Astro Blog

28 April 2015

Hubble at 25

Researcher in astronomy instrumentation, Dr Sarah Kendrew, tells the story of the Hubble Space Telescope's magnificent 25 years:

25 years ago, on 24 April 1990, NASA launched the first major astrophysical observatory into space. The Hubble Space Telescope, the product of 2 decades of work in Europe and the US, marked the beginning of a new era in our study of the Universe.

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27 January 2015

Stargazing Oxford 2015 Photo Competition - The Winners

It is my great pleasure to announce the winners of this year's Stargazing Oxford astrophotography competition. As always, the standard of entries was very high, so congratulations to everyone who took part.

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18 December 2014

Stargazing Oxford 2015 Photo Competition

Hello everyone! I'm sure you're all looking forward to the Christmas holiday, and so are we in Oxford Astrophysics. But we're also thinking ahead to the New Year and there's plenty to be excited about. Stargazing Oxford returns on the 17th of January, and with it our annual Astrophotography competition.

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23 October 2014

Rosetta Mission Excitement Builds

Recently, Chris North from Cardiff University and The Sky at Night, sat down with Alan Fitzsimmons, from Queen's University Belfast and Oxford's own PhD student Becky Smethurst to discuss the excitement surrounding the Rosetta Mission, which is set to land on Comet 67P on November 12th 2014.

Check out the video here:

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02 September 2014

Could we detect life... on Earth?

What might Earth look like to an alien living 10 light years away? We're assuming he or she has access to a decent space telescope, of course.

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06 August 2014

Rosetta and the Rubber Ducky: arrival at comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Today, August 6th 2014, marks a significant milestone in European exploration of our solar system. After a 10-year, 6 billion-kilometre journey, the European Space Agency Rosetta spacecraft achieved a successful rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At 10 am this morning, Rosetta fired its rockets and altered its trajectory to go into a series of triangular passes around the comet.

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07 July 2014

BOOM! The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) project starts with a blast!

On Thursday 19th June 2014 at ~18:45 BST, an explosion high in the Atacama desert in Northern Chile marked the beginning of construction of what will be the largest optical & infrared telescope in the World. The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), built by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), will be sited at a high and dry peak on Cerro Armazones, some 20 km away from ESO's Paranal Observatory.

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02 July 2014

Prize-winning research leads to cool science

This blog post was contributed by Prof. Patrick Roche, reporting from Geneva:

Today (2nd July 2014) at the annual European Week of Astronomy and Space Science meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the 2014 MERAC prize for the best doctoral thesis in astronomical technologies was awarded to Dr Boon Kok Tan (see:

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13 June 2014

A Small Satellite with Big Plans: TechDemoSat-1

It's been a while since we had a blog post about space instrumentation, so here's first-year DPhil student Peter Hatfield to tell you all about TechDemoSat-1:

"A thrilling moment for the UK space industry is fast approaching. The launch of the satellite TechDemoSat-1, which recently had its launch date announced as July 8th, is now only a few weeks away!

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02 April 2014

Stargazing Oxford 2014 photography competition - the winners

With apologies for the delay in posting these results, here are the winners of this year's Stargazing Oxford photography competition. Once again, the submissions were very impressive and we would like to thank everyone who entered. As for last year's competition, three photographs were shortlisted for each category and a winner selected by our judges, with the public voting on the January 11th open day for their favourite. This year we also offered a prize for young photographers of 16 or under.

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