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Observatory

Space

Scientists confirm the discovery of the first ringed minor planet

With the use of seven telescopes spread across South America, observers have confirmed the unlikely discovery of a double ring surrounding the minor planet Chariklo, which holds orbit between Saturn and Uranus. Previously rings have only been found around giant planets, the most dramatic of which, Saturn, shines easily visible to the naked eye in the night sky.Read More

Space

Oldest known star in the Universe discovered

A team of astronomers at The Australian National University (ANU) working on a five-year project to produce the first comprehensive digital survey of the southern sky has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe. Just a 6,000 light year astronomical hop, skip and jump from Earth, the ancient star formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.Read More

Space

Final antenna arrives at ALMA Observatory

The last 12 meter (40 ft) antenna has arrived at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), pushing the project closer to its full operational potential. The final antenna was supplied by the European side of the venture, and completes the 66 dish array stretching across the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile's Atacama Desert. The telescope, which was inaugurated in March 2013, has already made a number of significant discoveries despite its incomplete nature.Read More

Science

Big Bang wins in new study of cosmic isotopes

An international team of scientists using one of the pair of 10-meter telescopes at the W.M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii has now shown that the early moments of our Universe closely followed the theoretical model for the genesis of the elements. Improved observational and modeling methods show that the elemental composition of the post-Big Bang universe agrees with the predictions of that model, eliminating what was thought to be a substantial discrepancy between theory and observation.Read More

Space

NASA squeezes three years of solar activity into a three minute time-lapse video

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

Space

Herschel space observatory detects some of the youngest stars ever seen

Observations made by the Herschel space observatory have revealed 15 protostars in the constellation Orion, the biggest star formation area near our own solar system. The observatory was the first telescope to reveal the grouping, with previous studies of the area missing the stars which are thought to be some of the youngest and coldest in the constellation. The discovery is a significant step in furthering our understanding of how stars form.Read More

Space

ALMA inaugurated after rewriting history of stellar "baby boom"

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

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