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ALMA witnesses the birth of a triple-star system

28 October 2016 Astronomy Now

A rare triple-star system surrounded by a disc with a spiral structure has been discovered by a global team of researchers. Recent observations from the Atacama Large Millimetre / submillimetre Array (ALMA) resulted in the discovery, lending support for evidence of disc fragmentation — a process leading to the formation of young binary and multiple star systems.

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Chaotic orbit of Comet Halley explained

1 July 2016 Astronomy Now

Halley’s Comet, officially designated 1P/Halley, is visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Despite this regular return, the comet’s orbit cannot be predicted exactly due to processes inside the comet and its chaotic interaction with the planets and minor bodies in the solar system. A team of Dutch and Scottish researchers has now found an explanation for the chaotic orbital behaviour of 1P/Halley.

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Students map Milky Way with dwarf stars

17 March 2016 Astronomy Now

Two astronomy students from Leiden University have mapped the entire Milky Way Galaxy in dwarf stars for the first time. They show that there are a total of 58 billion dwarf stars, of which seven percent reside in the outer regions of our galaxy. This result is the most comprehensive model ever for the distribution of these stars.

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A new record: Keck Observatory measures most distant galaxy

6 August 2015 Astronomy Now

EGSY8p7 is the most distant confirmed galaxy whose spectrum obtained with the W. M. Keck Observatory places it at a redshift of 8.68, at a time when the universe was less than 600 million years old. Hydrogen emission from EGSY8p7 may indicate it is the first known example of an early generation of young galaxies emitting unusually strong radiation.