Professional Telescopes

Space and ground-based telescopes have not only transformed astronomical research, but they are impressive feats of engineering in themselves. The Hubble Space Telescope — the first large (2.5m) space-based telescope — can lay claim to some of mankind’s greatest discoveries.

But astronomers have multiple means of seeing the universe. They’ve equipped a Boeing 747 with a 2.5m telescope that looks out of a hole cut in the craft’s fuselage; they’ve placed 66 radio dishes on a plateau in the Chilean Andes, providing some of the sharpest views of the universe yet; and they’ve even designed telescopes no bigger than a loaf of bread. Sky & Telescope keeps you up to date on new ingenious methods of peering into the depths of space.

Star before and after adaptive optics

Next-Gen Adaptive Optics

The Subaru Telescope has donned a new pair of glasses called Raven, a multi-object adaptive optics system that enables astronomers to correct for atmospheric turbulence over an unprecedented field of view.

Planck cosmic microwave background

Planck Spacecraft Shut Down

After four years of exquisite observations, the latest mission to study the universe's earliest light has been shuttered. But this end is a happy one and comes with a significant cosmological legacy.

XMM-Newton Slew Survey

Glimpse the X-ray Sky

Time and tide wait for no man. So the XMM-Newton space telescope is making every second count. As the telescope shifts its gaze from source to source, it's recording the X-ray sky.

magnetar

A Cosmic Sleight of Hand

Astronomers have been waiting for our galaxy’s slumbering supermassive black hole to stir for a snack. Instead, the universe handed them a different treat.

Bushfire at Siding Spring Observatory

Fire Damages Siding Spring Observatory

Yesterday bushfires swept through Australia's Warrumbungle National Park, home to Siding Spring Observatory. The telescopes there appear to have escaped harm, but some support facilities and staff homes were destroyed.

Australia's ASKAP radio antennas

Radio Astronomy in the Aussie Outback

It's not easy to get to the Murchison Radio Observatory in Western Australia. Being in one of the most remote regions of the country means there's hardly any radio interference that might otherwise compromise the astronomical observations. It's one of the most radio-quiet zones on the planet.