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Monster black hole wakes up after 26 years

26 June 2015 Astronomy Now

On 15 June 2015, a long-time acquaintance of X-ray and gamma ray astronomers made its comeback to the cosmic stage: V404 Cygni, a system comprising a black hole and a star orbiting one another. It is located in our Milky Way galaxy, almost 8,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.

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UK work-experience schoolboy discovers a new planet

10 June 2015 Astronomy Now

Tom Wagg, now aged 17, discovered a new planet orbiting a star 1000 light-years away in the constellation of Hydra. He was doing work-experience at Keele University two years ago when he spotted the body by finding a tiny dip in the light of its parent star as the planet passed in front of it.

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Delta Cephei’s secret companion and intriguing past

13 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Delta (δ) Cephei, prototype of Cepheids, which has given its name to all similar variable stars, was discovered 230 years ago by the English astronomer John Goodricke. The Cepheids role as distance calibrators for more than a century means δ Cephei is one of the most studied stars, but astronomers were shocked to discover that they lacked an essential piece of information…