Nasa Image of the Day
SMAP Takes to the Skies

SMAP Takes to the Skies

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory onboard is seen in this long exposure photograph as it launches from Space Launch Complex 2, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. SMAP is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. SMAP will provide high resolution global measurements of soil moisture from space. The data will be used to enhance scientists' understanding of the processes that link Earth's water, energy, and carbon cycles. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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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!

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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!


Astronomy News
Planck: gravitational waves remain elusive - Read more >
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0100


Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA’s Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves. 




The search continues - Read more >
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0100


Planck and Bicep2 join forces but gravitational waves remain elusive



Magnificent merger - Read more >
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:45:00 +0100


Tell-tale signs of a dramatic encounter between galaxies are evident in this striking view captured by the Hubble Space Telescope



Hubble Spies a Loopy Galaxy
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 10:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

At first glance, galaxy NGC 7714 resembles a partial golden ring from an amusement park ride. This unusual structure is a river of Sun-like stars that has been pulled deep into space by the gravitational tug of a bypassing galaxy (not seen in this Hubble Space Telescope photo). Though the universe is full of such colliding galaxies that are distorted in a gravitational taffy-pull, NGC 7714 is particularly striking for the seeming fluidity of the stars along a vast arc. The near-collision between the galaxies happened at least 100 million years ago.



Rosetta watches comet shed its dusty coat - Read more >
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:00:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta mission is providing unique insight into the life cycle of a comet’s dusty surface, watching 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it sheds the dusty coat it has accumulated over the past four years.




Ancient and cratered - Read more >
Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:59:00 +0100


Space Science Image of the Week: NASA’s Galileo spacecraft shares a view of Jupiter’s moon Callisto, one of the worlds that will be explored by ESA’s Juice mission



Getting to know Rosetta’s comet - Read more >
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:00:00 +0100


Rosetta is revealing its host comet as having a remarkable array of surface features and with many processes contributing to its activity, painting a complex picture of its evolution.




Mysteries in Nili Fossae - Read more >
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:26:00 +0100


These new images from the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express show Nili Fossae, one of the most enticing regions on Mars. This ‘graben system’ lies northeast of the volcanic region of Syrtis Major on the northwestern edge of the large Isidis impact basin – and intriguing hints of methane have been seen here.




Beagle-2 lander found on Mars - Read more >
Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0100


The UK-led Beagle-2 Mars lander, which hitched a ride on ESA’s Mars Express mission and was lost on Mars since 2003, has been found in images taken by a NASA orbiter at the Red Planet.




Hubble Goes High Def to Revisit the Iconic 'Pillars of Creation'
Mon, 05 Jan 2015 17:15:00 -0500Hubble Image

Although NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken many breathtaking images of the universe, one snapshot stands out from the rest: the iconic view of the so-called "Pillars of Creation." The jaw-dropping photo, taken in 1995, revealed never-before-seen details of three giant columns of cold gas bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula, or M16.



Hubble Discovers that Milky Way Core Drives Wind at 2 Million Miles Per Hour
Mon, 05 Jan 2015 17:15:00 -0500Hubble Image

At a time when our earliest human ancestors had recently mastered walking upright, the heart of our Milky Way galaxy underwent a titanic eruption, driving gases and other material outward at 2 million miles per hour. Now, at least 2 million years later, astronomers are witnessing the aftermath of the explosion: billowing clouds of gas towering about 30,000 light-years above and below the plane of our galaxy.



Hubble's High-Definition Panoramic View of the Andromeda Galaxy
Mon, 05 Jan 2015 17:15:00 -0500Hubble Image

The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic neighbor. Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, the Hubble telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long section of the galaxy's pancake-shaped disk. It's like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And, there are lots of stars in this sweeping view over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk. This ambitious photographic cartography of the Andromeda galaxy represents a new benchmark for precision studies of large spiral galaxies which dominate the universe's population of over 100 billion galaxies. Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars over a major portion of an external spiral galaxy. Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy.



Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed - Read more >
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:00:00 +0100


Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood. Thanks to ESA’s Cluster and NASA’s Image satellites working together, a particular type of very high-latitude aurora has now been explained.




Flying over Becquerel - Read more >
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:00 +0100


This latest release from the camera on ESA’s Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.




