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Charting the Milky Way from the inside out

7 June 2015 Astronomy Now

The Sun’s location within the Milky Way’s dust-obscured disc is a complicating factor when trying to determine the Galaxy’s four-arm spiral structure, but researchers are obtaining a clearer picture by mapping embedded star clusters using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

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Newly dedicated observatory to search for gravitational waves

20 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Seeking to expand how we observe and understand phenomena such as supernovae and colliding black holes that generate gravitational waves, the National Science Foundation has just dedicated the Advanced Laser Gravitational Wave Observatories (Advanced LIGO) in Richland, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana.

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Race to detect gravitational waves intensifies

31 March 2015 Astronomy Now

One of the great challenges in astrophysics is the detection of low-frequency gravitational waves — elusive ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by extremely energetic and large-scale cosmic events. To this end, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves $14.5 million over 5 years.

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Venus revealed in high-resolution radar images from Earth

10 March 2015 Astronomy Now

By combining the powerful radar transmitter of the Arecibo Observatory and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) — the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope — astronomers were able to penetrate the visually opaque atmospheric veil of Venus to make remarkably detailed images of the surface of the planet without leaving Earth.