Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Astronomy

Composite of 25 separate images of the Sun captured buy NASA's SDO (Photo: NASA/SDO/AIA/S....

Three years ago the very first images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) were beamed back to earth. Since then, NASA’s SDO has effectively had continuous coverage of the Sun’s rise towards solar maximum, the period of the most intense solar activity in the 11 year solar cycle. NASA has now provided a fascinating snapshot of this ongoing research in the form of a time-lapse video that squeezes three years of solar activity into three minutes of footage.  Read More

Hubble's stunning near-infrared image of the Horsehead Nebula (Image: NASA)

New near-infrared and far-infrared views captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Herschel space telescope have provided a spectacular new look at the famous Horsehead Nebula.  Read More

The galaxies M81 and M82 as photographed in a 12-inch telescope (Photo: NASA/Robert Gendle...

The spring has come, and the onset of mild weather in most of the northern hemisphere brings forth a hunger for new celestial objects to observe. Following on from our top picks for winter stargazing, here's our selection of the best targets for spring viewing.  Read More

SOFIA's FORCAST telescope was used to collect infrared readings from protostar G35.20-0.74

Observations made by NASA's airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) have led to a development in our understanding of the formation of massive stars. By studying the star G35, the team found that the formation process was more akin to that of smaller stars than was previously thought.  Read More

The Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) (Image: Courtesy TMT Observatory Corporation)

The world’s largest optical telescope got the go ahead last Friday when the Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) granted a building and operating permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to be sited on a plateau of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii. The next-generation telescope, which uses a 30-meter (98 ft) segmented mirror promises to capture images from the near-ultraviolet to the mid-infrared wavelengths with unprecedented clarity.  Read More

Project 1640 image of the four exoplanets orbiting HR 8977. The image has been enhanced fo...

While the number of exoplanets so far identified is steadily marching towards the 1000 mark, fewer than twenty have been discovered in the course of direct observation by astronomical telescopes. Four of them (HR 8977 b,c,d,and e) circle an unprepossessing A5 star called HR 8977, which lies about 130 light-years distant from Earth. Thanks to the little-known astrophysics research arm of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), we now have the ability to examine the makeup of their atmospheres by taking simultaneous spectrographs of all four planets.  Read More

An aerial view of the Chajnantor Plateau, home to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimet...

Even before the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) was inaugurated this week, it was already rewriting history with its observations showing that a stellar baby boom took place much earlier than previously thought. But the pre-inauguration announcement isn’t a reflection that the ALMA team didn’t get to enjoy the official ceremony – like the first images released in 2011, the observations were taken while ALMA was still under construction.  Read More

Artist's conception of WISE J1049-5319, with the brightly shining Sun 6.5 light years away...

In a day when we have examined astronomical objects shining forth from a time shortly after the Big Bang, one would think astronomers have a pretty good handle on what is in the immediate vicinity of the Solar System. That's why the recent report of a binary star lying only 6.5 light-years away came as rather a surprise to the astronomical community. The pair, called WISE J1049-5319 A and B, are brown dwarf stars and only two star systems – the triple star Alpha Centauri, and Barnard's Star – lie closer to our Sun.  Read More

A look at some of the ESO's best images of 2013

Despite being only a couple of months into the year, the various telescopes of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have already provided some truly breathtaking sights. From dusty stellar nurseries to giant star clusters, here's a look at the best ESO images of 2013 so far.  Read More

An artist's impression of the gas giant planet thought to be forming in the orbit of young...

The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has been used to observe what is thought to be the formation of a gas giant similar to Jupiter. The candidate planet resides within a disk of dust and gas surrounding the young star HD 100546, located 335 light-years away.  Read More

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