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A new UK astronomy instrument is set for Mexico

Credit: Manchester University A new instrument to help astronomers understand how stars are born is bound for the Large Millimetre Telescope (LMT) in Mexico. The Collaborative Heterodyne Astronomical Receiver for Mexico (CHARM) instrument, which was developed by a world leading team of experts in the UK including The University of Manchester, will be integrated onto […]

A new lens for life-searching space telescopes

University of Arizona researchers have designed a fleet of 35 powerful space telescopes that will search for the chemical signatures of life on other worlds. Credit: Nautilus team The University of Arizona Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory is a world leader in the production of the world’s largest telescope mirrors. In fact, it is currently […]

Team uses AI to detect fast radio bursts

An artist’s impression of the fast radio burst detected on October 17 2018 at the Molonglo Radio Telescope near Canberra, Australia. Credit: James Josephides/Swinburne A Swinburne Ph.D. student has built an automated system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionise our ability to detect and capture fast radio bursts (FRBs) in real-time. FRBs are mysterious […]

Shining (star)light on the search for life

An artist’s conception of an Earth-like exoplanet. Credit: NASA/GSFC/C. Meaney/B. Monroe/S. Wiessinger In the hunt for life on other worlds, astronomers scour over planets that are light-years away. They need ways to identify life from afar—but what counts as good evidence? Our own planet provides some inspiration. Microbes fill the air with methane; photosynthesizing plants […]

A 3-D model of the Milky Way Galaxy using data from Cepheids

Comparison of simulation of three main star forming episodes in the spiral arms with the currently observed Cepheid variables. Oldest stars (red) are 400 million years old and the youngest (blue) are 30 million years old. Top view of the Milky Way, simulations are shown in the left panel, observations – in the right panel. […]

Distant ‘heavy metal’ gas planet is shaped like a football

This artist’s illustration shows WASP-121b, a distant world that is losing magnesium and iron gas from its atmosphere. The observations represent the first time that heavy metals have been detected escaping from a “hot Jupiter,” which is a large, gaseous exoplanet that orbits very close to its host star. WASP-121b’s orbit is so close that […]

One of two newly discovered exoplanets shows potential as a habitable world

Illustration depicting one interpretation of the exoplanet GJ 357d. Image credit: Chris Smith / NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. A super-scorched planet orbiting around a nearby dim star has helped reveal the presence of two previously unseen planets—one of which could host liquid water and thus be friendly to life, astronomers say. The blistering planet […]

The mechanism for gamma-ray bursts from space is decoded

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Gamma-ray bursts, short and intense flashes of energetic radiation coming from outer space, are the brightest explosions in the universe. As gamma rays are blocked by the atmosphere, the bursts were discovered accidentally in the late sixties by the Vela satellites, defense satellites sent to monitor manmade nuclear explosions in space. […]