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Astronomy

Gizmag's top five astronomical targets for small telescopes (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you received a telescope for Christmas, or bought one for your kids, your adventures in amateur astronomy are just beginning. Astronomy is the art and science of actually looking at the heavens and even a small telescope will let you find a host of celestial wonders. So where do you begin? Here are our suggestions for five of the most rewarding and spectacular objects with which to start your adventure in amateur astronomy ... plus some important tips on using a telescope.  Read More

Artist's conception of a protostar pulling interstellar gas onto a rotating protoplanetary...

The Sun is a bit over 4.5 billion years old, leading many to think of all stars as billions of years in age. Astronomers have now demonstrated that isn't always the case. Using high-resolution millimeter and submillimeter imaging telescope arrays, John Tobin of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and his collaborators have now discovered an infant star whose age is measured in thousands, rather than billions, of years. While at present the protostar has only about a fifth of the Sun's mass, projections point to the eventual formation of a stellar system broadly similar to our Sun and its planets.  Read More

The newly inaugurated Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope will act as an early warni...

After a long eight-year wait, the building of Australia's Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope has finally reached completion. The radio telescope's first major task will be to investigate the Sun to provide earlier warnings of solar storms that, if left unchecked, could fry satellites and power grids across the globe. The telescope will also be sued to scout the sky for the earliest, most distant galaxies ever detected in an attempt to resolve unanswered questions on the origins of the Universe.  Read More

The galaxy NGC 1277 as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope

Astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin have measured the second-largest black hole ever discovered. It takes up some 14 percent of the galaxy's mass and may lead to an overhaul of theories regarding the formation and evolution of black holes.  Read More

Artist's impression of Kepler-47, the first confirmed binary system with multiple planets ...

It's been more than three and a half years since the Kepler Space Telescope began its mission as humanity's watcher for Earth-like planets outside of the Solar System. In that time, Kepler has done exactly what was asked of it: provide the data to help identify more than 2,300 exoplanet candidates in other star systems. And so NASA has announced the "successful completion" of Kepler's prime mission. There's one nagging detail, though: we are yet to find a truly Earth-like planet. It's time to alter the parameters of the search.  Read More

Artist's concept of the HD 40307 planetary system featuring a close-up view of HD 40307g, ...

Due to the masterful efforts of an international team of astronomers, a new super-Earth planet has been discovered within the habitable zone of a star just 42 light years from Earth. Part of a six planetary system, the super-Earth known as HD 40307g has several promising attributes in terms of its ability to support life and because of its relative proximity, it may soon be possible to observe the planet optically.  Read More

The huge 9-gigapixel image contains some 84 million stars

The European Space Observatory (ESO) has released an impressive 9-gigapixel image of the central part of the Milky Way Galaxy. The historic image contains some 84 million stars and represents the largest ever catalog of the center of our home galaxy.  Read More

Close up view of the Link outcropping (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s unmanned Curiosity rover has found the most direct evidence to date that ancient Mars once had running water. The robot explorer discovered rock outcroppings thrusting from the Martian surface that are the remains of an ancient stream bed consisting of water-worn gravel that was washed down from the rim of Gale Crater where the nuclear-powered rover landed. This means that Mars was once a much wetter place and increases the chances that it once harbored life ... or still does.  Read More

Light from the primordial galaxy, dubbed 'MACS 1149-JD', traveled approximately 13.2 billi...

A team of Johns Hopkins University astronomers have spotted what may well be the most distant galaxy ever detected. Dubbed "MACS 1149-JD", the discovery provides insight into the most remote epoch of cosmic history, as light captured from the faint galaxy shone forth when the universe was just 500 million years old – or 3.6 percent of its present age.  Read More

Zoomed-in image of barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365, around 60 million light years from Earth...

The Dark Energy Camera (DEC) has captured an initial batch of images as part of an ongoing quest to afford scientists with a better understanding of dark energy. The images were taken by the 570-megapixel behemoth from its location within the Chilean Andes on September 12 while undergoing a series of tests. Scientists hope it may soon help answer one of the biggest mysteries in physics: why the expansion of the universe is speeding up.  Read More

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