World's largest ground-based space array to open in Chile

World's largest ground-based space array to open in Chile

In a super-arid desert at an altitude of five kilometres, with almost no humidity or vegetation, the world's largest ground-based astronomy project is opening for business, ready to probe the universe with unprecedented might.

Thursday, 14 March, 2013, 2:59am

Cosmic rays are last gasp of dying stars: scientists

A classic supernova remnant. Cosmic gravestones like this continue to emit radiation over vast distances through space. Photo: AFP

Though ubiquitous, the origin of cosmic rays has never been pinned down. Scientists have suggested that they could either come from the remains of supernovae, which are the violent explosions that mark the death of the biggest stars, or they could be particles accelerated by black holes somewhere outside our galaxy.

17 Feb 2013 - 3:28am

Astronomers and amateurs brace for a year of comets and close asteroids

Astronomers and amateurs brace for a year of comets and close asteroids

Astronomers are gearing for thrills this year when earth gets buzzed by two rogue asteroids and two comets.

This week, scientists who scour the heavens for dangerous space rocks will be tracking an asteroid called 99942 Apophis.

7 Jan 2013 - 4:40am

New clues into the birth of 'gas giant' planets

An image of gas and dust around young star HD 142527. Photo: AFP

Astronomers using the most advanced land telescope in the world have unlocked knowledge about how "gas giant" planets such as Jupiter and Saturn came into being.

These vast but uninhabitable worlds are created by gobbling up gas and dust that envelope young stars in a murky disc, they believe.

4 Jan 2013 - 4:46am

TV astronomer Patrick Moore dies aged 89

Patrick Moore with trademark monocle. Photo: Reuters

Astronomer Patrick Moore, renowned for his work mapping the moon's surface and for having popularised his subject with the British public, died yesterday at the age of 89.

Moore, whose lunar research was used by both the US and Soviets space programmes, died peacefully at his home in Selsey on the southern English coast after succumbing to an infection.

10 Dec 2012 - 4:12am

Cosmic fatigue means fewer new stars being formed

Darker future awaits amid twilight of the stars

It's evening in the universe. The stars we have are dying, and we're not making new ones the way we used to. 

25 Nov 2012 - 4:01am

Shanghai's giant radio telescope could be a white elephant

The 65-metre radio telescope erected at the foot of Sheshan Hill in Shanghai is reportedly the largest in Asia and the fourth biggest in the world. It is also, its critics point out, one of the closest to a densely populated area. Photo: EPA

Shanghai, you may have a problem. Municipal government officials have just attended a ceremony to mark the completion of a "landmark" radio telescope in the city.

12 Nov 2012 - 7:14am 1 comment

Search heats up for life in space

The Square Kilometre Array seeks life forms. Photo: Reuters

It remains in the realm of science fiction for now but the discovery of a new planet just four light-years away will reignite a race to find a twin of planet Earth that may host extraterrestrial life.

22 Oct 2012 - 3:28am

New planet discovered in celestial neighbourhood

An artist's impression of the newly discovered planet, with our sun the bright dot of light in the top right of the picture. Photo: AFP

Astronomers have found a new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone's throw away at four light years, raising the chances of finding a habitable planet in earth's neighbourhood.

18 Oct 2012 - 3:37am

Real-life 'Tatooine' planet orbiting two suns is discovered

An artist's depiction of a planet orbiting two suns. The planet in the most recent discovery has an additional two suns orbiting it, the first reported case of such a phenomenon. Photo: AP

An international team of amateur and professional astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting two suns - similar to the planet in the Star Wars movies.

The planet, which not only orbits two suns but is in turn orbited by a second distant pair of stars, is the first reported case of such a phenomenon.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

Astronomers find planet made of diamond

An artist's impression released by Yale University shows interior of 55 Cancri e. Photo: AFP

Twinkling stars are not the only diamonds in the sky. Scientists say they have discovered a “diamond planet” twice the size of Earth and eight times its mass, zooming around a nearby star.

In fact, this is not the first diamond planet ever discovered, but it is the first found orbiting a sun-like star and whose chemical make-up has been specified.

12 Oct 2012 - 3:27pm

Planet twice the size of earth made of diamond

Forget the diamond as big as the Ritz. This one's bigger than planet Earth.

Astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of our own made largely out of diamond, orbiting a star that is visible to the naked eye.

The planet, called "55 Cancri e", orbits a sun-like star in the constellation of Cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts a mere 18 hours.

12 Oct 2012 - 4:03am

Giant Chile telescope spots 'truly exciting' unique cosmic dust spiral

This spiral structure in the material around the old star R Sculptoris has been revealed by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Photo: AFP

Astronomers using a powerful Chile-based telescope have released a rare image of a spiral shell of cosmic dust and gas surrounding a red giant star.

The discovery marks the first time that scientists have found such a structure and obtained full three-dimensional information about the spiral.

11 Oct 2012 - 6:20pm

Q&A: Astronomers Jewitt, Luu on winning Shaw Prize and science as culture

Professors David Jewitt (left) and Jane Luu. Photo: Nora Tam

Winners of the Shaw Prize gathered in Hong Kong this week to collect their US$1 million prizes for their contributions to the advancement of science. In this Q&A, we talk to astronomers David Jewitt and Jane Luu, who share the prize for astronomy for their 1992 discovery of the Kuiper Belt.


29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

Step towards stardom

More than 500 students and parents gathered at the hall of Diocesan Boys' School last Saturday for the semi-finals of this year's Supernova singing contest.

The event's 25 acts - individual singers as well as groups - had been selected from 370 initial contestants through six preliminary heats held in April and May.

Only 10 of them would make it to the final.

11 Jul 2012 - 12:00am