Galactic Growth is slow and steady

Galactic Growth

The Herschel Infrared Space Observatory discovered that galaxies do not always need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns a long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve.

By |September 22, 2011|Astronomy|

Evidence of Dark Matter found at last

Dark Matter

Scientists working on the Cryogenic Rare Event Search with Superconducting Thermometers (CRESST) experiment may have recorded evidence of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) – a crucial step towards solving the mystery of ‘dark matter’, a material thought to make up the huge majority of the matter in the universe, but which is extremely difficult to detect.

By |September 21, 2011|Astronomy|

Sharp View of the Sun


This is one of the sharper views of the Sun ever taken. This stunning image shows remarkable details of a dark sunspot across the image bottom and numerous boiling granules which appear like kernels of corn across the top.

By |September 19, 2011|Astronomy|

Most Mysterious Objects in the Universe

all-sky image

Every three hours, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope scans the entire sky and deepens its portrait of the high-energy universe. Every year, the satellite’s scientists reanalyze all of the data it has collected, exploiting updated analysis methods to tease out new sources. These relatively steady sources are in addition to the numerous transient events Fermi detects, such as gamma-ray bursts in the distant universe and flares from the sun.

By |September 18, 2011|Astronomy|

Harvest Moon


A Full Moon rising can be a dramatic celestial sight, and Full Moons can have many names. For example, Sept. 12 full Moon was the one nearest this year’s autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere, traditionally called the Harvest Moon.  Photographer Stefano De Rosa

By |September 18, 2011|Astronomy|

A Planet Orbiting two Stars (video)

Planet with two Suns

This artist’s concept illustrates Kepler-16b, the first planet known to definitively orbit two stars — what’s called a circumbinary planet. The planet, which can be seen in the foreground, was discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission.

By |September 16, 2011|Astronomy|

Best Astronomy Pictures of the Year 2011

Hunting Moon

Is now the third year of the Royal Observatory’s competition to uncover the best photographs of stars, planets, galaxies and more. They received nearly 800 entries from astronomers around the world – that’s nearly double the number they received last year!   Picture above: Hunting Moon by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann (France) -People and Space: runner-up

By |September 16, 2011|Astronomy|

Extreme Weather on an Alien World

Alien World

A University of Toronto-led team of astronomers has observed extreme brightness changes on a nearby brown dwarf that may indicate a storm grander than any seen yet on a planet. Because old brown dwarfs and giant planets have similar atmospheres, this finding could shed new light on weather phenomena of extra-solar planets.

By |September 15, 2011|Astronomy|

50 New Exoplanets Discovered by HARPS


Astronomers using ESO’s world-leading exoplanet hunter HARPS have today announced a rich haul of more than 50 new exoplanets, including 16 super-Earths, one of which orbits at the edge of the habitable zone of its star. By studying the properties of all the HARPS planets found so far, the team has found that about 40% of stars similar to the Sun have at least one planet lighter than Saturn.

By |September 14, 2011|Astronomy|

The Unseen Universe

Unseen Universe

The universe around us is not what it appears to be. The stars make up less than 1 percent of its mass; all the loose gas and other forms of ordinary matter, less than 5 percent. The motions of this visible material reveal that it is mere flotsam on an unseen sea of unknown material.

By |September 13, 2011|Astronomy|
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