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Hubble dates black hole’s last big meal

9 March 2017 Stephen Clark

For the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it’s been a long time between dinners. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has found that the black hole ate its last big meal about 6 million years ago, when it consumed a large clump of infalling gas.

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The dawn of a new era for Supernova 1987A

24 February 2017 Stephen Clark

Three decades ago, astronomers spotted one of the brightest exploding stars in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called Supernova 1987A, blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following its discovery on Feb. 23, 1987.

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The Calabash clash

6 February 2017 Stephen Clark

The Calabash Nebula, pictured here — which has the technical name OH 231.8+04.2 — is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the Sun.

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Cosmic lenses support finding on faster than expected expansion of the Universe

30 January 2017 Stephen Clark

By using galaxies as giant gravitational lenses, an international group of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have made an independent measurement of how fast the Universe is expanding. The newly measured expansion rate for the local Universe is consistent with earlier findings. These are, however, in intriguing disagreement with measurements of the early Universe.

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Hubble captures ‘shadow play’ caused by possible planet

10 January 2017 Stephen Clark

Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They’re so small and faint that it’s hard to spot them. But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a unique way: by a shadow that is sweeping across the face of a vast pancake-shaped gas-and-dust disk surrounding a young star.

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Festive nebulae light up Milky Way Galaxy satellite

23 December 2016 Stephen Clark

The sheer observing power of the Hubble Space Telescope is rarely better illustrated than in an image such as this. This glowing pink nebula, named NGC 248, is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, just under 200,000 light-years away and yet can still be seen in great detail.

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Tangled threads weave through cosmic oddity

4 December 2016 Astronomy Now

New observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have revealed the intricate structure of the galaxy NGC 4696 in greater detail than ever before. The elliptical galaxy is a beautiful cosmic oddity with a bright core wrapped in system of dark, swirling, thread-like filaments.

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The Atoms for Peace

24 December 2015 Keith Cooper

Some 220 million light years away lies this wreckage of a billion-year old cosmic collision, formed from two galaxies that crashed into one another and merged.

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The brilliant core of a starburst galaxy

8 December 2015 Astronomy Now

This image taken by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope showcases the brilliant core of NGC 1569 in the constellation Camelopardalis, one of the most active galaxies in our local neighbourhood. The entire core is 5000 light-years wide.