Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show


An artist's impression of the Milky Way galaxy showing its x-shaped core (Image: ESO)

Astronomers have used data from European Southern Observatory telescopes to create a three dimensional map of the central bulge of the Milky Way. The gigantic cloud at the center of our galaxy contains a staggering 10,000 million stars (or thereabouts) and resides around 27,000 light-years away. Despite the relative proximity of the area, prior to these new studies little had been confirmed concerning its origin and structure.  Read More

The life cycle of a Sun-like star, detailing the comparative ages of the Sun, HIP 102152 a...

Astronomers have used the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) to observe the Sun-like star HIP 102152. The object, which resides 250 light-years away, is a solar twin exhibiting very similar attributes to our own Sun. HIP 102152 is nearly four billion years older than the Sun, a characteristic that has provided a valuable insight into the link between the age of a star and the amount of lithium it carries.  Read More

Images taken by the 6.5 meter Clay telescope with and without the new adaptive optics syst...

Astronomers have developed a new visible-light adaptive optics (AO) system for the 6.5 meter diameter Magellan-Clay telescope in Chile's Atacama desert. The new AO system replaces the secondary mirror of the telescope with a thin adaptive mirror that can be deformed by its 585 mechanical actuators at a rate of more than 1000 times a second to correct for the image smearing effects of atmospheric turbulence. The result is the sharpest astronomical images ever produced – more than twice as sharp as can be achieved by the Hubble space telescope viewing objects through the vacuum of space.  Read More

The GMT will be completed in 2020 and sport a resolution 10 times greater than the Hubble ...

Slated for completion by 2020, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will combine seven of the largest and most precisely built telescope mirrors, to offer image resolutions 10 times greater than Hubble at around one third of the cost. The telescope will be used to study the early universe and answer open questions on dark matter, supermassive black holes, and the nature of planets beyond our solar system.  Read More

The HSC captured a high-resolution image of the entire Andromeda galaxy in one go (Image: ...

When taking snapshots, a good telephoto lens can be handy, but when your subject is 2.5 million light years away, it’s invaluable. To show off the capabilities of the new Hyper-Suprime Cam (HSC) located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, an international team of astrophysicists has released high resolution images of the Andromeda galaxy that not only show off incredible detail, but may help shed light on the evolution of the Universe and the distribution of dark matter.  Read More

The HSC image shows M31 in stunning detail (Image: HSC Project/NAOJ)

The Andromeda galaxy is one of the most commonly studied objects in the sky. It's just 2.5 million light years from Earth, is visible to the naked eye on a moonless night and has been imaged countless times. Japan's Subaru Telescope's Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) has provided the latest snap of the popular object, showing our neighboring galaxy in a spectacular new light.  Read More

The right eyepieces can help you get more out of your starter telescope (Image: Shuttersto...

OK, so you've put your hands on a decent starter telescope. We're not talking about one of the cheap 50 mm aperture "department store" scopes, but a good quality 4 to 6-inch aperture scope. You've seen this and that in the night skies, and now you want a bit of an upgrade. Here's Gizmag's guide to getting there as easily as possible, without having to buy a new telescope.  Read More

The ALMA observations give astronomers their best ever look at the formation of a 'monster...

Astronomers have used the Atacama Large Milimeter/submilimeter array (ALMA) in Chile to view the largest stellar womb ever observed in the Milky Way. The gigantic object, which resides within the Spitzer Dark Cloud (SDC), is some 500 times the size of the Sun, and is still experiencing growth.  Read More

HD 140283 - the Methuselah star (Photo: Hubble via W.M. Keck Observatory)

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

Artist's impression of Herschel (Image: ESA)

All good things come to an end and the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory mission is no exception. After more than three years in orbit, the most powerful infrared telescope ever flown in space has ceased scientific operations after the last of the liquid helium used to supercool its instruments ran out.  Read More

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