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Paintings, sunspots and frost fairs: rethinking the Little Ice Age
The whole concept of the 'Little Ice Age' is 'misleading', as the changes were small-scale, seasonal and insignificant compared with present-day global warming, argue a group of solar and climate scientists. Explanations for the cooling to Earth's climate, thought to have occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries, include... More
Last updated on Sunday, 09 April 2017 14:26
Published on Tuesday, 04 April 2017 06:01
Explaining the accelerating expansion of the universe without dark energy
Enigmatic 'dark energy', thought to make up 68% of the universe, may not exist at all, according to a Hungarian-American team. The researchers believe that standard models of the universe fail to take account of its changing structure, but that once this is done the need for dark energy disappears. The team publish their... More
Last updated on Thursday, 30 March 2017 11:22
Published on Thursday, 30 March 2017 09:32
Astronomers identify purest, most massive brown dwarf
An international team of astronomers has identified a record breaking brown dwarf (a star too small for nuclear fusion) with the 'purest' composition and the highest mass yet known. The object, known as SDSS J0104+1535, is a member of the so-called halo – the outermost reaches - of our Galaxy, made up of the most ancient... More
Last updated on Thursday, 23 March 2017 16:22
Published on Friday, 24 March 2017 06:00
Universe’s ultraviolet background could provide clues about missing galaxies
Astronomers have developed a way to detect the ultraviolet (UV) background of the Universe, which could help explain why there are so few small galaxies in the cosmos. UV radiation is invisible but shows up as visible red light when it interacts with gas. An international team of researchers led by Durham University, UK, has... More
Last updated on Monday, 20 March 2017 15:13
Published on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 00:00
Star cluster discovery could upset the astronomical applecart
The discovery of young stars in old star clusters could send scientists back to the drawing board for one of the Universe's most common objects. The new result appears in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Dr Bi-Qing For, from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)... More
Last updated on Tuesday, 07 March 2017 10:08
Published on Monday, 06 March 2017 16:30
Spontaneous “dust traps”: astronomers discover a missing link in planet formation
Planets are thought to form in the disks of dust and gas found around young stars. But astronomers have struggled to assemble a complete theory of their origin that explains how the initial dust develops into planetary systems. A French-UK-Australian team now think they have the answer, with their simulations showing the... More
Last updated on Monday, 06 March 2017 10:00
Published on Tuesday, 28 February 2017 00:01
Neural networks promise sharpest ever images
Telescopes, the workhorse instruments of astronomy, are limited by the size of the mirror or lens they use. Using 'neural nets', a form of artificial intelligence, a group of Swiss researchers now have a way to push past that limit, offering scientists the prospect of the sharpest ever images in optical astronomy. The new work... More
Last updated on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 12:26
Published on Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:01
A 43,000 light year bridge between galaxies
The Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years, according to an international team of astronomers led by Dr Vasily Belokurov from the University of Cambridge. The discovery is reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal... More
Last updated on Friday, 10 February 2017 17:40
Published on Friday, 10 February 2017 17:30
RAS response to the US Executive Order banning entry from seven countries
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is greatly concerned by the Executive Order announced last week by US President Donald Trump, which prevents people from seven Middle Eastern and African countries from entering the United States. As an international scientific organisation, the Society recognises and fully supports the... More
Last updated on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 09:36
Published on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 09:21
Cosmic lenses support finding on faster than expected expansion of the Universe
By using galaxies as giant gravitational lenses, an international group of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made an independent measurement of how fast the Universe is expanding. The newly measured expansion rate for the local Universe is consistent with earlier findings. These are, however, in... More
Last updated on Friday, 27 January 2017 09:30
Published on Thursday, 26 January 2017 15:00