so long ago, it appears to be only 100 million years old.

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A perfect ring

29 April 2015 Keith Cooper

This incredible halo-shaped object is an Einstein Ring, which is an extreme manifestation of Albert Einstein’s General Relativity in action.

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Massive galaxies died from the inside out

16 April 2015 Keith Cooper

Some of the biggest galaxies in the Universe started to shut down their star-formation from the inside-out ten billion years ago, according to new observations made using the Very Large Telescope in Chile and the Hubble Space Telescope.

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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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Dwarf galaxy’s gamma-rays hint at dark matter

11 March 2015 Kerry Hebden

An excess of gamma rays detected coming from a recently discovered dwarf galaxy named Reticulum 2, which is 98,000 light years from Earth, could provide researchers with clues about dark matter, which is the mysterious stuff that makes up most of the Universe.