News

Fermi space telescope expands its search for dark matter

14 August 2016 Astronomy Now

Dark matter, the mysterious substance that constitutes most of the material universe, remains as elusive as ever. Although experiments on the ground and in space have yet to find a trace of dark matter, six or more years of data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has broadened the mission’s dark matter hunt using some novel approaches.

Observing

See the International Space Station glide over the UK

2 August 2016 Ade Ashford

If you chance upon a bright ‘star’ crawling across the sky in an arc from west to east, an object that doesn’t flash or possess red and green running lights (which is an aircraft), then you can be fairly certain that you’re looking at the International Space Station (ISS). Find out when and where to see it from the British Isles and Western Europe this week.

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In pictures: Tim Peake’s return to Earth

21 June 2016 Stephen Clark

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying Britain’s Tim Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, parachuted to the flat grasslands of Kazakhstan on Saturday, returning home from a six month mission to the International Space Station.

Observing

See the International Space Station over the UK

4 June 2016 Ade Ashford

In recent nights, observers in the UK and Western Europe have seen the International Space Station (ISS) as a bright naked-eye ‘star’ moving slowly across the sky from west to east. On Thursday, 9 June, London is favoured for some close approaches of the ISS to the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. If you see the Station, spare a thought for Tim Peake and the Expedition 47 crew on board!

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Mercury and International Space Station transit the Sun

1 June 2016 Astronomy Now

French astrophotographer Thierry Legault travelled to the suburbs of Philadelphia, USA to capture both the International Space Station and planet Mercury transiting the Sun on 9 May. This image includes multiple stacked frames to show the Station’s path in the fraction of a second it took to cross the Sun, while Mercury appears as a black dot at bottom-centre.

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Tim Peake’s ISS view of the waxing Moon

12 February 2016 Astronomy Now

In this image we see the young lunar crescent as seen from the International Space Station by ESA astronaut Tim Peake on 9 February 2016. At the time of the photograph the Moon was just 1.2 days old. Features on the Earth-facing side of the Moon not directly illuminated by the Sun are glowing softly due to earthshine, light reflected onto the Moon from our planet.

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Tim Peake’s aurora photography masterclass

21 January 2016 Astronomy Now

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and ESA astronaut Tim Peake shared a series of aurora photographs taken from the International Space Station on 20 January 2016. The dancing lights of the aurora provide spectacular views on the ground, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the Sun.

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Tim Peake’s Principia spacewalk

16 January 2016 Astronomy Now

European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake pictured during his 4 hour 43 minute spacewalk to replace a failed power regulator and install cabling on the International Space Station. Tim commented on this image: “Today’s exhilarating spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever — quite an incredible feeling!”