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  • How to observe an eclipse safely

    What is a solar eclipse, and how is it caused? What can members of the public expect to see, and how can they observe an eclipse safely? This booklet, first published January 2015, explains the answers to these questions and more. It also includes link...
  • Viewing an eclipse safely

    If you are planning on viewing a solar eclipse, such as the one that will be visible across the USA in August 2017, download our handy guide: 'Viewing an eclipse safely'.   Viewing an eclipse safely booklet...
  • Current Members of the RAS Council

    The Royal Astronomical Society is directed and managed by a Council whose members decided by elections held each year. The RAS is a charity under UK law, so the council members also serve as the legal trustees of the charity. Details on the composition a...
  • University Points of Contact: A-E

    If you need someone to sign your membership application, or to provide other information, your first port of call should be your local RAS Point of Contact (PoC), should you have one.  (The terms of reference of PoCs are outlined in a Standing ...
  • Superluminous supernova marks the death of a star at cosmic high noon

    The death of a massive star in a distant galaxy 10 billion years ago created a rare superluminous supernova that astronomers say is one of the most distant ever discovered. The brilliant explosion, more than three times as bright as the 100 billion stars ...
  • Spiral arms allow school children to weigh black holes

    Astronomers from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, and the University of Minnesota Duluth, USA, have provided a way for armchair astronomers, and even primary school children, to merely look at a spiral galaxy and estimate the mass of its hid...
  • Winners of the RAS thesis prizes

    The RAS is pleased to announce the winners of its prizes for the best PhD theses completed in the UK during 2016.   Prizes are awarded annually: the Michael Penston Prize for the best thesis in astronomy and astrophysics, the Keith Runcorn Prize fo...
  • Patricia Tomkins Thesis Prize

    The Royal Astronomical Society invites nominations for the Patricia Tomkins Thesis Prize, sponsored by the Patricia Tomkins Foundation, which is awarded for the best doctoral thesis in instrumentation science for astronomy and geophysics.   With a ...
  • OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Deceptively active M77

    Spiral galaxy M77. (ESO)This is Messier 77, a textbook spiral galaxy appearing serene despite the active galactic nucleus at its centre. M77 is a bright object, and particularly bright at infrared wavelengths, as a Type II Seyfert Galaxy. In this false-...
  • A Virtual Tour of the RAS Premises: The Entrance Hall

    eading on from the inner lobby is the building’s grand entrance hall, with a splendid staircase and a lift, with glass panels revealing striking astronomical images. In addition to the offices of the Executive Secretary and the reception is th...
  • Cosmic “dust factory” reveals clues to how stars are born

    A group of scientists led by researchers at Cardiff University have discovered a rich inventory of molecules at the centre of an exploded star for the very first time. The findings are published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomic...
  • Adventures in acoustic cosmology

    A project that explores whether there is a musical equivalent to the curvature of spacetime will be presented on Thursday 6 July by Gavin Starks at the National Astronomy Meeting at the University of Hull. Optical Hubble Space Telescope image of the...
  • First look at gravitational dance that drives stellar formation

    Swirling motions in clouds of cold, dense gas have given, for the first time, an active insight into how gravity creates the compact cores from which stars form in the interstellar medium. The results will be presented today, Thursday 6 July, by Gwen Will...
  • Fastest stars in the Milky Way are ‘runaways’ from another galaxy

    A group of astronomers have shown that the fastest-moving stars in our galaxy – which are travelling so fast that they can escape the Milky Way – are in fact runaways from a much smaller galaxy in orbit around our own.   The researchers, from t...
  • Milky Way could have 100 billion brown dwarfs

    Our galaxy could have 100 billion brown dwarfs or more, according to work by an international team of astronomers, led by Koraljka Muzic from the University of Lisbon and Aleks Scholz from the University of St Andrews. On Thursday 6 July Scholz will prese...
  • Re-Making Planets after Star-Death

    Astronomers Dr Jane Greaves, of the University of Cardiff, and Dr Wayne Holland, of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, may have found an answer to the 25-year-old mystery of how planets form in the aftermath of a supernova explosion. The two...
  • Shocking case of indigestion in supermassive black hole

    A multi-wavelength study of a pair of colliding galaxies has revealed the cause of a supermassive black hole's case of 'indigestion'. Results will be presented by Dr Hayden Rampadarath at the National Astronomy Meeting at the University of Hull.   ...
  • "Little Cub" gives astronomers rare chance to see galaxy demise

    A primitive galaxy that could provide clues about the early Universe has been spotted by astronomers as it begins to be consumed by a gigantic neighbouring galaxy. The Little Cub galaxy – so called because it sits in the Ursa Major or Great Bear co...
  • Surprise methanol detection points to an evolving story of Enceladus’s plumes

    A serendipitous detection of the organic molecule methanol around an intriguing moon of Saturn suggests that material spewed from Enceladus undertakes a complex chemical journey once vented into space. This is the first time that a molecule from Enceladus...
  • Shining a light on solar energetic particles and jets

    A team of astronomers, led by PhD researcher Malcolm Druett of Northumbria University at Newcastle, have taken a big step forward in understanding a 30-year-old mystery in the process of formation of solar flares. Druett will present their work on Monday ...
  • Under pressure - extreme atmosphere stripping may limit exoplanets’ habitability

    New models of massive stellar eruptions hint at an extra layer of complexity when considering whether an exoplanet may be habitable or not. Models developed for our own Sun have now been applied to cool stars favoured by exoplanet hunters, in research pre...
  • Musical Sun reduces range of magnetic activity

    A study of the Sun using sound waves suggests that the layer in which the significant magnetic activity is located has grown thinner in recent years. Prof Yvonne Elsworth will present results at the National Astronomy Meeting at the University of Hull on ...
  • A New View of the Universe: Big Science for the Big Society

      This RAS booklet (published in July 2010) sets out some of the ways in which astronomy has an impact on wider society. See also Beyond The Stars: Why Astronomy Matters (2013) and Astronomy Means Business (2016). From digital cameras to GPS, a s...
  • Carlos Frenk and Katherine Blundell receive national honours

    Professor Carlos Frenk, Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmlogy at Durham University, and Professor Katherine Blundell, Professor of Astrophysics and Supernumeray Research Fellow at St John's College at the University of Oxford, receive award...
  • Service Award (G)

    The Service Award is to honour individuals who, through outstanding or exceptional work, have promoted, facilitated or encouraged the sciences of astronomy or geophysics and developed their role nationally or internationally but whose achievement does not...