Nasa Image of the Day
Round of Testing Completed on Webb Telescope Flight Mirrors

Round of Testing Completed on Webb Telescope Flight Mirrors

This July 11, 2015 photograph captures one of the final, if not the final, James Webb Space Telescope flight primary mirror segments to be processed through NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Calibration, Integration and Alignment Facility (CIAF).

Book Store
Galileo and 400 Years of Telescopic AstronomyGalileo and 400 Years of Telescopic Astronomy

Astronomy.co.uk has teamed up with Amazon.co.uk to bring you the finest selection of astronomy related books at the best prices.

Browse through our bookstore and check out our fine selection of books from star charts and astrophotography to mathematical astronomy. We are sure you will find the book that best suits your needs.

Sky View Cafe
Sky View Cafe

Sky View Café is a Java applet that lets you use your web browser to see many types of astronomical information, in both graphical and numerical form. You can see which stars and planets will be out tonight in the sky above your home town, see how the next solar or lunar eclipse will look from London, or find out when the Moon rose over Sydney on your birthday ten years ago. Sky View Café includes star charts, a 3-D orrery, displays of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, an astronomical event calendar, an ephemeris generator, and many other features. Enter Sky View Café now!

Astronomy News
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 -0400Hubble Image

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 -0400Hubble Image

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.




Dissolving Titan - Read more >
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:00:00 +0200


Saturn’s moon Titan is home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons, but what makes the depressions they lie in? A new study suggests that the moon’s surface dissolves in a similar process that creates sinkholes on Earth.




Philae wake-up triggers intense planning - Read more >
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:23:00 +0200


The receipt of signals from Rosetta’s Philae lander on 13 June after 211 days of hibernation marked the start of intense activity. In coordination with its mission partners, ESA teams are working to juggle Rosetta’s flight plan to help with renewed lander science investigations. 




Rosetta's lander Philae wakes up from hibernation - Read more >
Sun, 14 Jun 2015 13:00:00 +0200


Rosetta's lander Philae has woken up after seven months in hibernation on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.




Hubble Telescope Detects 'Sunscreen' Layer on Distant Planet
Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

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 -0400Hubble Image

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.



Three candidates for ESA’s next medium-class science mission - Read more >
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 09:30:00 +0200


Exoplanets, plasma physics and the X-ray Universe are the topics chosen by ESA to be considered for the fourth medium-class mission in its Cosmic Vision science programme, for launch in 2025.




ESA and Chinese Academy of Sciences to study Smile as joint mission - Read more >
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 09:30:00 +0200


European and Chinese scientists have recommended the Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer as their candidate for a collaborative science mission for launch in 2021.




Hubble Finds Two Chaotically Tumbling Pluto Moons
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

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.



Ultraviolet study reveals surprises in comet coma - Read more >
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:00:00 +0200


Rosetta’s continued close study of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has revealed an unexpected process at work, causing the rapid breakup of water and carbon dioxide molecules spewing from the comet’s surface.




Threading the Milky Way - Read more >
Thu, 28 May 2015 15:00:00 +0200


These three new images of huge filamentary structures of gas and dust from ESA’s Herschel space observatory reveal how matter is distributed across our Galaxy, the Milky Way.




Hubble Video Shows Shock Collision Inside Black Hole Jet
Wed, 27 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

One of the trademarks of the Star Wars film episodes is the dreaded Death Star battle station that fires a beam of directed energy powerful enough to blow up planets. The real universe has such fireworks, and they are vastly more powerful than the Star Wars creation. These extragalactic jets are tearing across hundreds of light-years of space at 98 percent the speed of light. Instead of a battle station, the source of the killer beam is a supermassive black hole weighing many million or even a billion times the mass of our sun. Energy from the spinning black hole, and its titanic magnetic fields, shape a narrow jet of gas blasting out a galaxy's center. Hubble has been used over the past 25 years to photograph and rephotograph a jet blasting out the heart of the elliptical galaxy 3C 264 (also known as NGC 3862). Hubble's sharp vision reveals that the jet has a string-of-pearls structure of glowing knots of material. When these images were assembled into a time-lapse movie, they reveal to the surprise of astronomers a faster-moving bright knot rear-ending the bright knot in front of it. The resulting shock collision further accelerates particles that produce a focused beam of deadly radiation. The jet is moving so fast toward us it gives the illusion that it is traveling faster than the speed of light. But not to worry, the host galaxy is 260 million light-years away. We are seeing the jet as it looked before the dinosaurs appeared on Earth, and our planet was suffering a global mass extinction.



Hubble Observes One-of-a-Kind Star Nicknamed 'Nasty'
Thu, 21 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers have spent decades trying to determine the oddball behavior of an aging star nicknamed "Nasty 1" residing in our Milky Way galaxy. Nasty 1 was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly evolving star that is much more massive than our sun. The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.



Impact crater or supervolcano caldera? - Read more >
Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:00 +0200


At first glance, the region covered by this latest Mars Express image release appears to be pockmarked with impact craters. But the largest structure among them may hold a rather explosive secret: it could be remains of an ancient supervolcano.




Hubble Catches a Stellar Exodus in Action
Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Globular star clusters are isolated star cities, home to hundreds of thousands of stars. And like the fast pace of cities, there's plenty of action in these stellar metropolises. The stars are in constant motion, orbiting around the cluster's center. Past observations have shown that the heavyweight stars live in the crowded downtown, or core, and lightweight stars reside in the less populated suburbs.



Hubble Finds Giant Halo Around the Andromeda Galaxy
Thu, 07 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The Andromeda galaxy is our Milky Way's nearest neighbor in space. The majestic spiral of over 100 billion stars is comparable in size to our home galaxy. At a distance of 2.5 million light-years, it is so close to us the galaxy can be seen as a cigar-shaped smudge of light high in the autumn sky. But if you could see the huge bubble of hot, diffuse plasma surrounding it, it would appear 100 times the angular diameter of the full Moon! The gargantuan halo is estimated to contain half the mass of the stars in the Andromeda galaxy itself. It can be thought of as the "atmosphere" of a galaxy. Astronomers using Hubble identified the gas in Andromeda's halo by measuring how it filtered the light of distant bright background objects called quasars. It is akin to seeing the glow of a flashlight shining through a fog. This finding promises to tell astronomers more about the evolution and structure of one of the most common types of galaxies in the universe.



Astronomers Set a New Galaxy Distance Record
Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The universe is incredibly big. But how do astronomers know that? Billion-mile-long tape measures can't be found at the hardware store. Instead, astronomers use the expansion of the universe itself to establish milepost markers. The light from remote objects is attenuated and weakened as space stretches like a rubber band. The consequences are that starlight will look redder relative to a nearby star of the same temperature. When starlight is spread into its component color via spectroscopy, features in the light will be shifted to the red end of the spectrum. This "redshift" can be used to reliably calibrate distances. The challenge is the farthest objects in the universe are typically too faint for spectroscopy to work. So instead, astronomers deduce a galaxy's distance by precisely measuring its colors in visible and infrared light. This technique has found candidates for the farthest object in the universe.


Buy A Star Gift - Name a star for any occasion, view it live on Google Sky
Universal Star Registry Certificate

Astronomy.co.uk Star Naming Service
Name a star for yourself or for that special person as the perfect gift that will sparkle for a lifetime! Ideal for any occassion, birthdays, christenings, anniversaries and memorials. Reserve a place in the heavens for your loved ones


The Sky Tonight This Month's Sky Map
This Month's Sky Map

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!
Printable version available too!


Follow AstronomyUK on Twitter