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Astronomers shed light on different galaxy types

14 September 2016 Astronomy Now

Australian scientists have taken a critical step towards understanding why different types of galaxies exist throughout the universe. The research means that astronomers can now classify galaxies according to their physical properties rather than human interpretation of a galaxy’s appearance.

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World’s biggest telescope meets second-fastest supercomputer

23 August 2016 Astronomy Now

A prototype part of the software system to manage data from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope has run on the world’s second-fastest supercomputer in China. The SKA is arguably the world’s largest science project, with the low-frequency part of the telescope alone set to have more than a quarter of a million antennas facing the sky.

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Citizen scientists discover huge Matorny-Terentev galaxy cluster

14 June 2016 Astronomy Now

Two volunteer participants in an international citizen science project, T. Matorney and I. A. Terentev, have had a rare galaxy cluster that they found named after them. The pair pieced together the huge C-shaped structure of RGZ-CL J0823.2+0333 from much smaller images of cosmic radio waves shown to them as part of the web-based program Radio Galaxy Zoo.

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Virgo Cluster galaxy’s stunning gas tail

22 February 2016 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have discovered a spectacular tail of gas more than 300,000 light-years across coming from a galaxy known as NGC 4569, 55 million light-years away in the Virgo Cluster. The plume is made up of hydrogen gas — the material new stars are made of — and is five times longer than the galaxy itself.

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Hundreds of nearby galaxies found hidden behind the Milky Way

9 February 2016 Astronomy Now

An international team of scientists used the 64-metre Parkes Radio Telescope equipped with an innovative receiver to see through the stars and dust of the Milky Way, into a previously unexplored region of space. Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have therefore been studied for the first time, shedding light on a mysterious gravitational anomaly dubbed the Great Attractor.

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Galaxy survey charts the fading and slow death of the universe

11 August 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers studying more than 200,000 galaxies has made the most comprehensive assessment of the energy output of the nearby universe. The Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) project confirms that the energy produced is only about half what it was two billion years ago and this fading is occurring across all wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the far infrared. The universe is slowly dying.

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Neutron star takes on black holes in jet contest

5 August 2015 Astronomy Now

A team of scientists in Australia and the Netherlands has discovered powerful jets blasting out of a star system known as PSR J1023+0038 that consists of a super-dense neutron star in a close orbit with another, more normal star. It was previously thought that the only objects in the universe capable of forming such powerful jets were black holes.

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Dead galaxies may be packed with dark matter

20 July 2015 Astronomy Now

Research using powerful computer simulations to study galaxies that have fallen into the Coma Cluster, one of the largest gravitationally-bound structures in the universe roughly 300 million light-years from Earth, suggests that it could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study.