Science Behind the Photo #45

Taken from Issue 22. Although seemingly beautiful and serene, this fiery image shows the hundreds of millions of stars at the turbulent heart of the Milky Way, all cocooned in cosmic gas and dust. The life of such a star is visible in its entirety, from the dusty regions of star birth, populations of young […]

Photographing a Black Hole

It’s been a very challenging year for Einstein: first the neutrino saga threatened his postulated upper limit to the speed of light, and now astronomers hope to use the Earth-sized Event Horizon Telescope to peer into the very heart of our galaxy and make the first ever observations of a supermassive black hole, again testing […]

Science Behind the Photo #33

This detailed photograph of our Moon was taken at the University of London Observatory (ULO), on the amazingly beautiful and intricate Fry telescope. Made by famous telescope manufacturer Thomas Cook in 1862, it was moved to ULO in 1930. It is used often to instruct astronomy students and is mainly used to observe planets, solar […]

A Gem of a Discovery

Like an oyster in the ocean, opening to reveal a pearl, new research has discovered stars can be stripped apart to reveal diamonds. Nicknamed “The Dish”, the Australian CSIRO Parkes telescope stumbled on the discovery whilst searching for pulsars, as part of the “High Time Resolution Universe” survey. Pulsar J1719-1438 had a peculiar signal and […]

You Mars be joking

When Giovanni Schiaparelli tilted his telescope towards Mars in 1877, he was hardly expecting to answer one of humanity’s enduring questions: are we alone in the Universe? Yet, what he found sparked almost a century of heated debate about whether he had done just that. The Italian observed a series of long, straight lines, or […]

Podcast: 60 second science: Milky Way blowing bubbles

The Milky Way has been seen blowing a pair of giant gamma-ray bubbles. Measuring 50,000 light-years across and towering above our galaxy, it’s thought the bubbles may have been formed 100,000 years ago by jets of matter created when 100 suns’ worth of material fell into the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. […]