If you noticed bright cloud low to the north after 11pm on July 7th, it was actually a fine display of Noctilucent cloud. These clouds are the highest known clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere, some 50 miles up, and shine with a characteristic silvery blue hue, and can be seen long after midnight low above the northern horizon at this time of year. [Read more about Noctilucent Cloud Display Visible]

On 25th August 2013, according to the news media, "Voyager Probe 'Leaves the Solar System'".  But it seems Astronomers don't all agree about that. [Read more about Has Voyager 1 really left the Solar System?]

We live in exciting times in our understanding of the Universe.  But if this discovery is confirmed, it will certainly be the biggest story in Cosmology this year!

A team from the Harvard-Smithsonian Institute say they have discovered the smoking gun of gravitational waves in the Cosmic microwave Background: proof that the universe expanded to trillions of times its own size in the tinyist fraction of a second after it was created. [Read more about Gravitational Waves Witness the Big Bang]

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field Image has become one of the iconic images of our time.  But now that photograph has been re-created as a 3D animation, zooming-backwards in time to the earliest formed galaxy.... [Read more about Hubble Ultra Deep Field: Animation]

Supernova in M82

M82 SupanovaOn the night of January 21, 2014, a group of astronomy students at University College London fortuitously spotted a supernova in M82 [Read more about Supernova in M82]

Two magnificent videos have been released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), zooming-into and panning accross exquisitely detailed images of the Lagoon Nebula (M8) in the constellation Sagittarius.  We see new born stars, internally illuminating their cloud duvet.

The images were recorded from the "VLT" Survey Telescope at the ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile.  [Read more about Stunning images of Lagoon Nebula released by the ESO]

In brief:

  • Gaia Space Observatory launched, on mission to make an exquisitely accurate map of the Milky Way.
  • A New Method for Measuring Exoplanets' Mass

Thumbnail of NASA's Jewelbox Sun pictureNASA have put together a fascinating video of the sun, viewed at different wavelengths, in rotating bands.  Choose an interestng area on the sun's surface, and see different detail:

  • Yellow light generally comes from material of about 6000℃, which represents the surface of the sun
  • Extreme ultraviolet light (coloured green in NASA's images) comes from atoms about 6 million ℃, making it good for observing solar flares which reach that temperature.

In brief:

  • Comet ISON disintigrates as it passes the sun.
  • Signature of water found in five exoplanets.
  • New record distance for planet found orbiting a star. 

Quantum memory 'world record' smashedQuantum Computers use the weird behaviour of individual atoms to be in many places at once (described in Quantum Theory), which gives them the potential of awesome power and speed for particular kinds of application. [Read more about Quantum memory 'world record' smashed (BBC News report)]

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