Nasa Image of the Day
Feb. 9, 1995, Bernard Harris and Michael Foale Ready For a Spacewalk

Feb. 9, 1995, Bernard Harris and Michael Foale Ready For a Spacewalk

STS-63 astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr., payload commander (right), and C. Michael Foale, mission specialist (left), are ready to exit space shuttle Discovery's airlock for a spacewalk on Feb. 9, 1995. On this extravehicular activity (EVA), which lasted 4 hours and 38 minutes, Bernard Harris became the first African-American to walk in space.

Book Store
New Atlas of the MoonNew Atlas of the Moon

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!

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 Astronomy News
Inside Rosetta’s comet - Read more >
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 10:00:00 +0100


There are no large caverns inside Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA’s Rosetta mission has made measurements that clearly demonstrate this, solving a long-standing mystery.




Monstrous Cloud Boomerangs Back to Our Galaxy
Thu, 28 Jan 2016 15:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

The old adage "what goes up must come down" even applies to an immense cloud of hydrogen gas outside our Milky Way galaxy. First discovered in the 1960s, the comet-shaped cloud is 11,000 light-years long and 2,500 light-years across. If the cloud could be seen in visible light, it would span the sky with an apparent diameter 30 times greater than the size of the full moon. The cloud, which is invisible at optical wavelengths, is plummeting toward our galaxy at nearly 700,000 miles per hour. Hubble was used to measure the chemical composition of the cloud as a means of assessing where it came from. Hubble astronomers were surprised to find that the cloud, which is largely composed of hydrogen, also has heavier elements that could only come from stars. This means the cloud came from the star-rich disk of our galaxy. The Smith Cloud is following a ballistic trajectory and will plow back into the Milky Way's disk in about 30 million years. When it does, astronomers believe it will ignite a spectacular burst of star formation, perhaps providing enough gas to make 2 million suns.

Please join the scientists in a live discussion about the origin and conclusions of this research during the Hubble Hangout at 3pm EST today (Thurs., Jan. 28, 2016): http://hbbl.us/Baq .



Martian labyrinth - Read more >
Thu, 28 Jan 2016 11:00:00 +0100


This block of martian terrain, etched with an intricate pattern of landslides and wind-blown dunes, is a small segment of a vast labyrinth of valleys, fractures and plateaus.




Integral X-rays Earth’s aurora - Read more >
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 10:00:00 +0100


Normally busy with observing high-energy black holes, supernovas and neutron stars, ESA’s Integral space observatory recently had the chance to look back at our own planet’s aurora.




Hubble Unveils a Tapestry of Dazzling Diamond-Like Stars
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Some of the Milky Way's "celebrity stars" opulent, attention-getting, and short-lived can be found in this Hubble Space Telescope image of the glittering star cluster called Trumpler 14. It is located 8,000 light-years away in the Carina Nebula, a huge star-formation region in our galaxy. Because the cluster is only 500,000 years old, it has one of the highest concentrations of massive, luminous stars in the entire Milky Way. Like some Hollywood celebrities, the stars will go out in a flash. Within just a few million years they will burn out and explode as supernovae. But the story's not over. The blast waves will trigger the formation of a new generation of stars inside the nebula in an ongoing cycle of star birth and death.



A Milky Way twin swept by an ultra-fast X-ray wind - Read more >
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 11:00:00 +0100


ESA’s XMM-Newton has found a wind of high-speed gas streaming from the centre of a bright spiral galaxy like our own that may be reducing its ability to produce new stars.




Exposed ice on Rosetta’s comet confirmed as water - Read more >
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 19:00:00 +0100


Observations made shortly after Rosetta’s arrival at its target comet in 2014 have provided definitive confirmation of the presence of water ice.




NASA's Great Observatories Weigh Massive Young Galaxy Cluster
Thu, 07 Jan 2016 14:15:00 -0500Hubble Image

Astronomers have made the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster using three of NASA's Great Observatories. This multiwavelength image shows this galaxy cluster, called IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426 for short), in X-rays recorded by the Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue, visible light observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in green, and infrared light from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red.



