Astronomy

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Scientists knew the mystery signals were close by the Parkes radio telescope: but what was the source? Flickr/Amanda Slater

How we found the source of the mystery signals at The Dish

Astronomers used to probing the universe always knew that strange signals detected by the Parkes radio telescope were coming from somewhere closer to home. But finding the source was the tricky bit.
How do we think about something we can’t see and don’t experience in our everyday lives, but seems to be pushing our universe apart ever faster? NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team

Explainer: the mysterious dark energy that speeds the universe’s rate of expansion

Einstein's theory of gravity says dark energy must be out there, accelerating the expansion of our universe. But what is it and how can we try to figure out more about it?
Looking for dark matter in the galaxy collisions such as in Abell 2744, dubbed Pandora’s Cluster. X-ray: NASA/CXC/ITA/INAF/J.Merten et al, Lensing: NASA/STScI; NAOJ/Subaru; ESO/VLT, Optical: NASA/STScI/R.Dupke

Shedding new light on the search for the ‘invisible’ dark matter

Scientists know so much about dark matter apart from what it is exactly. But are they getting any closer?
Artist’s concept of Giant Magellan Telescope once completed, with its seven mirrors. Giant Magellan Telescope - GMTO Corporation

Extremely large telescopes will add more firepower to search the cosmos

As an astronomer, I get a lot of requests for help. “I’d like to buy a telescope,” the conversation usually goes. “Can you give me some tips on what to look for?” Sadly, there’s little advice I can offer…
Artist’s impression of two white dwarf stars destined to merge and create a Type Ia supernova in 700-million years time. ESO/L. Calçada

White dwarf merger is set to prove supernova theory

Two white dwarfs found orbiting each other at the centre of a planetary nebula are now known to have enough mass that they will eventually trigger a special kind of supernova, according to research published…
A bright fireball over the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA, in Chile, marks the fiery death of a small grain of space debris, high in the atmosphere. ESO/C. Malin

Explainer: why meteors light up the night sky

Meteors have been seen since people first looked at the night sky. They are comprised of small pieces of debris, typically no larger than a grain of dust or sand, which continually crash into the Earth’s…
A fast radio burst was detected live at Parkes in May 2014. Flickr/Wayne England

A faster response needed to see Fast Radio Bursts in the universe

Astronomers are trying to improve their hunt for rapid bursts of radio emission in the universe called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) so they can better observe these mysterious events, which are thought to…
A group of excited observers during a peak of the Geminids meteor shower. Flickr/Tasayu Tasnaphun

Nature’s fireworks: the best meteor showers coming in 2015

Watching meteors in the night sky can be fun, although typically you only see a few flashes an hour. But there are certain times of the year when you can see many more – events known as meteor showers…

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