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In 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object. But, in the nearly two years since that historic announcement, and despite subsequent observations... Continue reading
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By using Chandra, astronomers can peer into the Whirlpool Galaxy to uncover things that can only be detected in X-rays. In this new composite image, Chandra data are shown in purple. Optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope are red,... Continue reading
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In late June 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed. The pulsar's radio beacon vanished, while at the same time the system brightened fivefold in gamma rays, the... Continue reading
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A new home-grown instrument based on bundles of optical fibres is giving Australian astronomers the first 'Google street view' of the cosmos — incredibly detailed views of huge numbers of galaxies. Developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and... Continue reading
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The stars of the first generation were formed out of a primordial gas which consisted only of hydrogen and helium. Their mass ranged from ten to five hundred times the mass of our Sun. Nuclear processes in the interior of... Continue reading
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By utilising the unique space-based location of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and its sensitive Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3/, a team of astronomers has probed the halo surrounding the prominent giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A,... Continue reading
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Astronomers have discovered a transiting exoplanet with the longest known year. Kepler-421b circles its star once every 704 days. In comparison, Mars orbits our Sun once every 780 days. Most of the 1,800-plus exoplanets discovered to date are much closer... Continue reading
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"Early in 2013 we announced our startling discovery that half of the dwarf galaxies surrounding the Andromeda Galaxy are orbiting it in an immense plane," said Geraint Lewis, of the University of Sydney's School of Physics. "This plane is more... Continue reading
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An extraterrestrial spacecraft lurking in a satellite’s orbit near Earth would be able to see city lights and pollution in our atmosphere. But what if it searched for signs of life on Earth from afar? This question has great pertinence... Continue reading
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Researchers have made an important step in the race to discover whether other planets could develop and sustain life. New findings published today in the journal Astrobiology shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets. Until... Continue reading
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Lawrence Livermore scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system. The data described in this work are... Continue reading
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Newly discovered soils by NASA's Curiosity rover provide more benign and habitable soil conditions than known before on Mars. Their dating to 3.7 billion years ago, he noted, puts them into a time of transition from "an early benign water... Continue reading
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A collision of one universe with another would leave what Perimeter Institute's Matthew Johnson, calls “a disk on the sky” – a circular bruise in the cosmic microwave background. That the search for such a disk has so far come... Continue reading
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Curiosity's ChemCam's laser has zapped more than 600 rock and soil targets on Mars since Curiosity landed in the planet's Gale Crater in August 2012 to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian environmental conditions. On Saturday, July... Continue reading
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"Do we believe there is life beyond Earth?"asked former astronaut and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at a recent panel discussion at NASA headquarters with with the nation's leading space scientists. "I would venture to say that most of my colleagues... Continue reading
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Dark matter, so named because it doesn’t emit or absorb light, leaves clues about its presence via gravity: it affects the orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters and distorts light emitted from background objects in a phenomenon known as gravitational... Continue reading
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The next phase of a global drive to map the night sky will bring the cosmos into greater focus than at any in human history. Already, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has registered more than half a million stars in... Continue reading
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The physical environment can produce sudden shocks to the life of our planet through impacting space rocks, erupting volcanoes and other events. But sometimes life itself turns the tables and strikes a swift blow back to the environment. MIT researchers... Continue reading
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The Cassini spacecraft has taken a close look at a vast storm system within the hexagonal weather pattern at the north pole of Saturn. The storm looks very like a hurricane on Earth, but it is much bigger: the clear... Continue reading
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Shortly after 12:11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 25, 2013, Swift's Burst Alert Telescope triggered on a spike of gamma rays from a source in the constellation Fornax. The spacecraft automatically alerted observatories around the world that a new burst --... Continue reading
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The discovery of a split-second burst of radio waves by scientists using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico provides important new evidence of mysterious pulses that appear to come from deep in outer space. Exactly what may be causing... Continue reading
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed an unusual structure 100,000 light years long, which resembles a corkscrew-shaped string of pearls and winds around the cores of two colliding galaxies. The unique structure of the star spiral may yield new insights... Continue reading
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Yale University astronomers, using a new type of telescope made by stitching together telephoto lenses, recently discovered seven previously unseen galaxies that may yield important insights into dark matter and galaxy evolution, while possibly signaling the discovery of a new... Continue reading
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A galaxy about 23 million light years away is the site of a giant black hole, shock waves, and vast reservoirs of gas. This galactic fireworks display is taking place in NGC 4258 (also known as M106), a spiral galaxy... Continue reading
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A group of astronomers has been able to follow stardust being made in real time — during the aftermath of a supernova explosion. For the first time they show that these cosmic dust factories make their grains in a two-stage... Continue reading