NASA discovers seven exoplanets around dwarf star TRAPPIST-1

In a much-anticipated news conference held on Wednesday, NASA announced the discovery of seven planetary bodies in the TRAPPIST- 1 system. TRAPPIST-1 is a small, faint star found in the Aquarius constellation, situated approximately 40 light years away from us! In itself not terribly exciting – we discover news stars all the time – but it […]

Music of the Gears: Inside the UK’s Largest Operational Optical Telescope

The best part about working with the James Gregory Telescope is listening to its euphony of noises. The low-pitch drone of the motor when the telescope is tracking the motion of the stars, controlled by a giant clockwork. The underlying hiss of the power generator. The loud metallic bang when the clamps are released, followed […]

Boötes and the exoplanet-hosting star, tau Boo

Heavens Above! Heavens Above! is the astronomy section of the Sci@StAnd website, updated each month to bring you a different constellation of focus. Last month, we focused on the constellation of Virgo and comet ISON. This time, we focus on the constellation of Boötes and the exoplanet-hosting star, tau Boo. Constellation VII – Boötes The […]

Kepler 78b, another giant leap for mankind?

Astronomers, and amongst them researchers at the University of St Andrews, have – for the first time in history – measured the mass of an Earth-sized planet. The lucky candidate, named Kepler 78b, is an exoplanet situated 400 light years from Earth, and has just been confirmed as the most similar planet to Earth ever […]

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