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News: December 2011

 

Ringing in the new year with spacecraft reaching the Moon

A spacecraft tandem that will deduce the Moon's interior from crust to core is lined up to enter lunar orbit this weekend after a 2.6-million-mile, 3.5-month trek from Earth.

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Astronomy Now's
year in space

Pluto’s new moon, salty water on Mars, interstellar travel and black trees on a world with two suns; look back over the year as we count down the most read news stories of 2011.

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Postcards from Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft circling Saturn returned scores of picturesque scenes of the giant planet and its moons in 2011, opening new research horizons and dazzling the public with colorful views of the final frontier.

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Dawn gets best look yet of asteroid Vesta

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached its closest approach to asteroid Vesta and is sending back sharp imagery showing new details of the body's airless, charcoal-colored surface.

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Comet sighting wows space station crew

The commander of the International Space Station, peering out the multi-windowed Cupola observatory, has captured what's sure to be some of the most iconic images ever taken aboard the outpost.

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First “mini-Earth” around Sun-like star

A rocky exoplanet smaller than Earth, and its neighbouring Earth-sized world with a thick water-vapour atmosphere, have been detected around a Sun-like star already known to host three larger planets.

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Planet skeletons orbit
dead star

A tightly orbiting pair of smaller than Earth-sized planets has been discovered orbiting a star that has already passed through its red giant phase, providing insight into what might become of our own Solar System.

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Supernova next door leaves its origin in its ashes

You have to be pretty quick to catch the explosive nature of a Type Ia supernovae in the act, however, it seems that an international collaboration of astronomers have gone one better by catching one of these violent blasts in its early stages, for the first time ever, just 11 hours after its detonation.

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Smallest black hole just a heartbeat

Using NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), astronomers have detected the pulsating heartbeat of what may be the smallest known black hole.

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Deep Impact sets path for asteroid encounter in 2020

Flying on its last bit of fuel, NASA's Deep Impact probe is carefully reshaping its course toward a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid in hopes the spacecraft can survey the body in January 2020.

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Our black hole’s
impending lunch

The giant black hole at the hub of the Milky Way will soon be munching on a cloud of gas three times more massive than the Earth that is accelerating towards it, report a multinational team of astronomers who have utilised the light gathering power of the the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory in Chile to probe the galactic centre.

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Tycho’s star lives on
in gamma rays

Using the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, astronomers have found that the shattered remains of the 1572 supernova event known as ‘Tycho’s supernova’ live on in high-energy gamma rays, providing vital insight into the generation of cosmic rays.

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Mars-bound rover previews experience for astronauts

Already 32 million miles from Earth on its interplanetary trek to Mars, the Curiosity rover has begun collecting useful scientific data about the radiation conditions that astronauts would encounter on the way to the red planet.

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Kepler finds planet in the habitable zone

The planet-finding Kepler space mission has discovered a planet 2.4 times the diameter of Earth in the liquid water habitable zone of a star 600 light years away. This is the first confirmed planet in the habitable zone of a star to be found by Kepler, but many more may be on the way.

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Stellar oscillations find
red giants in a spin

By watching waves from the core of a red giant star crash upon the shore of its surface, astronomers led by Paul Beck of Leuven University in Belgium have determined that the inside of these giant, evolved stars can spin ten times faster than their exterior.

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Supermassive black holes smash all the records

Two newly discovered black holes with masses equivalent to ten billion Suns could easily swallow five Solar Systems whole, report scientists in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

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Voyager on the cusp of entering interstellar space

Plowing through the solar system's unexplored frontier, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a region of stagnant solar wind and magnetic pressure and is on the precipice of crossing over into interstellar space.

READ MORE

 
 

Fastest rotating star
lives next door

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have found the fastest rotating star known, residing in our neighbouring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, and which likely suffered a violent past.

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Cassini radar paints new view of icy Enceladus

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured unprecedented radar imagery of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus last month, uncovering new details of the moon's highly reflective frozen surface.

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A cosmic explosion with a dual personality

curious cosmic explosion that detonated on Christmas Day last year could be explained by either a novel type of supernova billions of light years away, or the collision of a large comet-like object with a neutron star closer to home, say two different teams of scientists reporting their results in the journal Nature this week.

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Ancient minerals probe Earth's early atmosphere

In the first study of its kind, scientists have used the oldest minerals on Earth to reconstruct the composition of our planet's atmosphere just 500 million years after its formation, finding that it shares much closer characteristics to present-day conditions that previously thought.

READ MORE

 
 

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2010 Yearbook
Our latest 132-page Astronomy Now special edition is an extravaganza of astronomy for the year ahead, with a complete 30-page guide to observing the planets, moon, meteor showers, two solar eclipses, and the deep sky in 2010.
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE
 

Take the tour!
A 100-page special edition from the creators of Astronomy Now magazine, The Grand Tour of the Universe takes readers from one end of the Universe to the other and, in doing so, asks the question "just how big is the Universe?"
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE


Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE

Guide to the Constellations
Astronomy Now presents this 100-page, full-colour guide to the 68 constellations visible from the British Isles by Neil Bone, the respected amateur astronomer and writer.
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE

Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
 U.K. STORE
 E.U. STORE
 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE


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