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Discovery of a new “luminous blue variable” star

5 March 2015

Astronomers identify an extremely rare star which could soon die in a spectacular supernova explosion. Astronomer Dr A. Kniazev from the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), together with collaborators from the Lomonosov Moscow State Universi …

The dynamic nature of Pluto’s atmosphere prompts speculation of cryovolcanism

3 March 2015

Pluto, an intriguing dwarf planet located at the outer edge of our solar system, has planetary astronomers including S.A. Astronomical Observatory’s Dr. Amanda Gulbis, investigating its atmospheric properties and evolution. The first detailed stellar o …

A neighbourhood star’s close shave with our solar system

17 February 2015

Astronomers identify the closest known flyby of a star other than the Sun to Earth. The star likely passed through the Oort Cloud of comets at the edge of our solar system 70,000 years ago. Astronomers from the South African Astronomical Observatory (S …