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Hotspots in Cygnus A: an active galactic nucleus

25 October 2016 Astronomy Now

Newly obtained radio images of the dramatic bipolar jets of charged particles being ejected from the nucleus of galaxy Cygnus A were able to resolve hotspots in the jets at the places where they impact the surrounding medium. A bright radio galaxy such as this can beam as much as one trillion solar luminosities of radiation into space at those wavelengths.

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What happened after the lights came on in the universe?

15 September 2016 Astronomy Now

The National Science Foundation has approved funding to expand the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (HERA) in South Africa. Upgrading the number of antennas from 19 to 240 by the year 2018 will enable HERA to study more clearly the impact of cosmic dawn, the moment a few hundred million years after the Big Bang when the first stars and galaxies blazed awake.

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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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Mysterious alignment of black holes discovered

12 April 2016 Astronomy Now

Deep radio imaging by researchers in the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape, in South Africa, has revealed that supermassive black holes in a region of the distant universe are all spinning out radio jets in the same direction — most likely a result of primordial mass fluctuations in the early universe.

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Researchers find a new way to weigh pulsars

5 October 2015 Astronomy Now

Until now, scientists have determined the mass of stars, planets and moons by studying their motion in relation to others nearby, using the gravitational pull between the two as the basis for their calculations. However, in the case of young pulsars, mathematicians at the University of Southampton have now found a new way to measure their mass — even if a star exists on its own in space.

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Galaxy survey charts the fading and slow death of the universe

11 August 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers studying more than 200,000 galaxies has made the most comprehensive assessment of the energy output of the nearby universe. The Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) project confirms that the energy produced is only about half what it was two billion years ago and this fading is occurring across all wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the far infrared. The universe is slowly dying.

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UK headquarters for the world’s largest telescope?

23 March 2015 Astronomy Now

The Square Kilometre Array Organisation’s decision to extend its selection process to decide where to site the permanent headquarters of the array is welcomed by the Institude of Physics and the Royal Astronomical Society, backing a bid for the UK’s Jodrell Bank Observatory to be the host.