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Articles on Astronomy

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The mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope is fully aligned and producing incredibly sharp images, like this test image of a star. NASA/STScI via Flickr

The James Webb Space Telescope is finally ready to do science – and it’s seeing the universe more clearly than even its own engineers hoped for

It has taken eight months to test and calibrate all of the instruments and modes of the James Webb Space Telescope. A scientist on the team explains what it took to get Webb up and running.
Protons and neutrons in an atom’s nucleus can be arranged in different configurations, creating nuclear isomers. KTSdesign/SciencePhotoLibrary via Getty Images

Nuclear isomers were discovered 100 years ago, and physicists are still unraveling their mysteries

Nuclear isomers are rare versions of elements with properties that mystified physicists when first discovered. Isomers are now used in medicine and astronomy, and researchers are set to discover thousands more of them.
An Eta Aquariid meteor (centre) along with comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) in the background, photographed during the 2020 Eta Aquariid shower. Photo by Jonti Horner

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is set to light up the skies. Here’s how to get the best seat in the house

Each year, the Earth runs through a broad river of dust surrounding Comet Halley – giving birth to the spectacular Eta Aquariid meteor shower.
Scientists think there are 300 million habitable planets in the Milky Way, and some may be home to intelligent life. Bruno Gilli/ESO

Blasting out Earth’s location with the hope of reaching aliens is a controversial idea – two teams of scientists are doing it anyway

This year, two groups of astronomers plan to send messages containing information about humans and the location of Earth toward parts of space they think may be home to intelligent life.

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