Observing

Nova in Hercules brightening fast

14 June 2021 Mark Armstrong

A relatively bright nova was discovered on 12 June in the northern constellation of Hercules (Nova Her 2021) and within just a few hours of its discovery it had brightened by around two magnitudes.

News

Chaotic orbit of Comet Halley explained

1 July 2016 Astronomy Now

Halley’s Comet, officially designated 1P/Halley, is visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Despite this regular return, the comet’s orbit cannot be predicted exactly due to processes inside the comet and its chaotic interaction with the planets and minor bodies in the solar system. A team of Dutch and Scottish researchers has now found an explanation for the chaotic orbital behaviour of 1P/Halley.

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First detection of element lithium from an exploding star

1 August 2015 Astronomy Now

The chemical element lithium is predicted to have been created by the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 show that lithium has been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova, helping to explain the mystery of why many young stars seem to have more of this chemical element than expected.