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News Archive

2008: Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

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News: October 2008

Back to latest news

Cassini’s imaging trick earned halloween treats from Enceladus

Following the success of the ‘skeet shoot’ imaging technique employed for the 11 August Enceladus fly-by, Cassini performed the same trick to obtain more high resolution images of the icy satellite this halloween.
   FULL STORY updated 04 Nov

Rebooted Hubble scores a perfect 10

After numerous glitches with the software onboard Hubble, the world’s favourite space telescope is finally back online, and celebrates by capturing the perfect image.
   FULL STORY

Phoenix in "precarious times" following power fault

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander tripped into safe mode yesterday in response to a low-power fault, and unexpectedly switched on to the ‘B-Side’ of its redundant electronics, shutting down one of its two batteries in the process.
   FULL STORY

New mineral points to a wetter Mars

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has observed a new category of minerals spread across large regions of Mars that point towards prolonged periods of water covering the red planet as recently as two billion years ago.
   FULL STORY

Falling power forces first Phoenix heater shut down

Engineers are gradually shutting down some of Phoenix’s instruments and heaters in an attempt to prolong its lifetime as the Martian summer rapidly fades away.
   FULL STORY

Fireball captured by Canadian cameras

For the second time this year The University of Western Ontario’s Meteor Group has captured rare footage of a meteor streaking across the sky and possibly falling to the ground.
   FULL STORY

Double asteroid belt in

Solar System clone

Spitzer observations have discerned two rocky asteroid belts and an icy outer ring surrounding our Sun’s doppelgänger Epsilon Eridani that could have been shaped by evolving planets.
   FULL STORY

ESA gravity mission slips

to 2009

The launch of Europe’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has slipped to February 2009 due to ongoing technical faults with its launcher.
   FULL STORY

COROT sees sunquakes in other stars

The CNES/ESA Earth orbiting COROT satellite has applied the technique of seismology to the study of stellar interiors, probing the interiors of three stars beyond our own Sun for the first time.
   FULL STORY

Thirty Meter Telescope awarded next generation of ‘noiseless’ detectors

A zero-noise detector is in store for the future Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) that will have a light-collecting power ten times that of the largest telescopes now in operation.
   FULL STORY

Phoenix completes

soil delivery

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has finished scooping soil samples to deliver to its onboard laboratories, and is now preparing to analyse samples already obtained before the Sun completely sets on the mission.
   FULL STORY

The stellar nursery with a massive heart

A new ESO image reveals the vast stellar nursery of Gum 29, which hosts a small cluster of stars bearing one of the most massive double star systems known to man.
   FULL STORY

Rare impact craters revealed in Martian

polar terrain

New HiRISE images have revealed two rare sightings of impact craters in Mars’ northern polar regions.
   FULL STORY

Martian moon Phobos a rubble pile?

New Mars Express observations of Martian moon Phobos suggest it could be a rubble pile rather than a single solid object, but questions remain as to where the material actually came from in the first place.
   FULL STORY

Molten planets could point to exo-Earths

Earth-like planets may be easier to spot than planet-hunters originally thought, since their hot, molten surfaces may exist for tens of millions of years, presenting them as glowing beacons as they orbit their parent stars.
   FULL STORY

Supermassive black holes common in early Universe

Observations of a spectacular collision of galaxies in the distant Universe have revealed that colossal black holes were present when galaxies were just beginning to form.
   FULL STORY

Fermi discovers first pure gamma ray pulsar

The Fermi spacecraft’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) has discovered the first pure gamma ray-only stellar corpse, blinking at the Earth around three times a second, and providing new insight into how stars work.
   FULL STORY

UK camera ready to eye

the Moon

A UK-built X-ray camera that will chart the mineral inventory of the Moon is set to launch into space on 22 October aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, India’s first mission to the Moon.
   FULL STORY

New population of faint gamma-ray bursts

ESA’s Integral gamma ray observatory has detected several faint gamma-ray bursts, confirming the existence of an entirely new population of weak bursts.
   FULL STORY

The truth about variable black holes

By studying the flickering light in the surroundings of two black holes, astronomers have discovered that magnetic fields play a crucial role in the way these galactic monsters consume matter.
   FULL STORY

Dwarf leaders shepherd galaxy gas

Dwarf galaxies that formed rapidly during the reionisation and global heating epoch of the Universe a billion years after the big bang, allowed other dwarfs to form by shepherding gas that would otherwise have blown away, according to a new theory.
   FULL STORY

First spacecraft to map edge of Solar System ready for launch

The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) is go for launch on 19 October and will be the first NASA spacecraft to image and map the dynamic interactions occurring at the edge of the Solar System.
   FULL STORY

Spitzer peers inside

Comet Holmes

Comet Holmes unexpectedly exploded in 2007, and new observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope only deepen the mystery as to why the comet put on such a show.
   FULL STORY

The Great World Wide

Star Count

Get ready for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by joining in with the Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone project The Great World Wide Star Count during the week 20 October to 3 November 2008.
   FULL STORY

Outer Solar System

weather report

In three different reports, scientists unveil the seasons on Uranus, a giant cyclone on Saturn and the mechanism driving the powerful jet streams on all four gas giants. In a fourth report, the exotic weather experienced on Jupiter-like exoplanets is revealed.
   FULL STORY

Seven surveys to serve up surprises

The Legacy Survey, an international study being undertaken with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii, is an ambitious project composed of seven separate surveys that aim to understand the entire Universe, right down to the smallest planetary system.
   FULL STORY

