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Distant star Kepler 11145123 is roundest object ever observed in nature

17 November 2016 Astronomy Now

A team of German researchers has succeeded in measuring the oblateness of a slowly rotating star with unprecedented precision using asteroseismology — the study of the oscillations of stars. The technique was applied to a hot and luminous star called Kepler 11145123 some 5,000 light-years away that is spherical to one part in 500,000.

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Computer simulations explain Jupiter’s wild weather

30 November 2015 Astronomy Now

The numerous whirlwinds covering Jupiter are caused by upward gas flows originating deep within the giant planet. This is the conclusion reached by scientists at the University of Alberta (Canada) and the Max Planck Institute for Solar Research (MPS) in Germany after extensive computer simulations. Their models also explain why the Jovian whirlwinds’ direction of rotation is opposite to storms on Earth.

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Hot lava flows discovered on Venus

19 June 2015 Astronomy Now

The European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth’s neighbour planet. Seeing the planet’s surface is extremely difficult due to its thick atmosphere, but radar observations by previous missions to Venus have revealed it as a world covered in volcanoes and ancient lava flows.

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OSIRIS discovers balancing rock on comet 67P

19 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Scientists from Rosetta’s OSIRIS team have discovered an extraordinary formation in the Aker region on the larger lobe of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The largest of a group of three boulders with a diameter of approximately 30 metres appears to perch on the rim of a small depression. There seems to be only a very small contact area with the nucleus.