Signs of Katrina Linger in the Marshes
Ten years after making landfall, scars from Hurricane Katrina still linger.
Signs of Katrina Linger in the Marshes
Ten years after making landfall, scars from Hurricane Katrina still linger.
Hubble Finds That the Nearest Quasar Is Powered by a Double Black Hole
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Quasars are the light fantastic. These brilliant cores of active galaxies blaze with the radiance of a hundred billion stars compressed into a region of space not much larger than our solar system. Supermassive black holes, with millions or billions of times the mass of our sun, are the only imaginable powerhouse behind these tsunamis of raw energy.
Gaia's first year of scientific observations - Read more >
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:00:00 +0200
Last Friday, 21 August, ESA’s billion-star surveyor, Gaia, completed its first year of science observations in its main survey mode.
ESO and ESA Directors General sign Cooperation Agreement - Read more >
Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:07:00 +0200
On 20 August 2015 the Director General of ESO, Tim de Zeeuw, and the Director General of ESA, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, signed a cooperation agreement between the two organisations at ESO’s offices in Santiago, Chile. The ESA Director General was accompanied by Álvaro Giménez, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at ESA, and Fabio Favata, Head of the ESA Programme Coordination Office.
The tumultuous heart of our Galaxy - Read more >
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 14:47:00 +0200
This new image of powerful remnants of dead stars and their mighty action on the surrounding gas from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory reveals some of the most intense processes taking place at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Call for Media: LISA Pathfinder leaving for launch site - Read more >
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 11:30:00 +0200
Slated for launch by Vega in November, ESA’s gravitational-wave detection technology demonstrator is ready to begin launch preparations in September at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Members of the media are invited to join ESA and Airbus Defence and Space at IABG’s space test centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany, to get a final glimpse of LISA Pathfinder before it departs to the launch site.
Newly Discovered World Is Most Like Jupiter
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 14:25:00 -0400
A team of astronomers, including half a dozen from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, have used the Gemini Observatory's new Gemini Planet Imager to find the most solar system-like planet ever directly imaged around another star. The planet, known as 51 Eridani b, is about two times the mass of Jupiter and orbits its host star at about 13 times the Earth-sun distance (equivalent to being between Saturn and Uranus in our solar system). The planet is located about 100 light-years away from Earth. The Gemini data provide scientists with the strongest-ever spectroscopic detection of methane in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet, adding to its similarities to giant planets in our solar system. "This planet looks like a younger, slightly bigger version of Jupiter," said Dr. Laurent Pueyo of STScI, one of the astronomers who carefully measured the planet's light against the background glare of starlight. "That we can see so clearly the presence of methane for a planet a million times fainter than its star, even through the atmosphere, bodes very well for the future characterization of even fainter planets from space using the James Webb Space Telescope and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope."
NASA's Hubble Finds Supernovae in 'Wrong Place at Wrong Time'
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 13:00:00 -0400
What happens when you find something in the wrong place at the wrong time? That's a question astronomers have been trying to answer after finding several exploding stars outside the cozy confines of galaxies, where most stars reside. These wayward supernovae also have puzzled astronomers because they exploded billions of years before their predicted detonations. Astronomers using archived observations from several telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, have developed a theory for where these doomed stars come from and how they arrived at their current homes.
Rosetta's big day in the Sun - Read more >
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:30:00 +0200
ESA’s Rosetta today witnessed Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko making its closest approach to the Sun. The exact moment of perihelion occurred at 02:03 GMT this morning when the comet came within 186 million km of the Sun.
Comet’s firework display ahead of perihelion - Read more >
Tue, 11 Aug 2015 10:00:00 +0200
In the approach to perihelion over the past few weeks, Rosetta has been witnessing growing activity from Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, with one dramatic outburst event proving so powerful that it even pushed away the incoming solar wind.
NASA's Hubble Finds Evidence of Galaxy Star Birth Regulated by Black-Hole Fountain
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Astronomers have long wondered how the universe's largest elliptical galaxies continue making stars long after their peak years of star birth. By combining data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope with observations from a suite of ground-based and space telescopes, two independent teams have uncovered a unique process to explain how this star birth continues. The teams found that that the galaxy's central black hole, jets, and newborn stars are all parts of a self-regulating cycle. In that cycle, jets shooting out of the galaxy's center heat a halo of surrounding gas, controlling the rate at which it cools and falls into the galaxy. The astronomers used Hubble's high resolution and ultraviolet vision to resolve brilliant knots of hot, blue stars forming along the jets from active black holes in the centers of these giant galaxies.
Celebrating a year at the comet - Read more >
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 11:00:00 +0200
ESA’s Rosetta mission today celebrates one year at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, with its closest approach to the Sun now just one week away.
Science on the surface of a comet - Read more >
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:00:00 +0200
Complex molecules that could be key building blocks of life, the daily rise and fall of temperature, and an assessment of the surface properties and internal structure of the comet are just some of the highlights of the first scientific analysis of the data returned by Rosetta’s lander Philae last November.
Telescopes Team Up to Find Distant Uranus-Sized Planet Through Microlensing
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
The majority of planets discovered outside our solar system orbit close to their parent stars because these planets are the easiest to find. But to fully understand how distant planetary systems are put together, astronomers must conduct a census of all the planets around a star. So they need to look farther away from the star-from about the distance of Jupiter is from our sun, and beyond.
Preparing to build ESA’s Jupiter mission - Read more >
Fri, 17 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0200
Airbus Defence & Space in France has been selected as the prime industrial contractor for ESA’s Juice mission to Jupiter and its icy moons.
