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On Friday, Feb. 12, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched their sixth satellite dedicated to X-ray astronomy, ASTRO-H, from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan. The observatory carries a state-of-the-art instrument and two telescope mirrors built at NASA's... Continue reading
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In September 2014, a group of astronomers including R. Brent Tully of the University of Hawaii and Hélène Courtois of the University of Lyon determined that our Milky Way galaxy is part of a newly identified enormous supercluster of galaxies,... Continue reading
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Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have been studied for the first time, shedding light on a mysterious gravitational anomaly dubbed the Great Attractor, which appears to be drawing the Milky Way and hundreds of thousands of other galaxies towards it... Continue reading
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Researchers have recreated the universe's primordial soup in miniature format by colliding lead atoms with extremely high energy in the 27 km long particle accelerator, the LHC at CERN in Geneva. The primordial soup is a so-called quark-gluon plasma (above)... Continue reading
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The Silver Dollar galaxy, NGC 253, is a giant, barred spiral galaxy about 70000 light-years long located in the constellation Sculptor, about 13 million light-years from the Milky Way. It is the brightest member of the Sculptor Group of Galaxies,... Continue reading
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Will rocky exoplanets orbiting other stars have the same three layers? New research suggests that the answer is yes - they will have interiors very similar to Earth. "We wanted to see how Earth-like these rocky planets are. It turns... Continue reading
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Messages from around the world are to be beamed into space at the speed of light as part of a cultural project to create a celestial time capsule. In autumn 2016, dispatches from the public will be converted into radio... Continue reading
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In the local universe, massive galaxies hosting more than about 100 billion stars are predominantly dead elliptical galaxies, that is, without any signs of star-formation activity. Many questions remain on when, how and for how long star formation occurred in... Continue reading
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The plane's race in on to reveal a new physics beyond the Standard Model and the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism as well as clues to understanding dark matter and supersymmetry, with China's announcement this past fall that it's planning to build an... Continue reading
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Martin Bojowald, a professor of phycics at Penn State University, presents his fascinating ideas about “Loop Quantum Cosmology” in Once Before Time: A Whole Story of the Universe. "Will we ever," Bojowald asks, "with a precision that meets scientific standards,... Continue reading
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Hills of water ice on Pluto ‘float’ in a sea of frozen nitrogen and move over time like icebergs in Earth’s Arctic Ocean—another example of Pluto’s fascinating geological activity. The nitrogen ice glaciers on Pluto appear as isolated hills that... Continue reading
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NASA's confirmation of the existence of a vast global ocean on Enceladus this past September casts a spotlight on Saturn's icy moon as the most potentially habitable spot beyond Earth in the Solar System for life as we know it.... Continue reading
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NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft, launched from Earth in 2011, will arrive at Jupiter in 2016 to study the giant planet from an elliptical, polar orbit. Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation,... Continue reading
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NGC 6240, a butterfly-shaped galaxy that is the product of the collision of two smaller galaxies, revealed that the central region of the galaxy (inset shown below) contains not one, but two active giant black holes. NGC 6240 is a... Continue reading
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New evidence may finally help put the chill on skeptics' belief that long-term global warming occurs in an unpredictable manner, independently of external drivers such as human impacts. By examining how Earth cools itself back down after a period of... Continue reading
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New evidence may finally help put the chill on skeptics' belief that long-term global warming occurs in an unpredictable manner, independently of external drivers such as human impacts. By examining how Earth cools itself back down after a period of... Continue reading
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Not only is the "Jupiter as shield" concept, implying that the planet shields Earth from comet impacts, not true, but perhaps Jupiter's most important role in fostering the development of life on Earth was just the opposite -- delivering the... Continue reading
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The Star Wars franchise has featured the fictitious “Death Star,” which can shoot powerful beams of radiation across space. The Universe, however, produces phenomena that often surpass what science fiction can conjure. The Pictor A galaxy shown above is one... Continue reading
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"Either we find hundreds or thousands of millisecond pulsars in the upcoming decade, shedding light on the history of the Milky Way, or we find nothing. In the latter case, a dark matter explanation for the gamma ray excess will... Continue reading
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The international team has measured the temperature of large dust grains around the young star 2MASS J16281370-2431391 in the spectacular Rho Ophiuchi star formation region, about 400 light-years from Earth, surrounded by a disc of gas and dust -- such... Continue reading
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Blombos Cave in South Africa has given us vast knowledge about our early ancestors, realigning scientific notions of the origins of early modern behavior, pushing back the dates of evidence of sophisticated cognitive actions such as flint working, ritual behaviors... Continue reading
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Although there may be exo planets billions of years older than Earth, Harvard astronomer Dimitar Sasselov believes that intelligent life may be in it's "very young" stage in the observable Universe. Its 200 billion galaxies show a clear potential to... Continue reading
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New NASA technology "will be used to support the overarching goal of the Europa mission, which is to understand the prerequisites of life in the solar system," said Sascha Kempf of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space... Continue reading
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Astronomers have mapped and measured the cosmos as far as the laws of physics allow to the very edge of the observable universe. Age and distance are vitally connected in any discussion of the universe. The light we see from... Continue reading
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"We're not sure exactly where in the sun the magnetic field is created," said Dean Pesnell, a space scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "It could be close to the solar surface or deep inside the... Continue reading