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Hubble has been a boon to deep space exploration, gifting us iconic pictures of the skies and revealing new insights into the history of the early universe. For the next big step in space astronomy, NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency are raising the stakes even higher with one of their most ambitious projects in decades: building the largest space telescope ever ... the James Webb Space Telescope. Read More
The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX) has been used to solve a 340 year-old astronomical mystery. The findings reveal that an object that appeared in the sky in the 17th century was not a nova as astronomers at the time believed, but actually a rare stellar collision. Read More
A team of astronomers combining radio data from the Green Bank Telescope, West Virginia, and data from the radar transmitter at the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, have compiled a stunning new view of Venus. Often described as Earth's twin due to its similar proportions, capturing high quality images of the inhospitable planet has traditionally been a challenging prospect thanks to extreme atmospheric conditions. However, by combining observations from the instruments to create a more complete picture of Venus, astronomers can begin to observe how this enigmatic celestial object evolves over time. Read More
Astronomers have discovered a distant, massive and ancient black hole that calls into question current models for the early expansion of the universe. A team of scientists from China and Arizona spotted the brightest quasar from the early universe, named SDSS J0100+2802, centered on a black hole 12.8 billion light years away and as bright as 420 trillion suns. Read More
ESO's Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument, which is mounted on the Very Large Telescope based in the Paranal Observatory, Chile, has been focusing in on a tiny patch in the night sky previously featured in Hubble's Deep Field South image (HDF-S). After only 27 hours of continuous observation, the cutting edge instrument has captured detailed measurements of more galaxies with more detail than ever before. Read More
Astronomers are scratching their heads over mysterious plumes that have been sighted in the atmosphere of Mars. First seen by amateur astronomers using Earthbound telescopes, the plumes are at an altitude much higher than that of any clouds yet seen on the Red Planet, and may not even be clouds. Read More
The US$344 million Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is designed to image the surface of the Sun in unprecedented detail and help scientists address fundamental questions about solar physics when it opens sometime in 2019. The DKIST has just entered the next phase in its construction, with a consortium of eight UK universities and businesses tasked with producing the telescope's all-important cameras. Once complete, it will be the biggest solar telescope in the world – dwarfing current titleholder Big Bear Solar Observatory in California and edging out the 4.07 m (13.12 ft) European Solar Telescope that's also currently under construction. Read More
ESA's Planck mission is yielding some surprising findings along with a beautiful new map of the Milky Way that breaks down some of the key elements of our galaxy. The telescope spent four years studying the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), a relic from the birth of the universe. The resulting data from this endeavor is now helping us refine how we measure matter, how we understand dark matter and generally just unraveling the secrets of the universe. Read More
A team of ESO astronomers have discovered two stars at the heart of a planetary nebula that are destined to collide some 700 million years from now, igniting a vast supernova explosion. The findings support theories concerning Type Ia supernovae and the irregular shape of some nebulae. Read More
The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) VISTA survey telescope has revealed a beautiful new aspect of the Trifid Nebula, a star formation area that sits around 5,200 light years away from Earth, in the direction of the galactic center. By observing and imaging the nebula in infrared light, astronomers can look through the dust-filled, central parts of the Milky Way to expose new objects. Read More