Bad space weather may make life impossible near Proxima Centauri

If you look up in the southern sky you can see the “pointer” stars, pointing towards the Southern Cross. One of these pointers is Alpha Centauri, which is actually a pair of Sun-like stars that are too close together to tell apart by eye. There is a third member of the Alpha Centauri system as …

We’ve mapped a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way. Take the virtual tour here.

Astronomers have mapped about a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way, in the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves. The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (or RACS) has placed the CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder radio telescope (ASKAP) firmly on the international astronomy map. While past surveys have …

Astronomers find regular rhythms among pulsating stars

Through the noise, young stars reveal their inner workings An Australian-led team has solved the mystery of how some rapidly rotating young stars pulsate. Delta Scuti stars can now be studied in more detail thanks to the work of Professor Tim Bedding and colleagues. By listening to the beating hearts of stars, astronomers have for …

Galaxy’s arms elbow stars into our neighbourhood

Many stars that now live near the Sun were born somewhere else in the Galaxy. Astronomers have just worked out how these migrants reached their new homes and what set them travelling – important details of our Galaxy’s story.

An explosion at the centre of our Galaxy

A new study led by SIfA professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn shows evidence that a huge explosion occurred at the centre of our Galaxy.  This explosion was so powerful that it could only have come from one thing: the supermassive black hole today lying dormant in the middle of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*. “The black hole, of course, …

The Cannibal Next Door

SIfA Professor Geraint Lewis and his international team,  including with SIfA PhD students Zhen Wen, have unravelled the cannibalistic past of the Andromeda galaxy. This study, published in Nature, analysed globular cluster data from the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) to reconstruct the times when Andromeda devoured small galaxies to grow its stellar halo.  “By tracing the …

Tiny star behaves like both a sun and a planet

A well-known star is behaving somewhat like a planet, a SIfA-led team has found. PhD candidate Andrew Zic and his collaborators have discovered pulsed radio emission from UV Ceti, a dwarf star with a mass just a tenth of the Sun’s. The emission has a characteristic that until recently has only been seen in radio …

AI now detecting Fast Radio Bursts in real-time​

A Swinburne PhD student has built an automated system featuring artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and capture the details of fast radio bursts in real time.   Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are mysterious and powerful flashes of radio waves from space, thought to originate billions of light years from the Earth. They last for only a …