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World’s biggest telescope meets second-fastest supercomputer

23 August 2016 Astronomy Now

A prototype part of the software system to manage data from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope has run on the world’s second-fastest supercomputer in China. The SKA is arguably the world’s largest science project, with the low-frequency part of the telescope alone set to have more than a quarter of a million antennas facing the sky.

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Large galaxies’ appetite for growth revealed in streams of stars

5 August 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers has used a highly sensitive instrument on one of the world’s largest telescopes to witness a dominant galaxy, Messier 81 in Ursa Major, ingesting the stars of its near neighbours. The gravitational pull of M81 was shown to distort the shapes of adjacent galaxies, pulling their stars into long tails in a process called tidal stripping.