NASA's Spitzer, Hubble Find 'Twins' of Superstar Eta Carinae in Other Galaxies
Wed, 06 Jan 2016 10:15:00 -0500Hubble Image

Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system located within 10,000 light-years of Earth, is best known for an enormous eruption seen in the mid-19th century that hurled an amount of material at least 10 times the sun's mass into space. Still shrouded by this expanding veil of gas and dust, Eta Carinae is the only object of its kind known in our galaxy. Now a study using archival data from NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes has found five similar objects in other galaxies for the first time.



Hubble Sees the Force Awakening in a Newborn Star
Thu, 17 Dec 2015 10:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Just about anything is possible in our remarkable universe, and it often competes with the imaginings of science fiction writers and filmmakers. Hubble's latest contribution is a striking photo of what looks like a double-bladed lightsaber straight out of the Star Wars films. In the center of the image, partially obscured by a dark, Jedi-like cloak of dust, a newborn star shoots twin jets out into space as a sort of birth announcement to the universe. Gas from a surrounding disk rains down onto the dust-obscured protostar and engorges it. The material is superheated and shoots outward from the star in opposite directions along an uncluttered escape route the star's rotation axis. Much more energetic than a science fiction lightsaber, these narrow energetic beams are blasting across space at over 100,000 miles per hour. This celestial lightsaber does not lie in a galaxy far, far away but rather inside our home galaxy, the Milky Way.



ESA confirms James Webb telescope Ariane launch - Read more >
Thu, 17 Dec 2015 11:50:00 +0100


The next great space observatory took a step closer this week when ESA signed the contract with Arianespace that will see the James Webb Space Telescope launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou in October 2018.




Euclid dark Universe mission ready to take shape - Read more >
Thu, 17 Dec 2015 11:00:00 +0100


Euclid, ESA’s dark Universe mission, has passed its preliminary design review, providing confidence that the spacecraft and its payload can be built. It’s time to start ‘cutting metal’.




Caught in the Act: Hubble Captures First-Ever Predicted Exploding Star
Wed, 16 Dec 2015 10:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Hubble has captured an image of the first-ever predicted supernova explosion. The reappearance of the supernova dubbed "Refsdal" was calculated by different mass models of a galaxy cluster whose immense gravity is warping the supernova's light as the light travels toward Earth. The supernova was previously seen in November 2014 behind the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223, part of Hubble's Frontier Fields program. Astronomers spotted four separate images of the supernova in a rare arrangement known as an Einstein Cross. This pattern was seen around a galaxy within MACS J1149.5+2223. While the light from the cluster has taken about five billion years to reach us, the supernova itself exploded much earlier, nearly 10 billion years ago. The detection of Refsdal's reappearance served as a unique opportunity for astronomers to test their models of how mass especially that of mysterious dark matter is distributed within this galaxy cluster.



NASA Space Telescopes Solve Missing Water Mystery in Comprehensive Survey of Exoplanets
Mon, 14 Dec 2015 11:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

A survey of Jupiter-sized exoplanets conducted with the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes has solved a long-standing mystery why some of these worlds seem to have less water than expected. Astronomers have found that planets called hot Jupiters (which orbit very close to their stars) that are apparently cloud-free show strong signs of water. However, atmospheres of other planets with faint water signals also contained clouds and haze both of which are known to hide water from view. The findings show that planetary atmospheres are much more diverse than expected. Also, the results offer insights into the wide range of planetary atmospheres in our galaxy and how planets are assembled.



Ride along with Rosetta through the eyes of OSIRIS - Read more >
Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:00:00 +0100


Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera team has launched a new website to showcase their recent images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.




Hubble Helps Solve Mystery of 'Born Again' Stars
Mon, 07 Dec 2015 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

For the past 60 years, astronomers have been puzzled by an unusual type of star that looks hotter and bluer than it should for its age. It has been dubbed a "blue straggler" because it seems to lag behind the evolution of neighboring stars. Blue stragglers dwell inside ancient star clusters that should have stopped making youthful and short-lived blue stars billions of years ago. The most popular explanation among several competing theories is that an aging star spills material onto a smaller companion star. The small star bulks up on mass to become hotter and bluer, while the aging companion burns out and collapses to a white dwarf a burned out cinder. To test this theory, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope conducted a survey of the open star cluster NGC 188 that has 21 blue stragglers. Of those they found that seven had white dwarf companions, by identifying their ultraviolet glow that is detectable by Hubble. This confirms the binary star theory for their origin.



