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Out of this World

News from space and astronomy communities around the world.

Square Kilometre Array Nearing Completion

By David Reneke

Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array is nearing completion, and citizen scientists can help with one of the biggest astronomy projects of the next 10 years.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a multi-billion dollar international project to build the world’s largest radio telescope. Co-located primarily in South Africa and Western Australia, the SKA will be a collection of hundreds of thousands of radio antennas with a combined collecting area equivalent to approximately 1 km2.

New Theory to Explain “Alien Probe” Asteroid

By David Reneke

A new theory explains the true identity of an “alien probe” asteroid, and the development of Australia’s first space telescope is underway.

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Aussie Telescope Almost Doubles Known Number of Fast Radio Bursts

By David Reneke

The number of known fast radio bursts has doubled, and a patent has brought a space elevator one step closer.

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Meet Icarus, the Most Distant Star Ever Seen

By David Reneke

Astronomers have spotted the most distant star ever seen as well as stunning auroras on Saturn.

More than halfway across the universe, an enormous blue star nicknamed Icarus is the most distant individual star ever seen. Normally it would be much too faint to view, even with the world’s largest telescopes, but through a quirk of nature that tremendously amplifies the star’s feeble glow, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope were able to pinpoint this faraway star and set a new distance record.

Humanity’s First Visit to a Star

Credit: John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the Sun. Credit: John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

By David Reneke

A probe will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, and astronomers have found the fastest-growing black hole known in the universe.

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Planetary Formation Around a Binary Star

By David Reneke

Astronomers take a close look at planetary formation around a binary star and examine one of the biggest stars in our galaxy.

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Massive Star’s Dying Blast Caught By Pure Chance!

By Dave Reneke

A massive star’s dying blast has been caught by pure chance, and how early moons collided to form today’s Moon.

On 25 June 2016, an international team of 31 astronomers caught a massive star as it died in a titanic explosion deep in space. The blast released in about 40 seconds as much energy as the Sun releases over its entire lifetime, all focused into a tight beam of gamma rays and fortuitously aimed directly toward Earth. The team’s findings provide strong evidence for one of two competing models for how gamma-ray bursters produce their energy.

The Explosion that Rocked the Universe

By David Reneke

The launch of a revolutionary Australian instrument will enable the fastest-ever survey of stars in our galaxy.

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Bringing the Building Blocks of Life Down to Earth

By David Reneke

Astronomers find more evidence for how life began in Earth, and send a greeting to a red dwarf with two habitable planets.

Where did we come from and how did we get here? How life began on Earth, roughly four billion years ago, is the eternal question and the basis for almost all of cosmology. New results from scientists at McMaster University and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy suggest a key role for meteorites landing in warm little ponds, delivering essential organic molecules that kick-started the emergence of life in the shape of self-replicating RNA molecules.

Bringing Building Blocks of Life to Earth from Space

By David Reneke

New research supports the view that meteorites kickstarted life on Earth, and Australian astronomers have measured how a galaxy’s spin affects its shape.

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