Tidal heating could widen habitability zone

When looking for rocky planets that could support life in other solar systems, astronomers should consider looking outside the ‘Goldilock’s Zone’ of habitability, say scientists presenting their research at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting.
   FULL STORY

Re-writing the cratering history of the Moon

In two separate reports planetary scientists have presented new insights into the cratering history of the Moon, and used small craters to help date the ages of geological features on Mars.
   FULL STORY

VLT captures young stars

in detail

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope array in Chile has used its interferometric mode to capture details of young stars in unprecedented detail, which could hope to end years of debate on the behaviour of matter in young stellar systems.
   FULL STORY

The hunt is on for

exo-Earths

Observations of the Earth by Venus Express, and supercomputer simulations of dusty discs around Sunlike stars may provide new clues in the quest to detect Earth-sized exoplanets, a goal that could be realised within the next 15 years.
   FULL STORY

New views of enigmatic Enceladus

On 9 October, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft successfully executed a daring dive through the icy plumes emanating from the tiger stripes in the south polar region of Saturn’s enigmatic moon Enceladus.
   FULL STORY

Galactic collisions could halt star formation

High-speed collisions between galaxies could give them enough energy to stop their gas clouds condensing into stars, offering an alternative explanation to supermassive galactic black holes stripping away gas.
   FULL STORY

Mars Odyssey enters new orbit for extended mission

NASA’s orbiting Mars Odyssey spacecraft has been given the go ahead for a third two-year extension of its mission to survey the red planet, making it the longest serving of six spacecraft currently studying Mars.
   FULL STORY

A multi-wavelength portrait of stellar birth

By combining observations at different wavelengths from telescopes on the ground and in space, astronomers have taken a fresh look at the history of star formation in a galaxy residing in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
   FULL STORY

Phoenix digs into darkness

As the Sun falls further and further below the horizon in northern hemisphere Mars, Phoenix continues to dig soil and deliver samples to its onboard laboratory for analysis.
   FULL STORY

Cosmic eye peers into distant galaxy

Using a technique known as gravitational lensing to magnify a distant galaxy, astronomers have peered into the heart of a young star-forming region in the distant Universe as it appeared only two billion years after the big bang.
   FULL STORY

Cassini prepares for double flyby of Enceladus

Tomorrow, 9 October, Cassini will make the closest approach yet of Enceladus at just 25 kilometres, with a follow-up look from 196 kilometres on 31 October.
   FULL STORY

MESSENGER reveals more of Mercury’s secrets

The MESSENGER spacecraft successfully completed its second flyby of the innermost planet yesterday, unveiling another 30 percent of the planet’s surface in over 1,200 high resolution photos.
   FULL STORY

Small asteroid burns up in Earth’s atmosphere

According to predictions, three metre wide asteroid 2008TC3 exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere at 0246 UT above northern Sudan this morning.
   FULL STORY

Evolving galaxies shed gas and fireballs

Astronomers studying the Coma Cluster of galaxies have discovered that galactic collisions are powerful enough to strip a galaxy of its gas and fling star-forming fireballs out into space.
   FULL STORY

COROT discovery stirs exoplanet classification rethink

COROT scientists have discovered the most massive planet-sized object closely orbiting its parent star yet, but there remains one question: is it really a planet or is it a failed star?
   FULL STORY

Cloudy weather on failed star twins
A team of astronomers using one of the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea has found evidence for cloudy weather on two failed stars.
   FULL STORY

A deserted outer Solar System
After clocking up over 200 hours of observations as part of the Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey (TAOS) to map the distribution of small Kuiper Belt objects in the outer Solar System, astronomers have come up empty-handed.
   FULL STORY

Spitzer sees supernova flashback
Spitzer scientists studying hot spots near the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant say they are light echoes that contain the memory of the blast’s very first moments.
   FULL STORY

Landscaping the cosmos
The Hubble Heritage Project celebrates its 10th anniversary this month with a beautiful landscape image of the ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ of gas and dust in the giant gaseous cavity of star-forming region NGC 3324.
   FULL STORY

Sharpening up Jupiter
The sharpest ever view of Jupiter has been achieved by using a superior technique to remove atmospheric blur, revealing changes in Jupiter's smog-like haze as part of the planet's so-called global upheaval.
   FULL STORY

Young galaxy’s magnetism surprises astronomers
Astronomers have made the first direct measurement of the magnetic
field in a young, distant galaxy, and found it to be a surprising 10 times stronger than that of our own Milky Way.
   FULL STORY

Hubble’s ANGST reveals diversity of galaxies
To soften the blow of any Hubble angst resulting from the current software glitch, the science team have released the details of a survey of 14 million stars in 69 galaxies from the ACS Nearby Galaxy Survey Treasury (ANGST), revealing the true diversity of galaxies, and reminding us just what Hubble is capable of.
   FULL STORY

Hubble trouble
Just weeks before the Hubble repair mission was originally set to commence, a sudden anomaly with the space telescope’s data storage and transmission devices could see the mission pushed back to next year.
   FULL STORY

Happy 50th Birthday NASA
On the first of October 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began operation. Fifty years on and NASA has sent man to the Moon and spacecraft to all the major planets of our Solar System.
   FULL STORY

 

Back to latest news

Special Report:

National Astronomy Meeting

Belfast 2008

READ MORE

Exclusive Interview:Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is professor of theoretical physics at City College New York. He is a best-selling author and TV presenter. Two of his most recent programs were shown on BBC Four and his latest book Physics of the Impossible (Allan Lane) is on sale now. Astronomy Now's Kulvinder Singh Chadha talks to the man who dreams about the impossible. READ MORE

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
 U.K. 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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