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Explosive birth of stars can swell galactic cores

12 September 2017 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have found that active star formation upswells galaxies, like yeast helps bread rise. Using three powerful telescopes on the ground and in orbit, they observed galaxies from 11 billion years ago and found explosive formation of stars in the cores of galaxies. This suggests that galaxies can change their own shape without interaction with other galaxies.

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Potentially habitable super-Earth K2-3d observed transiting parent star

28 November 2016 Astronomy Now

A group of researchers has observed the first ground-based transit observation of K2-3d — a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet supposedly within the habitable zone around a bright M-dwarf host star 147 light-years away — using the multi-band imager MuSCAT on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory’s 1.88-metre telescope.

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Record-breaking dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way discovered

21 November 2016 Astronomy Now

An international team has found an extremely faint dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way using the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) on the 8.2-metre Subaru Telescope located at the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii. Named Virgo I, the galaxy lies 280,000 light-years away in the constellation of Virgo. The galaxy may well be the faintest satellite galaxy yet found.

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Earth-bound CHARIS samples atmospheric gases of exoplanets

11 November 2016 Astronomy Now

A team of scientists and engineers led by Princeton University researchers recently reported the successful operation of a new instrument for the 8.2-metre Subaru Telescope at the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii that will allow astronomers to make direct observations and take spectra of planets orbiting nearby stars.

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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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‘Birthplace’ of a fast radio burst located for the first time

25 February 2016 Astronomy Now

An international team of scientists led by a Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project scientist has for the first time managed to identify the location of a fast radio burst using a combination of radio and optical telescopes, allowing them to confirm the current cosmological model of the distribution of matter in the universe.

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Signs of second-largest black hole in the Milky Way

17 January 2016 Astronomy Now

A team of astronomers has found an enigmatic gas cloud, called CO-0.40-0.22, only 200 light-years away from the centre of the Milky Way. The cloud contains gas with a very wide range of speeds. The so-called velocity dispersion is best explained by the gravitational attraction of an intermediate mass black hole. If that is the case, then this is the first detection of such a body.

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ALMA spots monstrous baby galaxies cradled in dark matter

6 December 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) have discovered a nest of colossal baby galaxies 11.5 billion light-years away. The young galaxies seem to reside at the junction of gigantic filaments in a web of dark matter. These findings are important for understanding how enormous galaxies like these are formed and how they evolve into huge elliptical galaxies.

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IRIS and Hinode: a stellar research team

26 August 2015 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph satellite, or IRIS, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA)/NASA’s Hinode solar observatory, have just made a significant step towards understanding why the corona — the outermost, wispy layer of the Sun’s atmosphere — is hundreds of times hotter than the lower photosphere, which is the Sun’s visible surface.

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Origin of Saturn’s F Ring and its shepherd moons revealed

24 August 2015 Astronomy Now

Researchers at Kobe University have used computer models to reveal that Saturn’s F Ring and its shepherd satellites are a natural outcome of the final stage of the planet’s satellite system. This new finding is expected to help elucidate the formation of satellite systems both within and outside our solar system.