Articles on Astronomy

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Superfast spinning star found

The star with the fastest rotation ever recorded has been discovered by researchers at the University of California, Santa…
New infrastructure is putting the Australian space industry on the map. RSAA

Australia in space: looking out and looking in

Space exploration is one of the few science-rich human endeavours that captivates both expert and layperson alike. There is a mystery – a romanticism – associated with space research and technology that…
Two “new” black holes, in relatively nearby galaxies, are the largest ever found. tsand

Scary monsters (and supermassive black holes)

Black holes have long been the staple of science fiction, being monstrous beasts with a gravitational pull that prevents even light from escaping. As well as being useful plot devices, offering mechanisms…
If the signs are right, fundamental equations of cosmology may need altering. waljoris

Is life on Earth due to a quirk in the laws of physics?

A radical discovery by my colleagues and I – reported this week in Physical Review Letters – could help explain why it was possible for life (at least as we know it) to develop on Earth, but not in other…
Finding quasars will help us understand how galaxies were formed. NASA

Back to where we started: tracing the origins of galaxies

Today, the University of Melbourne’s Professor Stuart Wyithe was awarded the 2011 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year for his work on the origin of galaxies. The multi-award winning…
Professor Brian Schmidt helped discover that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. Belinda Pratten

Australian astrophysicist wins Nobel Prize

An astrophysicist from the Australian National University has jointly won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for his part in…
Australian astronomers have mapped the cosmic filaments that bind the Milky Way together, which may help reveal how galaxies form. Michael Boylan-Kolchin, University of California Irvine

Scientists track silvery threads that feed the Milky Way

Australian astronomers have shed new light on the cosmic filament that binds the Milky Way together, providing new clues…
An exoplanet called Fomalhaut b has been photographed in an unexpected spot – so is it even an exoplanet at all? NASA/http://www.nasa.gov

The exoplanet that wasn’t. Or was it?

A distant planet that made its name as the world’s first directly photographed exoplanet is at the centre of an astronomical…
NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere tomorrow afternoon. NASA/http://www.nasa.gov

Look out! NASA space junk to hit Earth tomorrow

A defunct NASA satellite is expected to fall to Earth some time tomorrow afternoon but the US space agency has said it’s…

Black hole jets revealed

The innermost parts of a black hole’s active jets have been revealed for the first time. The observation, by NASA scientists…
An artist’s impression of one of 16 new super-Earths recently found. This one orbits the Sun-like star HD 85512 in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sail). ESO/M. Kornmesser

Rare haul: 50 exoplanets and 16 super-Earths found

European astronomers have found 50 distant planets orbiting stars and 16 rocky “super-Earths”, planets that theoretically…
Science follows certain procedures, but does the media get the signal? CSIRO

Diamond planets, climate change and the scientific method

Recently my colleagues and I announced the discovery of a remarkable planet orbiting a special kind of star known as a pulsar. Based on the planet’s density, and the likely history of its system, we concluded…
Even the Hubble telescope, which took this picture of Bright Spiral Galaxy M81, is not capable of taking the wide-angle shots needed for all sky astrophysics, so new equipment must be invented. NASA http://www.nasa.gov

New all-sky astrophysics research centre to tackle the big questions

Some astronomical questions can only be answered by looking at the whole sky all at once but the technology to do that doesn’t…

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