Decades of searching in the Andromeda Galaxy has finally paid off, with the discovery of an elusive breed of stellar corpse — a neutron star, by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope. Neutron stars are the small and extraordinarily dense remains of a once-massive star that exploded as a powerful supernova at the end of its natural life.
NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured the best high-energy X-ray view yet of a portion of the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest large neighbouring spiral galaxy. The space observatory has observed 40 “X-ray binaries” — intense sources of X-rays comprising a black hole or neutron star that feeds off a stellar companion.
In a Hubble Space Telescope survey of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass. The intensive survey was a unique collaboration between astronomers and “citizen scientists,” volunteers who provided invaluable help in analysing the mountain of data from Hubble.
Are you looking for something to whet your observing appetite and celebrate the return of late summer dark skies to the British Isles? Why not welcome back the Andromeda Galaxy to the Northern Hemisphere night sky in this observing guide to one of the annual harbingers of autumnal celestial delights.
At CASCA 2015, Roberto Abraham from the University of Toronto describes the first results from the Dragonfly Telephoto Array — an innovative, multi-lens system designed to produce digital images of ultra-low surface brightness objects at visible wavelengths — that is at least ten times more efficient than its nearest rival.