We've showed you the Paranal Observatory's laser-guided telescopes before, but never in gorgeous HD motion, replete with clear stars and deftly swiveling machinery. This is definitely one you're going to want to watch fullscreen.
How do you create the world's largest virtual optical telescope and the most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory? Teamwork. The Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory combines the visual prowess of four huge telescopes — for the first time ever — to mimic a 130-metre-wide mirror.
A new infrared image of the Helix Nebula captured by the European Southern Observatory in Chile looks even more like God’s eye looking down on us. It’s almost creepy in its wondrously beautiful haze of red, orange and yellow.
This new image of the Eagle Nebula—without a doubt one of the most amazing objects in space—is stunningly trippy. It combines the two opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum in one shot: Far-infrared and X-ray. Absolutely gorgeous.
This is exciting. If everything goes well, we may get the first-ever photo of a black hole really soon. A large number of astronomers are getting ready to achieve this feat using a global network of telescopes:
An international team of astronomers have reached the most definitive conclusion, one with profound implications: our galaxy contains a minimum of 100 billion planets. Of those, most are small planets like ours. Statistically, every star would have at least one planet.
Someone call John Lithgow and pull French Stewart out of storage, a team of astronomers using the Kepler telescope have discovered the smallest of exoplanets, and tiniest solar system, so far. And their existence may show that our solar system isn't all that unique.
Astronomers have found two more new planets orbiting binary stars: Kepler-34b and Kepler-35b. Their discovery, which follows the original Tatooine discovery back in September 2011, is quite important: now we know there are millions of planets orbiting binary stars.
Astronomers have discovered the far, far away galaxies. The farthest galaxy cluster ever seen, in fact, a whooping 13.1 billion light-years away. According to the researchers, "these galaxies formed during the earliest stages of galaxy assembly, when galaxies had just started to cluster together."
The little grey ball is Dione, the third largest of Saturn's moons. The large brown sphere with the ethereal haze is Titan, the largest. In the background, that's Saturn and its rings. Never has an astronomy picture looked so painterly to me.
The Canon 5200mm super telephoto lens may be the world's largest camera lens, but it's no match for lenses the size of an entire galaxy, so massive that they deform the light of objects behind them. They're called gravitational lenses.
In a research paper called "The population of natural Earth satellites", astronomers say that Earth must have a second moon at any given time. They have calculated the population of "irregular natural satellites that are temporarily captured" by Earth.
Rejoice, for comet Lovejoy has survived its close encounter with the Sun! NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has captured the exact moment it went close in behind the Sun, then out again on the other side, surprisingly more or less intact.