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Telescope

Comet West (C/1975 V1) as seen on March 9, 1976 (Photo: NASA)

The first comet discovered this year, Comet C/2013 A1, is currently projected to pass within about 23,000 miles (37,000 km) of the surface of Mars late in 2014. While this event in itself promises spectacular views for astronomers, the uncertainty of the comet's orbit includes a significant chance of an impact on Mars. If this happens, the impact would be hundreds of times more powerful than the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs on Earth.  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

Chris Lewicki and the Arkyd-100 prototype

Last year, we took an in-depth look at Planetary Resources’ asteroid mining plans. Now the Bellevue, Washington-based company has revealed a full-scale prototype of its Arkyd-100 Low Earth Orbit spacecraft that will search for promising mining candidates. In a video update, Planetary Resources President and “Chief Asteroid Miner,” Chris Lewicki gave a tour of the 11 kilogram (24.2 lb) spacecraft’s features and outlined the company’s immediate goals.  Read More

An asteroid passing close to Earth next month will provide stargazers with a rare viewing ...

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is about 40 meters (131 ft) in size, has a mass of 130,000 tons, is traveling relative to the Earth at a speed of some 6.3 km/s (14,100 mph) ... and will miss us by less than 32,000 km (20,000 miles) on February 15. If it did hit the Earth, the result would be a huge explosion yielding about 2.5 megatons, but Asteroid 2012 DA14 will not hit our planet in 2013, and probably never will. Despite the lack of a sensational scenario, this close call still warrants our attention – it will allow astronomers to learn a good deal about asteroids, and represents one of the few chances for ordinary folks to see a asteroid pass really close to Earth.  Read More

Black holes blaze magenta in this NuStar photo of spiral galaxy IC342 (Photo: NASA)

Black holes, which abound in the Universe, convert matter into geometry – the larger the amount of matter that disappears through the event horizon, the larger they grow, with the only external sign of their presence being the warping of space due to their gravity. In the process, a great deal of extremely hot gas is generated, and that gas emits hard x-rays. Now NASA's NuSTAR space telescope can find black holes by forming high-resolution images of the cosmos in hard x-rays.  Read More

An artist's conception of the HD142527 system, with gas streamers being pulled towards the...

Observations made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile, which is scheduled for completion this year, have solved a longstanding mystery in solar system formation. They showed how protoplanets forming around a young star can use their own gravitational pull to slingshot matter in the direction of their host star, fueling its growth.  Read More

Gizmag's top five astronomical targets for small telescopes (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you received a telescope for Christmas, or bought one for your kids, your adventures in amateur astronomy are just beginning. Astronomy is the art and science of actually looking at the heavens and even a small telescope will let you find a host of celestial wonders. So where do you begin? Here are our suggestions for five of the most rewarding and spectacular objects with which to start your adventure in amateur astronomy ... plus some important tips on using a telescope.  Read More

The newly inaugurated Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope will act as an early warni...

After a long eight-year wait, the building of Australia's Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope has finally reached completion. The radio telescope's first major task will be to investigate the Sun to provide earlier warnings of solar storms that, if left unchecked, could fry satellites and power grids across the globe. The telescope will also be sued to scout the sky for the earliest, most distant galaxies ever detected in an attempt to resolve unanswered questions on the origins of the Universe.  Read More

The galaxy NGC 1277 as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope

Astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin have measured the second-largest black hole ever discovered. It takes up some 14 percent of the galaxy's mass and may lead to an overhaul of theories regarding the formation and evolution of black holes.  Read More

An artist's impression of the surface of Makemake (Image: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger (sk...

In April 2011, Makemake – one of five dwarf planets in our Solar System – passed between Earth and a distant star. Using seven telescopes, an international team of astronomers observed the event, known as stellar occultation, and through careful analysis, have determined the planet's size, density, and even the nature of its atmosphere.  Read More

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