monster machines
The Lick Observatory's Newest Telescope is an Exoplanet Hunting Robot

Exoplanets—planets orbiting stars that aren't our Sun—seem to be popping out of the cosmic woodwork now that we know where and how to look for them. The Kepler mission alone has discovered 961 of them, and it's only looking at a tiny sliver of distant space. Just think of how many we'll find when the new James Lick robotic telescope comes online and starts surveying one thousand of our closest solar neighbors. Read More >>

Lasers Create Ultra-Lightweight Mirrors from Polystyrene Beads

It's much easier for a telescope to see deep into the universe when it doesn't have to peer through the Earth's atmosphere, but getting them into space is expensive. There is a much cheaper solution, though, as researchers have actually found a way to make incredibly light mirrors using lasers and polystyrene beads. Read More >>

monster machines
This Space Surveillance Telescope Tracks Wayward Satellites

As nations around the world launch more and more satellites into geosynchronous orbit above the Earth, the danger of them accidentally colliding and creating a Gravity-esque cascade of destruction increases exponentially. To keep tabs on everything zooming around 22,000 miles above the surface, DARPA's developed this keen-eyed space surveillance telescope. Read More >>

monster machines
This Foldable Space Telescope Would Put Big Optics in Small Rockets

For all the futuristic advancements packed into modern space-based telescopes, they all still rely on the same bulky, heavy glass optics that Galileo used centuries ago. But thanks to this DARPA project, future telescopes could eventually use optics as thin as saran wrap to peer into deep space. Read More >>

Australia's Using Pop Radio to Track Space Junk

Space junk is a serious problem: it threatens satellites and spacecraft, and can plummet unpredictably to earth. Australia's Murchison Widefield Array is a high-sensitivity radio telescope that tracks space debris as small as 1 meter across, by observing how the objects reflect FM signals from Australian radio stations. It's listening to pop music from space. Read More >>

monster machines
How a Superconducting Camera Could Revolutionise Astrophysics

Over the past four decades, the field of astrophysics has enjoyed a pair of massive technological advances. First, we jumped from archaic photographic plates that relied on chemical emulsions to charge couple devices (CCDs). Now, the transition from CCDs to hyperspectral imaging devices that utilise exotic superconducting materials could change how we see the stars forever. Read More >>

monster machines
The Giant Telescope That Helps Take the Sharpest Space Photos Yet

The Hubble Telescope has revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos but the venerable telescope has been orbiting for nearly a quarter century and is quickly nearing the end of its already-extended service life. That's not a bad thing, mind you, telescope technology has advanced significantly since the Hubble went up in 1990. And by the end of the decade, we'll have completed an all-seeing observatory with ten times the Hubble's resolution and none of its space-based complications. Read More >>

New Camera Lets Astronomers Take Sharpest Ever Photos of the Universe

An international team of astronomers are having a blast with a new type of camera that can take photos of space that are twice as sharp as those taken by the Hubble Telescope. The technology's been in the works for over 20 years, and when you see the pictures you can see how they were worth the wait. Read More >>

watch this
Let's Get Caught Up on Five Years of Fermi Space Porn

At this very moment, NASA's Fermi space telescope is up in the sky, zooming around Earth, and doing space stuff like sidestepping Soviet space junk and spotting mysterious galactic soap bubbles. For its (roughly) five year anniversary, NASA put out a little montage of the 'scopes stellar achievements so far, and the list is impressive. Read More >>

Zoom in on the Birth of a Star from Thousands of Light Years Away

About 1,400 light years from Earth in the constellation of Vela, a new star is being born in a burst of violent glory. Streams of carbon monoxide molecules are spewing from the star's poles, as dust swirls around the entire event. Thank God somebody got the whole event on camera. Read More >>

An Incredible Galactic Snapshot From Your New Favourite Telescope

That beautiful image you see up there is our twin galaxy Andromeda. A neighbor that's right next door, a mere 2.5 million light-years-away. This fantastic new portrait was taken by an all-new telescope camera that's got a whole life of stellar shots ahead of it. Read More >>

Scientists Have Detected Massive, Unexplained Deep Space Explosions

Space is gigantic, so even though we have giant dishes trained to listen to it, we only hear a tiny slice. But scientists manning the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia stumbled on a few blips worth hearing: four mammoth radio blasts that came from far outside the galaxy. Read More >>

monster machines
This Telescope Shoots Lasers to Unlock the Mysteries of the Cosmos

Ground-based telescopes have long struggled to achieve the image clarity and resolution of their orbiting cousins due in large part to atmospheric distortions. That's why we build observatories on mountain tops: to minimize the amount of atmosphere between the telescope and incoming starlight. But with the help of a cutting-edge adaptive optic system, astronomers are getting an unprecedented and undistorted look at deep space sans the perilous rocket launches. Read More >>

monster machines
This Subterranean Telescope May Have Just Seen Humanity's First Cosmic Neutrino

Catching a glimpse of even regular neutrinos—low-energy particles generated in the atmosphere—is difficult enough, but spotting a "cosmic neutrino" left over from the Big Bang has been downright impossible. That is until this cubic kilometer buried under Antartica's frozen wastes started looking. Read More >>

RIP the World's Largest Infrared Telescope

The Herschel Space Observatory was the world's largest and most powerful infrared telescope, able to see parts of the universe nothing else could. Unfortunately, it met its maker this week when it ran out of the liquid helium coolant it requires to map hidden corners of the cosmos.
Per the European Space Agency:

An Astrophotography Crash Course That Will Have You Seeing Stars

Astrophotography is one of the most complex types of photography, blending artistic talents with deep scientific understanding and technical ability. So, if you're just starting out, it can be a complicated topic to get a handle on — but this video should help. Read More >>


Don't have a Gizmodo UK account?