ANU breakthroughs

12 June 2019

Delve into our rich involvement in space exploration and research.

Ancient star-crash detection ushers new dawn for discovery

An artist's impression of the two neutron stars colliding. Image credit: LSC/Sonoma State University/Aurore Simonnet
An artist's impression of the two neutron stars colliding. Image credit: LSC/Sonoma State University/Aurore Simonnet

3 May, 2019

An international team of scientists, including from The Australian National University (ANU), have detected two stars colliding in space about 500 million years ago.

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Earth is a less volatile version of the Sun, study finds

This image shows the bright light of a solar flare on the left side of the sun and an eruption of solar material shooting through the sun’s atmosphere, called a prominence eruption. Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO
This image shows the bright light of a solar flare on the left side of the sun and an eruption of solar material shooting through the sun’s atmosphere, called a prominence eruption. Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO

16 March, 2019

ANU scientists have found that Earth is made of the same elements as the Sun but has less of the volatile elements such as hydrogen, helium, oxygen and nitrogen.

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New 3D map will help solve long-standing cosmic mysteries

 3D view of the two clouds in which we mapped the magnetic field and their location in the Milky Way galaxy. Credit: Aris Tritsis and colleagues, Space Nebula Plugin for Unreal Engine 4, Fabian Fuchs & Linus Fuchs
3D view of the two clouds in which we mapped the magnetic field and their location in the Milky Way galaxy. Credit: Aris Tritsis and colleagues, Space Nebula Plugin for Unreal Engine 4, Fabian Fuchs & Linus Fuchs

15 March 2019

A new study led by ANU has created a 3D map of the magnetic field in a small wedge of the Milky Way galaxy, paving the way for future discoveries that will improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe.

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Thank Earth’s magnetic field for water that gives you life

This artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the so-called habitable zone. Credit: NASA/Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
This artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the so-called habitable zone. Credit: NASA/Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

14 March 2019

A study by scientists at ANU on the magnetic fields of planets has found that most planets discovered in other solar systems are unlikely to be as hospitable to life as Earth.

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Space technology predicts droughts several months in advance

GRACE Follow-on
GRACE Follow-on

29 January 2019

Scientists from ANU have used new space technology to predict droughts and increased bushfire risk up to five months in advance.

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Australia leads project to revolutionise astronomy

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the unbarred spiral galaxy NGC 5033, located about 40 million light-years away - MAVIS promises to help a ground-based telescope produce images up to three times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA
This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the unbarred spiral galaxy NGC 5033, located about 40 million light-years away - MAVIS promises to help a ground-based telescope produce images up to three times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA

7 December 2018

Australian scientists will lead the design phase of a multimillion-dollar project for a new system on one of the world's most powerful ground-based optical telescopes that will produce images up to three times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

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Scientists detect biggest known black-hole collision

Artist's impression of a black-hole collision. Image credit: SXS
Artist's impression of a black-hole collision. Image credit: SXS

4 December 2018

An international team of scientists have detected ripples in space and time, known as gravitational waves, from the biggest known black-hole collision that formed a new black hole about 80 times larger than the Sun - and from another three black-hole mergers.

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Study witnesses first moments of star dying in finest detail

Some theoretical models propose that an exploding white dwarf – a star that has exhausted its nuclear fuel – hits a neighbouring star to cause a supernova, which appears to be the cause of SN 2018oh. Image credit: Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Some theoretical models propose that an exploding white dwarf – a star that has exhausted its nuclear fuel – hits a neighbouring star to cause a supernova, which appears to be the cause of SN 2018oh. Image credit: Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

22 November 2018

An international research team including The Australian National University (ANU) has used the Kepler space telescope in coordination with ground-based telescopes to witness the first moments of a star dying in unprecedented detail.

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Astronomers witness David-vs-Goliath fight between galaxies

The research team developed this map that reveals the Magellanic Clouds have had repeated interactions with each other over billions of years. Image credit: Dougal Mackey, ANU
The research team developed this map that reveals the Magellanic Clouds have had repeated interactions with each other over billions of years. Image credit: Dougal Mackey, ANU

9 November 2018

Astronomers have witnessed, in the finest detail yet, a brutal David-vs-Goliath fight between two nearby galaxies that are tearing chunks from each other and flinging them into the gaseous Magellanic Stream, a cosmic river of blood encircling our Milky Way.

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Astronomers witness slow death of nearby galaxy

CSIRO's ASKAP radio telescope. Image credit: CSIRO
CSIRO's ASKAP radio telescope. Image credit: CSIRO

30 October 2018

Astronomers from ANU and CSIRO have witnessed, in the finest detail ever, the slow death of a neighbouring dwarf galaxy, which is gradually losing its power to form stars.

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New infrared telescope first to monitor entire northern sky

Palomar Gattini-IR telescope. Image credit: Palomar Gattini-IR team
Palomar Gattini-IR telescope. Image credit: Palomar Gattini-IR team

16 October 2018

A new infrared telescope designed and built by astronomers at ANU and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the US will be the first of its kind to monitor the entire northern sky in search of new cosmic events.

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New weapon in battle against space junk

Image: Jason Webster, Flickr
Image: Jason Webster, Flickr

27 September 2018

It may sound futuristic, but researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) and Tohoku University in Japan have found a new way of dealing with space junk - and it involves a new type of satellite powered by superheated gas.

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Study helps solve mystery under Jupiter’s coloured bands

Colourful swirling cloud belts dominate Jupiter’s southern hemisphere in this image captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft. Image credit: NASA
Colourful swirling cloud belts dominate Jupiter’s southern hemisphere in this image captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft. Image credit: NASA

10 August 2018

Scientists from Australia and the United States have helped to solve the mystery underlying Jupiter's coloured bands in a new study on the interaction between atmospheres and magnetic fields.

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Study may help humans colonise Mars and hunt for alien life

Artist's impression of NASA Mars 2020 rover - a mission that will aim to find signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the past, as well as hints of past microbial life. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Artist's impression of NASA Mars 2020 rover - a mission that will aim to find signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the past, as well as hints of past microbial life. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

15 June 2018

Scientists at ANU have contributed to an international study that will potentially help humans to colonise Mars and find life on other planets.

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More than 46,000 stargazers help break world record

Dr Brad Tucker with Professor Brian Schmidt. Image credit: Jack Fox, ANU
Dr Brad Tucker with Professor Brian Schmidt. Image credit: Jack Fox, ANU

4 June 2018

The official count for the ANU and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) stargazing Guinness World Records title effort has been confirmed.

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ANU smashes its own stargazing world record

24 May 2018

Citizen scientists in every state and territory have helped The Australian National University (ANU) smash its own stargazing Guinness World Records title and search through thousands of telescope images online to find two exploding stars in space.

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New satellites with ANU laser technology launched into space

GRACE Follow-on
GRACE Follow-on

23 May 2018

ANU scientists have helped design new satellite instruments that are part of a joint NASA and German mission launched into space today to study changes in water levels on Earth and other aspects of climate change.

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ANU invites citizen scientists to search for exploding stars

22 May 2018

ANU invites citizen scientists to join the University's search for exploding stars called supernovae, which help astronomers to measure the Universe.

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Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space

A bright supermassive black hole. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
A bright supermassive black hole. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

15 May 2018

Astronomers at ANU have found the fastest-growing black hole known in the Universe, describing it as a monster that devours a mass equivalent to our sun every two days.

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