Twelve New Moons Discovered Around Jupiter, and One of Them is Pretty Odd! The gas giant Jupiter, which was named in honor of the king of the gods in the Roman pantheon, has always lived up to its name. In addition to being the largest planet in the Solar System – with two and a half times the mass of all the other planets combined – it also has an incredibly powerful magnetic field and the most intense storms of any planet in the Solar System. What’s more, it is home to some of the largest moons in the Solar System (known as the GalileanRead More →

Astronomy & Astrophysics publishes the predictions of the passages of foreground stars in front of background stars. A team of astronomers, using ultra-precise measurements from the Gaia satellite, have accurately forecast two passages in the next months. Each event will produce shifts in the background star’s position due to the deflection of light by gravity, and will allow the measurement of the mass of the foreground star, which is extremely difficult to determine by other means. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

A team of researchers from the Max-Planck Institute and Queen’s University has used new information to test a theory that suggests a rogue star passed close enough to our solar system millions of years ago to change its configuration. The group has written a paper describing their ideas and have posted it on the arXiv preprint server. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Dark matter halos are theoretical bodies inside which galaxies are suspended; the halo’s mass dominates the total mass. These halos cannot be observed directly, but astronomers infer their presence by the phenomenon of gravity lensing—the distortion of background objects by strong gravitational sources that act as lenses. Astronomers can even study distant galaxies magnified by the gravitational lensing of closer gravitational objects. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More → Extra: Space ForceRalph, Paul & Jeni In this podcast extra episode, there was only one thing playing on all our minds – Space Force. What is it? Why is it? What will it look like? Just like us, I’m sure you’ll be none the wiser after this in-depth look into: President Trump’s plan to create the US Space Force The lesser known Welsh Force The International Space Treaty A few diversions into the future of aircraft technology In this podcast extra episode, there was only one thing playing on all our minds – Space Force. What is it? Why is it? What will itRead More →

Carnival of Space #570 This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Brian Wang at his Next Big Future blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #570 And if you’re interested in looking back, here’s an archive to all the past Carnivals of Space. If you’ve got a space-related blog, you should really join the carnival. Just email an entry to, and the next host will link to it. It will help get awareness out there about your writing, help you meet others in the space community – and community is what blogging is all about. And if you really want to help out, sign upRead More →

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will Inspect the Atmospheres of Distant Gas Giants The James Webb Space Telescope is like the party of the century that keeps getting postponed. Due to its sheer complexity and some anomalous readings that were detected during vibration testing, the launch date of this telescope has been pushed back many times – it is currently expected to launch sometime in 2021. But for obvious reasons, NASA remains committed to seeing this mission through. Once deployed, the JWST will be the most powerful space telescope in operation, and its advanced suite of instruments will reveal things about the Universe that haveRead More →

Enter the Red Planet: Our Guide to Mars Opposition 2018 A dusty view of Mars from July 11th as Mars opposition 2018 nears. Image credit and copyright: Waskogm. Have you checked out Mars this season? Mars reaches opposition on July 27th at 5:00 Universal Time (UT) shining at magnitude -2.8 and appearing 24.3” across—nearly as large as it can appear, and the largest since the historic opposition of 2003. We won’t have an opposition this favorable again until September 15th, 2035. Mars starts this week near the +4th magnitude star Psi Capricorni, loops westward through retrograde briefly into the astronomical constellation of Sagittarius the ArcherRead More →

Supersharp Images from New VLT Adaptive Optics ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has achieved first light with a new adaptive optics mode called laser tomography — and has captured remarkably sharp test images of the planet Neptune, star clusters and other objects. The pioneering MUSE instrument in Narrow-Field Mode, working with the GALACSI adaptive optics module, can now use this new technique to correct for turbulence at different altitudes in the atmosphere. It is now possible to capture images from the ground at visible wavelengths that are sharper than those from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The combination of exquisite image sharpness and the spectroscopicRead More →

NASA’s Juno Mission Spots Another Possible Volcano on Jupiter’s Moon Io When the Juno spacecraft arrived in orbit around Jupiter in 2016, it became the second spacecraft in history to study Jupiter directly – the first being the Galileo probe, which orbited Jupiter between 1995 and 2003. With every passing orbit (known as a perijove, which take place every 53 days), the spacecraft has revealed more about Jupiter’s atmosphere, weather patterns, and magnetic environment. In addition, Juno recently discovered something interesting about Jupiter’s closest orbiting moon Io. Based on data collected by its Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument, Juno detected a new heat sourceRead More →

