Picture This

A golden veil cloaks a newborn star

31 May 2016 Ade Ashford

In this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, we see a young star breaking out. The golden veil of light cloaks a young stellar object known only as IRAS 14568-6304 in the Circinus molecular cloud complex. This stellar newborn is ejecting gas at supersonic speeds and eventually will have cleared a hole in the cloud, allowing it to be easily visible to the outside universe.

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Runaway stars leave infrared waves in space

6 January 2016 Astronomy Now

Astronomers are finding dozens of massive, so-called ‘runaway stars’ in our galaxy with the help of images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. When these speedy, massive stars plow through space, they can cause material to stack up in front of them, creating dramatic arc-shaped features called bow shocks.

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Astronomers recall discovery of Phaethon — source of Geminid meteors

12 December 2015 Astronomy Now

The beautiful Geminid meteor shower is due to light up the heavens this weekend, but the source of the enigmatic cosmic display had eluded stargazers for more than 120 years. Then, in 1983, two University of Leicester astronomers — Dr. Simon Green and Dr. John Davies — used data from the IRAS satellite to discover 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid with a very unusual orbit.

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Gravitationally-lensed distant galaxies imaged with the Large Millimetre Telescope

31 August 2015 Astronomy Now

The Large Millimetre Telescope (LMT) is the world’s largest single-dish, steerable, millimetre-wavelength telescope designed specifically for astronomical observations. Astronomers have used the newly-operational LMT, situated on the summit of Volcán Sierra Negra in Mexico at an altitude of 4,600 metres, in a set of early science spectroscopic studies of submillimetre galaxies.