Nasa Image of the Day
A Black Hole ‘Choir’

A Black Hole ‘Choir’

The blue dots in this field of galaxies, known as the COSMOS field, show galaxies that contain supermassive black holes emitting high-energy X-rays.

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

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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!

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The Sky Tonight Astronomy News
How comets are born - Read more >
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 16:00:00 +0200


Detailed analysis of data collected by Rosetta show that comets are the ancient leftovers of early Solar System formation, and not younger fragments resulting from subsequent collisions between other, larger bodies.




NASA's Hubble Looks to the Final Frontier
Thu, 21 Jul 2016 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the TV series "Star Trek" has captured the public's imagination with the signature phrase, "To boldly go where no one has gone before." The Hubble Space Telescope simply orbits Earth and doesn't "boldly go" deep into space. But it looks deeper into the universe than ever before possible to explore the fabric of time and space and find the farthest objects ever seen. This is epitomized in this Hubble image that is part of its Frontier Fields program to probe the far universe. This view of a massive cluster of galaxies unveils a very cluttered-looking universe filled with galaxies near and far. Some are distorted like a funhouse mirror through a warping-of-space phenomenon first predicted by Einstein a century ago.



NASA's Hubble Telescope Makes First Atmospheric Study of Earth-Sized Exoplanets
Wed, 20 Jul 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The possibility of life on other worlds has fueled humankind's imagination for centuries. Over the past 20 years, the explosion of discoveries of planets orbiting other stars has sparked the search for worlds like Earth that could sustain life. Most of those candidates were found with other telescopes, including NASA's Kepler space observatory. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has also made some unique contributions to the planet hunt. Astronomers used Hubble, for example, to make the first measurements of the atmospheric composition of extrasolar planets.



A Surprising Planet with Three Suns
Thu, 07 Jul 2016 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

A team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona has directly imaged with the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope the first planet ever found in a wide orbit inside a triple-star system. The orbit of such a planet had been expected to be unstable, probably resulting in the planet being quickly ejected from the system. But somehow this one survives. This observation of the HD 131399 system suggests that such systems may actually be more common than previously thought. The results will be published online in the journal Science on July 7, 2016. The artist's impression shows a view of the triple-star system HD 131399 from the giant planet orbiting the system. The planet is HD 131399Ab and appears at the lower left of the picture.



Hubble Captures the Beating Heart of the Crab Nebula
Thu, 07 Jul 2016 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

At the center of the Crab Nebula, located in the constellation Taurus, lies a celestial "beating heart" that is an example of extreme physics in space. The tiny object blasts out blistering pulses of radiation 30 times a second with unbelievable clock-like precision. Astronomers soon figured out that it was the crushed core of an exploded star, called a neutron star, which wildly spins like a blender on puree. The burned-out stellar core can do this without flying apart because it is 10 billion times stronger than steel. This incredible density means that the mass of 1.4 suns has been crushed into a solid ball of neutrons no bigger than the width of a large city. This Hubble image captures the region around the neutron star. It is unleashing copious amounts of energy that are pushing on the expanding cloud of debris from the supernova explosion like an animal rattling its cage. This includes wave-like tsunamis of charged particles embedded in deadly magnetic fields.



Hubble Captures Vivid Auroras in Jupiter's Atmosphere
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers are using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras stunning light shows in a planet's atmosphere on the poles of the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. The auroras were photographed during a series of Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph far-ultraviolet-light observations taking place as NASA's Juno spacecraft approaches and enters into orbit around Jupiter. The aim of the program is to determine how Jupiter's auroras respond to changing conditions in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted from the sun. Auroras are formed when charged particles in the space surrounding the planet are accelerated to high energies along the planet's magnetic field. When the particles hit the atmosphere near the magnetic poles, they cause it to glow like gases in a fluorescent light fixture. Jupiter's magnetosphere is 20,000 times stronger than Earth's. These observations will reveal how the solar system's largest and most powerful magnetosphere behaves.



Rosetta finale set for 30 September - Read more >
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:00:00 +0200


Rosetta is set to complete its mission in a controlled descent to the surface of its comet on 30 September.




German Astronomical Society (AG) Awards Robert Williams the Karl Schwarzschild Medal
Wed, 29 Jun 2016 11:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The German Astronomical Society (AG) has announced that the most prestigious prize in Germany in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, the Karl Schwarzschild Medal, will be awarded this year to Robert Williams of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. In Robert Williams the AG honors not only an outstanding scientist, but also a man with a dedication to scientific training and astronomical outreach. His name is inseparably linked to the most celebrated observation target of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST): the famous Hubble Deep Field (HDF). The German Astronomical Society will award the Karl Schwarzschild Medal, whose previous recipients include five Nobel laureates, to Robert Williams on September 13, 2016, during the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the AG in Bochum, Germany. The award is named after the German physicist and astronomer Karl Schwarzschild (1863-1916), one of the pioneers of modern astrophysics.



Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in 'Skyrocket' Galaxy
Tue, 28 Jun 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

As we celebrate the Fourth of July by watching dazzling fireworks shows, another kind of fireworks display is taking place in a small, nearby galaxy.



