A mysterious binary star

An enormous magnetic binary star system has been discovered by Canadian PhD student, Matt Shultz of Queen’s University, Ontario. The object is unusual because giant stars rarely have magnetic fields; and giant binary stars with magnetism are even less common, accounting for only about 2% of stars in the Milky Way. The discovery was made usingContinue reading “A mysterious binary star”

Cosmic cappuccino

Just released by the European Space Agency (ESA), this stunning image shows Mars’s southern polar ice cap, as rarely seen before. This is a permanent feature, composed of frozen water and carbon dioxide, and is 3km deep in places. It looks flat in this amazing image, but is in fact a mixed terrain of peaks, troughs andContinue reading “Cosmic cappuccino”

Chasing the eclipse

Melanie Davies writes about the 2015 solar eclipse – the last one visible from Europe for more than a decade On the morning of Friday 20th March 2015, we’ll be in for an astronomical treat… an eclipse of the Sun. A total solar eclipse happens roughly once a year somewhere in the world, but weContinue reading “Chasing the eclipse”

Rosetta: The comet chaser

There are not many space missions that have touched the hearts and minds of people throughout the world as much as Rosetta. Named after the Rosetta Stone – a slab of volcanic basalt responsible for revealing the mysteries of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics – this intrepid comet chaser has inspired a generation of science explorers, uncovering mysteries bound up in its icy companion, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.