Colourful Celestial Landscape New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope show the star cluster RCW 38 in all its glory. This image was taken during testing of the HAWK-I camera with the GRAAL adaptive optics system. It shows RCW 38 and its surrounding clouds of brightly glowing gas in exquisite detail, with dark tendrils of dust threading through the bright core of this young gathering of stars. ESO News Feed Go to Source Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

2019 Total Solar Eclipse Event at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile On 2 July 2019 one of nature’s most impressive phenomena will be visible from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile — a total solar eclipse. As these are very rare — the next one visible from La Silla will occur in 212 years — ESO is organising a campaign of observing and outreach activities on site, allowing the general public to experience this spectacular event. Tickets to participate will be available from 13:00 CEST/07:00 CLT on Friday 13 July 2018. ESO News Feed Go to Source Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

First Confirmed Image of Newborn Planet Caught with ESO’s VLT SPHERE, a planet-hunting instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has captured the first confirmed image of a planet caught in the act of forming in the dusty disc surrounding a young star. The young planet is carving a path through the primordial disc of gas and dust around the very young star PDS 70. The data suggest that the planet’s atmosphere is cloudy. ESO News Feed Go to Source Powered by WPeMaticoRead More → Astronomy #73 – July 2018Ralph, Paul & Jeni The Discussion: Jeni tells us about her more recent astronomy conferences in Eastbourne and Copenhagen. Paul gives us a round up of his astronomy outreach with interesting facts from and a rooftop star party. And Awesome Astronomy gets in deeper than intended with the Alan Bennet/Thora Hird gag that far outstayed its welcome. The News: Rounding up the space and astronomy news this month we have: AMI in the Sky with Diamonds! Farewell Apollo 12 moonwalker, Alan Bean An old mystery about our moon is solved Has the Mars Opportunity rover bitten the dust? The Interview:Read More → Guide July 2018Ralph, Paul & Jeni What to look out, and up, for in July. With no Jen this month (she’s off sciencing), it’s just Paul & Ralph’s highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers: Mars at its most favourable opposition since 2003 Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto A super-long lunar eclipse Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year. Ralph – Messier 16, The Eagle Nebula Paul –  NGC 6822, Barnard’s Irregular And we finish this sky guide with July’s moon phases. What to look out, and up, forRead More →

ESO’s VLT Sees `Oumuamua Getting a Boost `Oumuamua, the first interstellar object discovered in the Solar System, is moving away from the Sun faster than expected. This anomalous behaviour was detected by a worldwide astronomical collaboration including ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The new results suggest that `Oumuamua is most likely an interstellar comet and not an asteroid. The discovery appears in the journal Nature. ESO News Feed Go to Source Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Using observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories, an international team of scientists has confirmed ‘Oumuamua (oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah), the first known interstellar object to travel through our solar system, got an unexpected boost in speed and shift in trajectory as it passed through the inner solar system last year. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

VLT Makes Most Precise Test of Einstein’s General Relativity Outside Milky Way Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, have made the most precise test yet of Einstein’s general theory of relativity outside the Milky Way. The nearby galaxy ESO 325-G004 acts as a strong gravitational lens, distorting light from a distant galaxy behind it to create an Einstein ring around its centre. By comparing the mass of ESO 325-G004 with the curvature of space around it, the astronomers found that gravity on these astronomical length-scales behaves as predicted by general relativity. This rulesRead More →

A new multiagency report outlines how the U.S. could become better prepared for near-Earth objects — asteroids and comets whose orbits come within 30 million miles of Earth — otherwise known as NEOs. While no known NEOs currently pose significant risks of impact, the report is a key step to addressing a nationwide response to any future risks. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

ALMA Discovers Trio of Infant Planets around Newborn Star Two independent teams of astronomers have used ALMA to uncover convincing evidence that three young planets are in orbit around the infant star HD 163296. Using a novel planet-finding technique, the astronomers identified three disturbances in the gas-filled disc around the young star: the strongest evidence yet that newly formed planets are in orbit there. These are considered the first planets to be discovered with ALMA. ESO News Feed Go to Source Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →