Category Archives: Astronomy

Cosmic dawn: astronomers detect signals from first stars in the universe

‘Revolutionary’ observations suggest the first stars appeared 180m years after the big bang – and may hold information on dark matter

Astronomers have detected a signal from the first stars as they appeared and illuminated the universe, in observations that have been hailed as “revolutionary”.

The faint radio signals suggest the universe was lifted out of total darkness 180m years after the big bang in a momentous transition known as the cosmic dawn.

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Source: gad

Starwatch: in Orion's sword is the hazy blob where stars are born

The hunter stands bolt upright in the evening sky, with the nebula visible below the belt

This week is a good one for finding the constellation of Orion: it stands bolt upright in the evening sky. The chart shows the view looking due south at 20:00 GMT on 12 February. The most noticeable thing to look for is Orion’s belt comprising three stars: Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Look upwards from the belt and you find the red giant star Betelgeuse (famously pronounced beetle-juice). It marks one of Orion’s shoulders and is conspicuously red in colour. About as far below the belt is the bright blue-white star Rigel. The real prize, however, hangs just below the belt. Three fainter stars make up Orion’s sword. The lower one, Hatysa, is the brightest but look closely at the middle “star” and you will see it is not a star at all but a hazy pink blob. It is the star-forming region known as the Orion nebula, which houses thousands of nascent stars.

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Source: gad

Super blue blood moon – in pictures

Many parts of the globe may on Wednesday catch a glimpse of the moon as a giant crimson globe, thanks to a rare lunar trifecta that combines a total eclipse with a blue moon and super moon. The spectacle, which Nasa has coined a “super blue blood moon,” will grace the pre-dawn skies in the western US as the moon crosses into the shadow of the Earth and turns blood red.

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Source: gad

Stephen Hawking's big ideas … made simple – video animation

No time to read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time? In just two and a half minutes, Alok Jha explains why black holes are doomed to shrink into nothingness then explode with the energy of a million nuclear bombs, and rewinds to the big bang and the origin of the universe

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Source: gad