Astronomy News

Observatory returned to working status after six decades
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:33pm

A new telescope has been installed at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, restoring the observatory's status as a working institution for the first time in 60 years.

Named after 'lady computer' Annie Maunder, the telescope will be used for public outreach as well as scientific research.

BBC Sky at Night Magazine visited the observatory to find out more.

Written by Katherine Shaw.

Listen to the latest podcast from the makers of BBC Sky at Night Magazine
Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:44am

In the latest episode of Radio Astronomy, Chris Scott, Professor of Space and Atmospheric Physics at the University of Reading, speaks to us about just how dangerous solar activity is to life on Earth and what’s going on at the surface of the Sun.

Plus we look back on 60 years of NASA and reveal our fave bits of BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s July ’18 issue.

(Carousel image: NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory)

Using resources on other planets could help our space travel ambitions
Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:05pm

To make future plans for space exploration and colonisation a possibility, technologies are now being developed to use local resources on other planets.

Space writer Nick Spall investigates.

Survey of 50,000 stars considered 'dry run' for new TESS mission
Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:09am

A survey of 50,000 stars in the hunt for exoplanets is being lauded as a successful dry run for the new TESS telescope.

Retracing the steps of Patrick Moore's visit to Stonehenge in 1972
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:14am

Retracing the steps of Patrick Moore, in 2017 BBC Sky at Night Magazine visited the huge stones of the greatest ancient monument in Britain to witness the sunrise on summer solstice.

Written by Josh Drury

new technique could reveal orbiting exoplanets above bright starlight
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:13am

Exoplanets hidden by the bright light from their host stars can be observed by detecting molecules on their surface, according to a new study.

Written by Katherine Shaw.

World famous physicist laid to rest alongside Newton and Darwin
Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:10am

World famous physicist Stephen Hawking is laid to rest at Westminster Abbey alongside Newton and Darwin.

Written by Rob Banino.

How the detection of Pluto's moon solved an visual curiosity
Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:22am

NASA's New Horizons mission has given us incredible images and insight into Pluto's moon Charon, but like many astronomical discoveries it was detected as a result of an anomaly.

Charon was discovered on 22 June 1978 by US astronomer James Christy while examining images of Pluto.

Ben Evans explores how this momentous find came to be.

Earth-based organisms may help humans colonise the Red Planet
Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:43pm

Earth-based bacteria could help humans breathe oxygen on Mars, according to a new study.

Written by Katherine Shaw.

Astronomers have managed to catch the birth and growth of a black hole jet
Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:37am

For the first time, astronomers have managed to catch the birth and growth of a black hole jet as the result of a supermassive black hole tearing apart a large star.

The dust could cause problems for the Opportunity rover
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:43pm

The dust storm on Mars could cause problems for the Opportunity rover, but the other four active Martian missions will have the opportunity to study the storm in detail.

This is the first time the array has successfully discovered planets
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:22pm

ALMA has uncovered a trio of exoplanets, the first time the array has made such a discovery.

The Milky Way grew to its current size by snacking on other galaxies
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:15pm

The Milky Way grew to its current size by snacking on other galaxies according to a recent study of data taken by the Gaia satellite.

Win a copy of Peter Whitfield's book on astronomy through the ages
Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:22am

Enter our competition to win one of five copies of Mapping the Heavens, a book about astronomy through the ages published by The British Library.

Pay tribute to the summer asterism with our stellar cookies
Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:32am

Amateur astronomer and baker Katharine Kilgour pays tribute to the Summer Triangle asterism with stellar cookies.

Katharine Kilgour likes to combine her love of astronomy with her love of cooking, making tasty treats to feed herself, her friends and her family Astro-boy (aged 13), Astro-girl (aged 17) and Astro-dad.

Organic molecules, methane variations suggest biological processes at play
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:40am

NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered organic molecules embedded in sedimentary rocks on Mars and variations of methane in its atmosphere, which could be signs of life 

Estimated age of ancient star clusters could be wrong by 4 billion years
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:46am

Globular clusters are thought to be some of the oldest objects in the Universe at about 13 billion years old. But a new study suggests they might be nine billion years old, potentially changing what we know about the evolution of our Galaxy.

Dwarf planet's winds deposit methane ice on border of heart-shaped region
Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:52am

New Horizons images have enabled astronomers to discover methane ice dunes on Pluto, right next to the dwarf planet's heart-shaped feature.

Search for habitable bodies turns to moons outside our Solar System
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:48am

So far, no moons have been discovered around planets outside of our Solar System. But the hunt for 'exomoons' could be about to step up a gear...

We review some of the best astronomy apps available to download
Wed May 30, 2018 10:14am

Thanks to smartphone apps, you can now keep a wealth of astronomical knowledge in your pocket. Jamie Carter reviews some of the best available right now.

Eclipse-chaser and dark skies expert Jamie Carter is the author of A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide.

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