Hubble Confirms New Dark Spot on Neptune
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Pancake-shaped clouds not only appear in the children's book "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," but also 3 billion miles away on the gaseous planet Neptune. When they appeared in July 2015, witnessed by amateur astronomers and the largest telescopes, scientists suspected that these clouds were bright companions to an unseen, dark vortex. The dark vortex is a high-pressure system where the flow of ambient air is perturbed and diverted upward over the vortex. This forms huge, lens-shaped clouds, that resemble clouds that sometimes form over mountains on Earth.



Venus has potential – but not for water - Read more >
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 15:00:00 +0200


ESA’s Venus Express may have helped to explain the puzzling lack of water on Venus. The planet has a surprisingly strong electric field – the first time this has been measured at any planet – that is sufficient to deplete its upper atmosphere of oxygen, one of the components of water.




ExoMars sets sights on the Red Planet - Read more >
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:00:00 +0200


ExoMars captured its first images of Mars this week as part of its preparations for arriving at the Red Planet in October.




Gluttonous Star May Hold Clues to Planet Formation
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

In 1936, astronomers observed signs that the young star FU Orionis had begun gobbling material from its surrounding disk of gas and dust with a sudden voraciousness. During a three-month binge, as matter turned into energy, the star became 100 times brighter, heating the disk around it to temperatures of up to 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The brightening is the most extreme event of its kind that has been confirmed around a star the size of the sun, and may have implications for how stars and planets form. The intense baking of the star's surrounding disk likely changed its chemistry, permanently altering material that could one day turn into planets. FU Orionis is still devouring gas to this day, although not as quickly.



Cloudy Days on Exoplanets May Hide Atmospheric Water
Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:30:00 -0400Hubble Image

Water is a hot topic in the study of exoplanets, including "hot Jupiters," whose masses are similar to that of Jupiter, but lie much closer to their parent star than Jupiter is to the sun. They are estimated to be a scorching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning any water they host would take the form of water vapor.



LISA Pathfinder exceeds expectations - Read more >
Tue, 07 Jun 2016 12:15:00 +0200


ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission has demonstrated the technology needed to build a space-based gravitational wave observatory.




Watch LISA Pathfinder briefing - Read more >
Thu, 02 Jun 2016 13:00:00 +0200

Livestreaming of the media briefing on the first results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission will begin on 7 June at 09:30 GMT (11:30 CEST). LISA Pathfinder is a technology demonstrator for the observation of gravitational waves from space.   




Rosetta’s comet contains ingredients for life - Read more >
Fri, 27 May 2016 20:00:00 +0200


Ingredients regarded as crucial for the origin of life on Earth have been discovered at the comet that ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has been probing for almost two years.




Mars Webcam goes pro - Read more >
Wed, 25 May 2016 15:22:00 +0200


A modest ‘webcam’ on Mars Express has proven useful for outreach, education and citizen-science. Now ESA have decided to adopt it as a professional science instrument.




Call for Media: First results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission - Read more >
Tue, 24 May 2016 16:15:00 +0200


Media representatives are invited to a briefing on the first results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission, a technology demonstrator for the observation of gravitational waves from space.




Are mystery Mars plumes caused by space weather? - Read more >
Mon, 23 May 2016 15:00:00 +0200


Mysterious high-rise clouds seen appearing suddenly in the martian atmosphere on a handful of occasions may be linked to space weather, say Mars Express scientists.




Second ExoMars mission moves to next launch opportunity in 2020 - Read more >
Mon, 02 May 2016 12:00:00 +0200


On 14 March 2016, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the jointly-developed ExoMars 2016 interplanetary mission, comprising the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, on a Proton rocket from Baikonur, thus marking the first phase in the European-Russian ExoMars cooperation programme.




Powerful winds spotted from mysterious X-ray binaries - Read more >
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:00:00 +0200


ESA’s XMM-Newton has discovered gas streaming away at a quarter of the speed of light from very bright X-ray binaries in two nearby galaxies.




Profile of a methane sea on Titan - Read more >
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0200


Saturn’s largest moon is covered in seas and lakes of liquid hydrocarbons – and one sea has now been found to be filled with pure methane, with a seabed covered by a sludge of organic-rich material, and possibly surrounded by wetlands.




Space Microscope to test universality of freefall - Read more >
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:00:00 +0200


France’s Microscope satellite, carrying a set of ESA high-tech thrusters, lifted off last night from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, taking advantage of the same Soyuz launch that took the EU’s Sentinel-1B into orbit.




Herschel’s Galactic panorama - Read more >
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:00:00 +0200


This new video from ESA’s Herschel space observatory reveals in stunning detail the intricate pattern of gas, dust and star-forming hubs along the plane of our Galaxy, the Milky Way.




Calling all artists: apply now for art and science residency - Read more >
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0200


ESA, in partnership with Ars Electronica, is announcing art&science@ESA, a new art residency to explore the fertile ground between art and space science.




Interstellar dust intercepted at Saturn - Read more >
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 20:00:00 +0200


The international Cassini spacecraft has detected the faint but distinct signature of dust coming from outside our Solar System.




First light for ExoMars - Read more >
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 09:55:00 +0200


The ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars spacecraft are in excellent health following launch last month, with the orbiter sending back its first test image of a starry view taken en route to the Red Planet.



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!


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