Rosetta: preparing for perihelion - Read more >
Mon, 13 Jul 2015 14:00:00 +0200
Rosetta’s investigations of its comet are continuing as the mission teams count down the last month to perihelion – the closest point to the Sun along the comet’s orbit – when the comet’s activity is expected to be at its highest.
Cutting through martian history - Read more >
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 11:00:00 +0200
This colourful image resembles an abstract watercolour, but it is in fact a colour-coded topographic map of one of the most geologically diverse regions on Mars.
Astronomers use cosmic gravity to create a ‘black-hole-scope’ - Read more >
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 17:00:00 +0200
The Integral, Fermi and Swift space observatories have used the magnifying power of a cosmic lens to explore the inner regions of a supermassive black hole.
Counting stars with Gaia - Read more >
Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:00:00 +0200
This image, based on housekeeping data from ESA’s Gaia satellite, is no ordinary depiction of the heavens. While the image portrays the outline of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, and of its neighbouring Magellanic Clouds, it was obtained in a rather unusual way.
Comet sinkholes generate jets - Read more >
Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:00:00 +0200
A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ are providing a glimpse at the chaotic and diverse interior of the comet.
Monster black hole wakes up after 26 years - Read more >
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:00:00 +0200
Over the past week, ESA's Integral satellite has been observing an exceptional outburst of high-energy light produced by a black hole that is devouring material from its stellar companion.
Hubble Sees a 'Behemoth' Bleeding Atmosphere Around a Warm Neptune-Sized Exoplanet
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dubbed "The Behemoth" bleeding off a planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous, comet-like feature is about 50 times the size of the parent star. The hydrogen is evaporating from a warm, Neptune-sized planet, due to extreme radiation from the star. A phenomenon this large has never before been seen around any exoplanet. It may offer clues to how Super-Earths massive, rocky, versions of Earth are born around other stars through the evaporation of their outer layers of hydrogen. Finding "The Behemoth" could be a game-changer for characterizing atmospheres of the whole population of Neptune-sized planets and Super-Earths in ultraviolet observations.
Exposed water ice detected on comet’s surface - Read more >
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:00:00 +0200
Using the high-resolution science camera on board ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, scientists have identified more than a hundred patches of water ice a few metres in size on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Rosetta mission extended - Read more >
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 11:45:00 +0200
The adventure continues: ESA today confirmed that its Rosetta mission will be extended until the end of September 2016, at which point the spacecraft will most likely be landed on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Hubble Sees the 'Teenage Years' of Quasars
Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Quasars are the light fantastic. They are the brightest beacons in the universe, blazing across space with the intrinsic brightness of one trillion suns. Yet the objects are not vast galaxies, but they appear as pinpoint sources in the biggest telescopes of today hence the term "quasar" for quasi-stellar object. Discovered in the 1960s, it took more than two decades of research to come to the conclusion that quasars are produced by the gusher of energy coming from over-fed supermassive black holes inside the cores of very distant galaxies. And, most quasars bloomed into a brief existence 12 billion years ago.
Hot lava flows discovered on Venus - Read more >
Thu, 18 Jun 2015 14:00:00 +0200
ESA’s Venus Express has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth’s neighbour planet.
Hubble Telescope Detects 'Sunscreen' Layer on Distant Planet
Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Researchers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have detected a stratosphere and temperature inversion in the atmosphere of a planet several times the mass of Jupiter, called WASP-33b. Earth's stratosphere sits above the troposphere, the turbulent, active-weather region that reaches from the ground to the altitude where nearly all clouds top out. In the troposphere, the temperature is warmer at the bottom ground level and cools down at higher altitudes. The stratosphere is just the opposite: There, the temperature rises at higher altitudes. This is called a temperature inversion, and it happens because ozone in the stratosphere absorbs some of the sun's radiation, preventing it from reaching the surface and warming this layer of the atmosphere. Similar temperature inversions occur in the stratospheres of other planets in our solar system, such as Jupiter and Saturn. But WASP-33b is so close to its star that its atmosphere is a scathing 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and its atmosphere is so hot the planet might actually have titanium oxide rain.
Lonely Galaxy 'Lost in Space'
Wed, 10 Jun 2015 10:00:00 -0400
This magnificent spiral galaxy is at the edge of what astronomers call the Local Void. The Local Void is a huge volume of space that is at least 150 million light-years across that doesn't seen to contain anything much. There are no obvious galaxies. This void is simply part of the structure of the universe where matter grows clumpy over time so that galaxies form clusters and chains, which are separated by regions mostly devoid of galaxies. This results in sort of a "soap bubble" structure on large scales. The galaxy, as photographed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, is especially colorful where bright red patches of gas can be seen scattered through its spiral arms. Bright blue regions contain newly forming stars. Dark brown dust lanes snake across the galaxy's bright arms and center, giving it a mottled appearance.
Hubble Finds Two Chaotically Tumbling Pluto Moons
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Two of the most reliable changes in the sky are the daily rising of the sun in the east and setting of the sun in the west. But if you lived on a couple of Pluto's moons you wouldn't know when the day would begin, or even what direction the sun would rise. That's because, unlike Earth's moon, at least two of Pluto's small moons, Hydra and Nix, are tumbling chaotically through space. Why? Because they orbit inside a dynamically shifting gravitational field caused by the system's two central bodies, Pluto and Charon, that are whirling around each other. The moons are also football shaped, and this contributes to the chaotic rotation.
Astronomy.co.uk Star Naming Service
Take a look at this month's Sky Map to help you explore the wonders of the night sky!
Ideal for all sky watchers including beginners to astronomy.
The Sky Map will help you identify planets, bright stars, constellations and nebulae!