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Observatory

The European Space Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has spotted a massive yellow star with a diameter of more than 1,300 times the size of the Sun. The star is also a part of a binary system, with a companion star orbiting so close that it is actually in physical contact with the giant. Read More
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
Online observatory Slooh has streamed live pictures of NASA’s Juno space probe flyby. The feed from the robotic half-meter telescope in the Canary islands gave visitors a ringside seat as the probe passed within 347 mi (559 km) of Earth in a slingshot maneuver designed to take it all the way to Jupiter. Read More
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
Korean architectural studio GDS Architects has received the green light for its award winning 450 meter high Tower Infinity design. To be built near the Incheon International Airport just outside of Seoul, Tower Infinity will become the "world's first invisible tower" and third highest observation deck. Read More
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
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
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
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
European astronomers working from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile have discovered a planet slightly more massive than Earth, orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri triple star system – the nearest stellar system to our planet. Alpha Centauri Bb (as the new exoplanet is called, the star being Alpha Centauri B) is the first Earth-sized body found orbiting a Sun-like star and was discovered by measuring the tiny wobbles of Alpha Centauri B as it moves in response to the gravitational pull of the orbiting planet. It is orbiting Alpha Centauri B every three days and six hours at an orbital radius of six million kilometers (3.7 million miles). The proximity to the star leads to a surface temperature of some 1,500º K (2,250º F/1,232º C) – hot enough to melt granite. Read More
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