A dark stream sheds new light on the life of galaxies

“Galactic cannibalism is how our universe grows” An international team of scientists led by a University of Sydney astrophysicist has discovered evidence the Andromeda galaxy is a cannibal growing through colossal intermittent feasts. The research, which is available on the pre-print server arXiv and will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical …

Alien megastructures? Cosmic thumbprint? What’s behind a James Webb telescope photo that had even astronomers stumped

In July, a puzzling new image of a distant extreme star system surrounded by surreal concentric geometric rungs had even astronomers scratching their heads. The picture, which looks like a kind of “cosmic thumbprint”, came from the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s newest flagship observatory. The internet immediately lit up with theories and speculation. Some …

Milky Way’s graveyard of dead stars found

A study creates the first map of our galaxy’s ancient dead stars In the first map of the ‘galactic underworld’, a study from the University of Sydney has revealed a graveyard that stretches three times the height of the Milky Way. It has also indicated where the dead stars lie. The first map of the …

Measuring reliable stellar abundances towards crowded regions using MUSE

With the rapid development of stellar spectroscopy in the past decade, many stellar spectroscopic surveys, for example LAMOST, GALAH and APOGEE, combined with the astrometric information of Gaia have played a pivotal role in explaining the chemo-dynamic evolution of the Milky Way. By extracting the elemental abundances and ages of millions of stars from the …

Australian-based astronomers to take a deep dive into the cosmos with time awarded on one of ESO’s most powerful instruments

Two teams of astronomers led by The University of Sydney and by The University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR/UWA) have recently each been awarded substantial amounts of observing time on one of the most in-demand instruments at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) – the Multi Unit Spectroscopic …

Worlds next door: looking for habitable planets around Alpha Centauri

Could life survive around the nearest stars? In collaboration with the Breakthrough Initiative, Saber Astronautics and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Professor Peter Tuthill is leading TOLIMAN, a project to discover if the nearest stars have planets that could support life. A mission to discover new planets potentially capable of sustaining life around Earth’s nearest neighbour, …

A FLASH combination: ASKAP and MUSE sniff out gas around galaxies

The timescales in which star-forming galaxies deplete their gas is found to be short relative to the age of the Universe. This points to the conclusion that galaxies must have a way to replenish their gas reservoirs and indeed, early cosmological simulations reveal cold gas being channeled along dark matter filaments. At the same time, …