Molecular zoo found in Sculptor Galaxy

Hubble image of NGC 253

A group of research scientists led by Ryo Ando from the University of Tokyo have peered into the starburst galaxy, NGC 253 - also known as the Sculptor Galaxy - to reveal a collection of diverse molecules in never-seen-before resolution. Starburst galaxies like NGC 253 are active star-forming galaxies, and have been major players in … Continue reading Molecular zoo found in Sculptor Galaxy

Exo Belts found orbiting Proxima Centauri

Artist’s impression of the dust belts around Proxima Centauri

Similar to the Asteroid Belt and Kuiper Belt, astronomers using the ALMA Observatory in Chile - part of the European Southern Observatory - have found rings of cold dust orbiting the closest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri (or Proxima for short). Proxima - a red dwarf star - is just over four lightyears … Continue reading Exo Belts found orbiting Proxima Centauri

A sensory astronomy show for babies and toddlers

The Rainbow Star

Using an awesome fulldome film created by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, Creative Space has developed a planetarium show suitable for little people as young as 6 months old. Amanda Twyman, PA to the Head of Early Years at Hazelwood School Nursery & Early Years Centre in Oxted, Surrey, challenged us with the task of creating a show that … Continue reading A sensory astronomy show for babies and toddlers

Big telescopes: the future is nearly here

European Extremely Large Telescope in its Enclosure

For over 400 years, stargazers have aspired to see ever more detail of celestial wonders and ever deeper into space. Melanie Davies reports on a new breed of giant telescopes that will deliver tantalising astronomical data to a new generation of astronomers. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a raft of 8-meter class, single … Continue reading Big telescopes: the future is nearly here

A blast from the past

Composite image of supernova SN 1987A

It's been 30 years since a giant star in the Large Magellanic Cloud exploded; the nearest supernova explosion recorded in hundreds of years. To mark the 30th anniversary of this cosmic observation, images from ground- and space-based telescopes have been combined to reveal the evolution of SN1987A. This new multi-wavelength image, released on 24th February … Continue reading A blast from the past

Earth-like planet detected orbiting nearby star

A group of scientists, led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé at Queen Mary University in London, have detected what they believe is the nearest terrestrial planet to our Solar System.  Using the radial velocity technique, aided by instruments at the European Southern Observatory, astronomers have produced a lightcurve of a nearby variable star. The red dwarf, Proxima … Continue reading Earth-like planet detected orbiting nearby star

Glowing rings of a dying star

Glowing debris ring around white dwarf star

Researchers have found the remains of a planetary system orbiting a white dwarf star. Researchers from the University of Warwick have acquired the first direct image of a debris disc in orbit around the core of a burnt out star. The white dwarf star, SDSS1228+1040, lies about 463 lightyears away in the constellation of Virgo. Although … Continue reading Glowing rings of a dying star

Cosmic twins


Supernova pairs have been used to accurately measure cosmological distances. Within the last 20 years, astronomers have discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate due to dark energy. One technique used to detect this increase is to measure the distances to bright supernovae. Only a Type 1a supernova is used for … Continue reading Cosmic twins

Star maps

Star Map

This is one of a series of star maps I've just produced for a Stargazing Guide. This will be printed at a fairly tiny size, so I had to limit the amount of detail I put into the illustrations. Leaving things out was the hardest part of this job - especially when there are so many … Continue reading Star maps

The Pleiades

the pleiades

Bringing a little sparkle to the autumn nights. The Pleiades is an open star cluster in the constellation of Taurus. This enigmatic group of stars is known by many names; the Seven Sisters, Messier 45, and Melotte 22 to name but a few. The Pleiades rise in the east just after sunset from the beginning of … Continue reading The Pleiades