16 May 2018, 17:00 UTC Astronomers have used observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to determine that star formation in the very distant galaxy MACS1149-JD1 started at an unexpectedly early stage, only 250 million years after the Big Bang. This discovery also represents the most distant oxygen ever detected in the Universe and the most distant galaxy ever observed by ALMA or the VLT. Next Previous
9 May 2018, 10:00 UTC An international team of astronomers has used ESO telescopes to investigate a relic of the primordial Solar System. The team found that the unusual Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95 is a carbon-rich asteroid, the first of its kind to be confirmed in the cold outer reaches of the Solar System. This curious object likely formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has been flung billions of kilometres from its origin to its current home in the Kuiper Belt. Next Previous
2 May 2018, 17:00 UTC Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have detected helium in the atmosphere of the exoplanet WASP-107b. This is the first time this element has been detected in the atmosphere of a planet outside the Solar System. The discovery demonstrates the ability to use infrared spectra to study exoplanet extended atmospheres. Next Previous
2 May 2018, 17:00 UTC In some ways, star clusters are like giant families with thousands of stellar siblings. These stars come from the same origins — a common cloud of gas and dust — and are bound to one another by gravity. Astronomers think that our Sun was born in a star cluster about 4.6 billion years ago that quickly dispersed. Next Previous
25 Apr 2018, 17:00 UTC The ALMA and APEX telescopes have peered deep into space — back to the time when the Universe was one tenth of its current age — and witnessed the beginnings of gargantuan cosmic pileups: the impending collisions of young, starburst galaxies. Astronomers thought that these events occurred around three billion years after the Big Bang, so they were surprised when the new observations revealed them happening when the Universe was only half that age! These ancient systems of galaxies are thought to be building the most massive structures in the known Universe: galaxy clusters. Next Previous
25 Apr 2018, 10:00 UTC ESA’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star catalogue to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and revealing previously unseen details of our home Galaxy. A multitude of discoveries are on the horizon after this much awaited release, which is based on 22 months of charting the sky. The new data includes positions, distance indicators and motions of more than one billion stars, along with high-precision measurements of asteroids within our Solar System and stars beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy. Next Previous
19 Apr 2018, 14:00 UTC This colourful cloud of glowing interstellar gas is just a tiny part of the Lagoon Nebula, a vast stellar nursery. This nebula is a region full of intense activity, with fierce winds from hot stars, swirling chimneys of gas, and energetic star formation all embedded within a hazy labyrinth of gas and dust. Hubble used both its optical and infrared instruments to study the nebula, which was observed to celebrate Hubble’s 28th anniversary. Next Previous
18 Apr 2018, 23:00 UTC Next Previous
11 Apr 2018, 10:00 UTC New images from the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope are revealing the dusty discs surrounding nearby young stars in greater detail than previously achieved. They show a bizarre variety of shapes, sizes and structures, including the likely effects of planets still in the process of forming. Next Previous
5 Apr 2018, 15:00 UTC New images from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other telescopes reveal a rich landscape of stars and glowing clouds of gas in one of our closest neighbouring galaxies, the Small Magellanic Cloud. The pictures have allowed astronomers to identify an elusive stellar corpse buried among filaments of gas left behind by a 2000-year-old supernova explosion. The MUSE instrument was used to establish where this elusive object is hiding, and existing Chandra X-ray Observatory data confirmed its identity as an isolated neutron star. Next Previous
NASA: Kepler News and Features 23 May 2018, 17:02 UTC On May 12, NASA’s planet-hunting spacecraft Kepler began the 18th observing campaign of its extended mission, K2. For the next 82 days, Kepler will stare at clusters of stars, faraway galaxies and a handful of solar system objects, including comets, objects beyond Neptune and an asteroid closer to Earth. The Kepler spacecraft is expected to run out of fuel within several months.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory 23 May 2018, 17:00 UTC An isolated neutron star — with a low magnetic field and no stellar companion — has been found for the first time outside of the Milky Way galaxy.
Royal Astronomical Society 23 May 2018, 10:20 UTC Artificial intelligence is giving scientists new hope for studying the habitability of planets, in a study from astronomers Chris Lam and David Kipping. Their work looks at so-called ‘Tatooines’, planets that orbit two stars instead of one, and uses machine learning techniques to calculate how likely such planets are to survive into stable orbits.
ESA Top News 21 May 2018, 08:20 UTC Stellar nurseries are cloudy and dusty places that shine brightly in infrared light. The G305 star-forming complex is no exception. It features a number of bright, intricate gas clouds heated by infant stars in their midst. In this spectacular image by ESA’s Herschel space observatory, these star-forming hotspots stand out in a blue tone that contrasts with the red-brownish colour of cooler regions.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 May 2018, 14:07 UTC Two upcoming missions will soon take us closer to the Sun than we’ve ever been before, providing our best chance yet at uncovering the complexities of solar activity in our own solar system and shedding light on the very nature of space and stars throughout the universe. Together, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and ESA’s (the European Space Agency) Solar Orbiter may resolve decades-old questions about the inner workings of our nearest star.
ESA Space Science 16 May 2018, 12:00 UTC A rare phenomenon connected to the death of a star has been discovered in observations made by ESA’s Herschel space observatory: an unusual laser emission from the spectacular Ant Nebula, which suggests the presence of a double star system hidden at its heart.
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ABC 24 May 2018, 08:03 UTC In a frenzy of citizen science and rapid astronomical observations, the audience of Stargazing Live on ABC TV has helped identify two new exploding stars — gathering enough data to estimate the age of the universe.
Geekwire 24 May 2018, 01:40 UTC Did Pluto form like its closer-in brethren in the solar system, or is it the result of an agglomeration of comets from the edge of the solar system? A study published in the journal Icarus makes the case for comets.
Starts With a Bang! 23 May 2018, 14:01 UTC After the Big Bang, the Universe was full of matter and radiation. It expanded and cooled, and over millions and even billions of years, the overdense regions attracted more and more matter into them, eventually forming stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. A few billion years ago, a new form of energy — dark energy — became important in the Universe, and pushed the distant galaxies and clusters away, causing them to accelerate. One of the greatest puzzles in physics is where this dark energy came from, and why it has the value that it does.