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Transforming Mini-Neptunes into Habitable Super-Earths

January 29, 2015

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Transforming Mini-Neptunes into Super-Earths

A new study from the University of Washington details how strong irradiation from the host star can cause planets known as mini-Neptunes in the habitable zone to shed their gaseous envelopes and become potentially habitable worlds. Two phenomena known to inhibit the potential habitability of planets — tidal forces and vigorous stellar activity — might […]

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Titan Exposed to the Full Force of the Solar Wind

January 29, 2015

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Cassini Views Titan Fully Exposed to Solar Wind

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has observed Titan in the supersonic and super-Alfvénic solar wind, revealing that Titan’s interaction with the solar wind is in many ways similar to unmagnetized planets Mars and Venus and active comets in spite of the differences in the properties of the solar plasma in the outer solar system. Titan is large […]

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Hubble Telescope Views Spiral Galaxy NGC 7714

January 29, 2015

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy NGC 7714

This newly released Hubble image shows spiral galaxy NGC 7714, which is located 100 million light-years from Earth. This NASA Hubble Space Telescope photo of NGC 7714 presents an especially striking view of the galaxy’s smoke-ring-like structure. The golden loop is made of sun-like stars that have been pulled deep into space, far from the […]

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New VLT Image of Cometary Globule CG4

January 28, 2015

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Cometary Globule CG4

This newly released image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows cometary globule CG4, which is located about 1300 light-years from Earth. Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Although it appears to be big and bright in this […]

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A New Way to Detect the Early Stages of Massive Star Formation

January 28, 2015

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Citizen Scientists Find Mystery Objects in Space

Using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, volunteers discovered a new way to detect the early stages of massive star formation. Sometimes it takes a village to find new and unusual objects in space. Volunteers scanning tens of thousands of starry images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, using the Web-based Milky Way Project, recently stumbled […]

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HESS Discovers New Gamma Ray Sources in Large Magellanic Cloud

January 27, 2015

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New Gamma Ray Sources Discovered in Large Magellanic Cloud

The H.E.S.S. telescope system has discovered three extremely luminous gamma-ray sources in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Once again, the gamma ray observatory H.E.S.S. has demonstrated its detecting capabilities: in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the High Energy Stereoscopic System discovered most luminous high-energy gamma-ray sources. These are three objects of different type: a powerful pulsar wind […]

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Ring System Around J1407b is Roughly 200 Times Larger Than Saturn’s Rings

January 27, 2015

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Gigantic Ring System Larger Than Saturn’s

A new study from astronomers at the Leiden Observatory reveals details about the gigantic ring system around J1407b. Astronomers at the Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, and the University of Rochester, USA, have discovered that the ring system that they see eclipse the very young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions, much larger and heavier […]

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Kepler-444: An Ancient Extrasolar System with Five Sub-Earth-Size Planets

January 27, 2015

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Astronomers Discover an Ancient Extrasolar System with Five Sub-Earth-Size Planets

Using data from the Kepler spacecraft, astronomers have discovered a compact system of five transiting planets with sizes between those of Mercury and Venus. They validate this system as a true five-planet system orbiting the target star and provide a detailed characterization of its planetary and orbital parameters based on an analysis of the transit […]

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Dawn Spacecraft Captures Best-Ever View of Ceres

January 27, 2015

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Best Ever View of Ceres

The sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres were taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on January 25. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the first human-made probe to visit a dwarf planet. “We know so little about […]

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Asteroid 2004 BL86 Has a Small Moon

January 27, 2015

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Asteroid 2004 BL86 and Its Small Moon

As asteroid 2004 BL86 made its way past Earth yesterday, scientists were able to better measure the asteroid’s size, rotation and location and detected a tiny moon orbiting the asteroid. This “movie” of the asteroid was generated from radar data collected on that date by NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California. Twenty individual […]

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Research Shows a Significant Increase in the Amount of Water “Pouring” Out of Comet 67P

January 26, 2015

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Rosetta Comet Pouring More Water Into Space

Data from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft revelas that there has been a significant increase in the amount of water “pouring” out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet on which the Rosetta mission’s Philae lander touched down in November 2014. There has been a significant increase in the amount of water “pouring” out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet […]

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Hubble Image of the Week: The Polar Ring of Arp 230

January 26, 2015

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Hubble Views Lenticular Galaxy Arp 230

This newly released Hubble image shows Arp 230, which also known as IC 51. Arp 230 is a galaxy of an uncommon or peculiar shape, and is therefore part of the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies produced by Halton Arp. Its irregular shape is thought to be the result of a violent collision with another galaxy […]

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CID-42: A Recoiling, Supermassive Black Hole?

January 23, 2015

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CID-42 A Recoiling Black Hole

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics provides new insights from deep VLA data on the potentially recoiling black hole CID-42 in the COSMOS field. When galaxies collide, the central supermassive black holes that reside at their cores will end up orbiting one another in a binary pair, at least according to current simulations. […]

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Curiosity Rover Marks 11th Anniversary with Hilltop Panorama

January 23, 2015

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Curiosity Marks 11th Anniversary with Hilltop Image

In celebration of its 11th anniversary on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover captured this panorama view from the top of “Cape Tribulation.” A panorama from one of the highest elevations that NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached in its 11 years on Mars includes the U.S. flag at the summit. The view is from the […]

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Yale Astronomers Identify the First “Changing Look” Quasar

January 22, 2015

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Black Hole Creates Changing Look Quasar

A team of astronomers from Yale University have identified the first “changing look” quasar, a gleaming object in deep space that appears to have its own dimmer switch. The discovery may offer a glimpse into the life story of the universe’s great beacons. Quasars are massive, luminous objects that draw their energy from black holes. […]

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Chandra Releases Five New Images to Celebrate the International Year of Light

January 22, 2015

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Chandra Celebrates International Year of Light with New Images

To celebrate the International Year of Light (2015) new images are being released from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, along with data in other types of light from various telescopes. The year of 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light (IYL) by the United Nations. Organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in the science and […]

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Gullies Suggest Water Flowed on the Surface of Vesta

January 22, 2015

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Gullies Suggest Past Water on Vesta

A newly published study shows evidence that transient water flowed on the surface of Vesta, in a debris-flow-like process, and left distinctive geomorphologic features. Protoplanet Vesta, visited by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2013, was once thought to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its […]

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