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Hubble sees the shredded remains of a supernova

25 July 2016 Astronomy Now

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the remnants of a long-dead star. These rippling wisps of ionised gas, named DEM L316A, are the remains of an especially energetic Type Ia supernova located some 160,000 light-years away within one of the Milky Way’s closest galactic neighbours — the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

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Hubble resolves globular cluster in the Large Magellanic Cloud

20 June 2016 Astronomy Now

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the globular cluster NGC 1854, a gathering of white and blue stars in the southern constellation of Dorado. NGC 1854 is located about 135,000 light-years away, in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), one of our closest cosmic neighbours and a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

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Ultra-sharp image uncovers the shocking lives of young stars

17 June 2016 Astronomy Now

An unprecedented view from the world’s most advanced adaptive optics system on the Gemini South telescope in Chile probes a swarm of young and forming stars that appear to have been triggered, or shocked, into existence. The group, known as N159W, is located some 158,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite to our Milky Way Galaxy.

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VLC sees star birth in the Large Magellanic Cloud

20 May 2016 Astronomy Now

In this image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), light from blazing blue stars energises the gas left over from the stars’ recent formation. The result is a strikingly colourful emission nebula, called LHA 120-N55, in which the stars are adorned with a mantle of glowing gas. LHA 120-N55 lies within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

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Hubble unveils monster stars in the Tarantula Nebula

17 March 2016 Astronomy Now

Astronomers using the unique ultraviolet capabilities of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have identified nine monster stars with masses over 100 times the mass of the Sun in the star cluster R136, located in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud. This makes it the largest sample of very massive stars identified to date.

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Globular clusters make new stars by ‘adopting’ stray cosmic gases

27 January 2016 Astronomy Now

An international research team of astronomers has, for the first time, found young populations of stars within globular clusters that have apparently developed courtesy of star-forming gas flowing in from outside of the clusters themselves. This method stands in contrast to the conventional idea of the clusters’ initial stars shedding gas as they age in order to spark future rounds of star birth.

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Magnified image of the faintest galaxy from the early universe

5 December 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers harnessing the combined power of NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have found the faintest object ever seen in the early universe. It existed about 400 million years after the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The new object is comparable in size to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a diminutive satellite galaxy of our Milky Way.

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Hottest white dwarf discovered in our Galaxy

29 November 2015 Astronomy Now

With a temperature of 250,000 °C — 45 times that at the surface of our Sun — astronomers believe that this dying star in the outskirts of the Milky Way may have peaked at 400,000 °C a thousand years ago. The researchers were also the first to observe an intergalactic gas cloud moving towards the Milky Way — indicating that galaxies collect fresh material from deep space, which they can use to make new stars.

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NASA’s Fermi satellite detects first gamma-ray pulsar in another galaxy

13 November 2015 Astronomy Now

Researchers using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have discovered the first gamma-ray pulsar in a galaxy other than our own. Known as PSR J0540-6919, the object sets a new record for the most luminous gamma-ray pulsar known. The pulsar lies in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy that is located 163,000 light-years away.

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Final kiss of two stars heading for catastrophe

21 October 2015 Astronomy Now

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers have found the hottest and most massive double star with components so close that they touch each other. The two stars in the extreme system VFTS 352 could be heading for a dramatic end, during which the two stars either coalesce to create a single giant star, or form a binary black hole.