NASA Space Telescopes See Magnified Image of the Faintest Galaxy from the Early Universe
Thu, 03 Dec 2015 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Hunting for faraway galaxies that existed long, long ago is like a fishing trip for astronomers. So far only the "big fish" have been found, bright galaxies that existed just a few hundred million years after the big bang. Now, using the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers have caught a "smaller fish," a very compact and faint early galaxy that was forming 400 million years after the big bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago.



LISA Pathfinder en route to gravitational wave demonstration - Read more >
Thu, 03 Dec 2015 07:20:00 +0100


ESA’s LISA Pathfinder lifted off earlier today on a Vega rocket from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on its way to demonstrate technology for observing gravitational waves from space.




Cosmic filaments exposed near huge cluster - Read more >
Wed, 02 Dec 2015 19:00:00 +0100


ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has revealed three massive filaments of hot gas flowing towards a cluster of galaxies, uncovering a portion of the cosmic skeleton that pervades the entire Universe.




SOHO celebrates 20 years of discoveries - Read more >
Wed, 02 Dec 2015 11:00:00 +0100


Originally planned for a two-year mission, the ESA–NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, is today celebrating two decades of scientific discovery.




European payload selected for ExoMars 2018 surface platform - Read more >
Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:00:00 +0100


Two European instruments and four European contributions on two Russian instruments have been selected for the Russian-led science platform that will land on Mars as part of the ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars 2018 mission.




ExoMars prepares to leave Europe for launch site - Read more >
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:00:00 +0100


The two ExoMars spacecraft of the 2016 mission are being prepared for shipping to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of their launch in March.




Call for media: LISA Pathfinder launch - Read more >
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 09:00:00 +0100


LISA Pathfinder, ESA’s technology demonstrator for detecting gravitational-waves, is set for launch on 2 December at 04:15 GMT (05:15 CET) on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Media representatives can follow the launch online and attend the event in ESA’s operations centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany.




A witness to a wet early Mars - Read more >
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 14:00:00 +0100


Vast volumes of water once flooded through this deep chasm on Mars that connects the ‘Grand Canyon’ of the Solar System – Valles Marineris – to the planet’s northern lowlands.




Call for Media: ExoMars 2016 leaving Europe for launch site - Read more >
Mon, 16 Nov 2015 10:00:00 +0100


The ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars 2016 spacecraft are ready to depart Europe for the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, to prepare for their launch in March.
 
Members of the media are invited to join ExoMars scientists and engineers from ESA, Roscosmos and Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France on 25 November for a final glimpse of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli, the entry, descent and landing demonstrator, before they leave.
 
The spacecraft will be launched on a Russian Proton rocket during the 14–25 March 2016 window, arriving at Mars in October 2016.
 
TGO will take a detailed inventory of Mars’ atmospheric gases. Of special interest is the origin of methane – its presence implies an active, current source, and TGO will help to determine if it stems from a geological or biological source.
 
Schiaparelli will demonstrate a range of technologies to enable a controlled landing on Mars in preparation for future missions.
 
TGO will also serve as a data relay for the second ExoMars mission, comprising a rover and a surface science platform, which is planned for launch in 2018.




Rosetta and Philae: one year since landing on a comet - Read more >
Thu, 12 Nov 2015 10:00:00 +0100


One year since Philae made its historic landing on a comet, mission teams remain hopeful for renewed contact with the lander, while also looking ahead to next year’s grand finale: making a controlled impact of the Rosetta orbiter on the comet.




Hubble Uncovers Fading Cinders of Some of Our Galaxy's Earliest Homesteaders
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

About 13 billion years ago, long before our sun formed, the construction of our Milky Way galaxy was just beginning. Young, mostly sun-like stars in the core, or central bulge, provided the building blocks for the galaxy's foundation. Many of these building-block stars have long since burned out, and are now just dying embers. But contained within these dead stars, called white dwarfs, is the early history of our galaxy, providing clues on how it came to be.



Shining a light on the aurora of Mars - Read more >
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 14:00:00 +0100


ESA’s Mars Express has shed new light on the Red Planet’s rare ultraviolet aurora by combining for the first time remote observations with in situ measurements of electrons hitting the atmosphere.



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