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Ancient eye in the sky reveals galaxies

26 July 2016 Astronomy Now

A gravitational lens system has been discovered by undergraduate students examining images from the 8.2-metre Subaru Telescope’s Hyper Suprime-Cam. Dubbed the “Eye of Horus” due to the system’s uncanny resemblance to the sacred eye of the ancient Egyptian goddess, it is formed by a galaxy 7 billion light-years from the Earth bending the light from two more galaxies directly behind it.

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Galaxy quakes could improve hunt for dark matter

7 January 2016 Astronomy Now

Ripples in gas at the outer disc of our galaxy have puzzled astronomers since they were first revealed by radio observations a decade ago. Now, astronomers believe they have found the culprit — a dwarf galaxy, containing dark, unseen material, which skimmed the outskirts of the Milky Way a few hundred million years ago. This method to characterise dark matter marks first real application of galactoseismology.

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Stanford astronomers observe the birth of an alien planet

19 November 2015 Astronomy Now

Stanford University researchers announce evidence of an exoplanet being born that could move us one step closer to understanding the process of planet formation around other stars. The alien planet, called LkCa 15 b, orbits a star 450 light-years away and appears to be on its way to growing into a world similar to Jupiter.

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Evidence for an impact event on main-belt asteroid Griseldis

13 November 2015 Astronomy Now

The main-belt asteroid (493) Griseldis, that lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, was probably hit by another object last March. The results were reported on 12 November at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society near Washington, DC.

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Oldest stars ever seen found near Milky Way centre

12 November 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have discovered the oldest stars ever seen, dating from before the Milky Way Galaxy formed, when the universe was just 300 million years old. The stars, found near the centre of the Milky Way, are surprisingly pure but contain material from an even earlier star, which died in an enormous explosion called a hypernova.