Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Accelerator at the Galactic Centre

About 30 cosmic rays travel through your body every second. In a night of sleep, up to a million of them will have gone through you! What are they? Well, they are cosmic, but they are not ‘rays’ in reality. … Continue reading

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10th anniversary of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

This week marked the 10th anniversary of science operations of the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Launched 12 August 2005, MRO commenced orbit around Mars on 10 March 2006. During its 10 years of orbital reconnaissance and exploration of Mars, … Continue reading

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The detection of gravitational waves

About 1 billion years ago, two black holes orbiting each other finished their mutual ‘death-spiral’ and coalesced. Prior to the final merger event, during their mutual orbit they lost rotational energy, which made them move closer together and also speed … Continue reading

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S1-2016 begins!

The wheels fell off (again…) last semester, but we’re back! So get ready for another fabulous semester of SAO astro news 🙂

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A very special quasar quartet

Quasars are galaxies with unusually large luminosities, much more than can be associated with the typical constituents of galaxies, i.e. their stars, gas and dust. Quasars are known to host supermassive black holes (SMBH) at their centres, which is thought to … Continue reading

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Thanks MESSENGER!

After more than 10 years in space and over 4 years orbiting Mercury, the MESSENGER mission ended last week when the spacecraft crashed into the surface of the planet on April 30th. While the impact was not visible from Earth, … Continue reading

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The CMB cold spot – explained?

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the afterglow of the Big Bang, cooled to the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum by the expansion of the Universe for ~14 billion years. Across the entire sky radiation at 2.7 K is evident … Continue reading

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