Institute Astronomers Share Prize for Discovery of Accelerating Universe
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

It's the stuff of a science fiction movie: a mysterious form of energy that is pulling the universe apart at an ever-faster rate. Astronomers around the world are befuddled and are marshaling the world's most powerful telescopes in their search for clues to understanding what this "dark force" could be. Who knows how the story will end?



Venus Express goes gently into the night - Read more >
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:30:00 +0100


ESA’s Venus Express has ended its eight-year mission after far exceeding its planned life. The spacecraft exhausted its propellant during a series of thruster burns to raise its orbit following the low-altitude aerobraking earlier this year. 




Rosetta fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans - Read more >
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 20:00:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet’s oceans.




Frost-covered chaos on Mars - Read more >
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:00:00 +0100


Thanks to a break in the dusty ‘weather’ over the giant Hellas Basin at the beginning of this year, ESA’s Mars Express was able to look down into the seven kilometre-deep basin and onto the frosty surface of Hellas Chaos.




STScI Astronomer Margaret Meixner Elected AAAS Fellow
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Council has elected Margaret Meixner of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and 401 other AAAS members as Fellows of AAAS. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.



AURA Announces Selection of New AURA President
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:15:00 -0500Hubble Image

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) announced today that Dr. Matt Mountain, Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, will become AURA President beginning March 1, 2015. Mountain will succeed William S. Smith who served as President since 2000. In announcing the selection, the Chair of the AURA Board of Directors, Dr. Richard Green, said, "AURA is heading into an exciting period, and Matt has enormous experience in large program and large facility management in ground- and space-based organizations. This will be a great asset for AURA as we complete construction on the Daniel K. Inoue Solar Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, and the James Webb Space Telescope."



Pioneering Philae completes main mission before hibernation - Read more >
Sat, 15 Nov 2014 10:30:00 +0100


Rosetta’s lander has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.




Dr. Roeland van der Marel Appointed as STScI Lead on Proposed "Wide View" Space Telescope
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 10:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, has appointed Dr. Roeland van der Marel to lead its work on a proposed NASA space telescope that will provide images as sharp as the Hubble Space Telescope, but over a hundred times larger area. The space observatory, called the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope-Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA), is being studied for launch in the mid-2020s, pending program approval by NASA. The telescope will be used to probe the distribution of dark matter and the characteristics of dark energy, measure the abundance and characteristics of planets orbiting other stars, and will provide observations and surveys to study many other astrophysical subjects. STScI is presently the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and the science and mission operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018. Van der Marel joined the STScI staff in 1997. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is an expert on black holes and the structure of galaxies.



Three touchdowns for Rosetta’s lander - Read more >
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:40:00 +0100


After achieving touchdown on a comet for the first time in history, scientists and engineers are busy analysing this new world and the nature of the landing. 




The Party's Over for These Youthful Compact Galaxies
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Hubble has uncovered young, massive, compact galaxies whose raucous star-making parties are ending early. The firestorm of star birth has blasted out most of the remaining gaseous fuel needed to make future generations of stars. Now the party's over for these gas-starved galaxies, and they are on track to possibly becoming so-called "red and dead galaxies," composed only of aging stars. An analysis of 12 merging galaxies is suggesting that energy from the star-birthing frenzy created powerful winds that are blowing out the gas, squelching future generations of stars. This activity occurred when the universe was half its current age of 13.7 billion years.



Touchdown! Rosetta’s Philae probe lands on comet - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:30:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.




Rosetta and Philae separation confirmed - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 10:02:00 +0100


The Philae lander has separated from the Rosetta orbiter, and is now on its way to becoming the first spacecraft to touch down on a comet.




Rosetta and Philae Go for separation - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 08:00:00 +0100


Following a night of critical Go/NoGo decisions, Rosetta and Philae are cleared for separation, despite a problem onboard the lander. The mission is set to become the first in history to touch down on a comet.




Hubble Surveys Debris-Strewn Exoplanetary Construction Yards
Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Over the past few years, astronomers have found an incredible diversity in the architecture of exoplanetary systems, as well as the planets themselves. A survey using the sharp view of the Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a similar diversity in the debris systems that coincide with the formation of exoplanets. These circumstellar dusty disks are likely generated by collisions between objects left over from planet formation around stars. The survey's results suggest that there is some sort of interdependence between a planet and the accompanying debris system.


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