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Astronomers Discover Two Distinct Families of Exocomets Around Beta Pictoris

October 24, 2014

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Tthe Most Complete Census of Comets Around Another Star

Astronomers make the most complete census of comets around another star, revealing that individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris belong to two distinct families of exocomets. The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. A French […]

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NASA Maps of Titan Reveal Large Patches of Trace Gases

October 24, 2014

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New Maps of Saturn's Moon Titan Reveal Large Patches of Trace Gases

Researchers investigating the chemical make-up of Titan’s atmosphere have discovered large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles Saturn’s moon Titan. New maps of Saturn’s moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to […]

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Astronomers Create 3D Map of the Distant Universe

October 24, 2014

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A 3D Map of the Adolescent Universe

Using a new technique similar to x-ray computer-tomographic imaging, a team of astronomers has created the first three-dimensional map of the adolescent Universe – just 3 billion years after the Big Bang. Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice […]

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Hubble Views Comet Siding Spring Passing Mars

October 24, 2014

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Hubble Views Comet Siding Spring Near Mars

This new composite image of comet Siding Spring was captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope as Sliding Spring made its never-before-seen close passage of Mars. Siding Spring, officially designated Comet C/2013 A1, made its closest approach to Mars at 2:28 p.m. EDT on October 19, at a distance of approximately 87,000 miles. That is about […]

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Chandra X-ray Observatory Image of PSR B1509-58: Illusions in the Cosmic Clouds

October 23, 2014

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Chandra Xray Observatory Image Illusions in the Cosmic Clouds

First released in 2009, this Chandra image shows PSR B1509-58 – a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles. Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space. When […]

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New Spitzer Image: Galactic Wheel of Life Shines in Infrared

October 23, 2014

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Spitzer Views Galaxy NGC 1291

A newly released image from the Spitzer Space Telescope shows galaxy NGC 1291, which is located about 33 million light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. It might look like a spoked wheel or even a “Chakram” weapon wielded by warriors like “Xena,” from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast […]

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Small-Scale Jets from the Solar Chromosphere Are Possible Sources of the Solar Wind

October 22, 2014

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Astronomers Detect Sources of the Solar Wind

In a newly published study, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveal the detection of intermittent, small-scale jets from the solar chromosphere and their possible contribution to the stellar wind. The solar chromosphere is the region between the Sun’s surface and its hot, million-degree corona. Within this complex interface zone, only a few thousand […]

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Chandra Celebrates a Decade and a Half in Space

October 22, 2014

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Chandra Archive Images

To celebrate Chandra’s decade and a half in space, a variety of composite images have been released from Chandra’s archive. Every year, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory looks at hundreds of objects throughout space to help expand our understanding of the Universe. Ultimately, these data are stored in the Chandra Data Archive, an electronic repository that […]

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Fermi Detects Hints of Starquakes in Magnetar ‘Storm’

October 22, 2014

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Fermi Discovers Signs of Starquakes in Magnetar Storm

Using data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered underlying signals related to the rapid-fire “storm” of high-energy blasts detected in 2009 from a highly magnetized neutron star. Such signals were first identified during the fadeout of rare giant flares produced by magnetars. Over the past 40 years, giant flares have been observed […]

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Research Shows Black Holes Can Block the Formation of New Stars

October 21, 2014

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Study Reveals Black Holes Can Block the Formation of New Stars

A new study from Johns Hopkins University reveals that massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, providing crucial new evidence that it is these jets of “radio-frequency feedback” streaming from mature galaxies’ central black holes that prevent hot free gas from cooling and […]

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New Optical Device to Speed the Search for Earth-Like Exoplanets

October 21, 2014

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New Optical Device Should Speed the Search for Earth-Like Exoplanets

A new laser-based technology known as the green astro-comb will allow astronomers to determine whether distant exoplanets they discover are rocky Earth-like worlds or less dense gas giants like Jupiter. Astronomers Chih-Hao Li and David Phillips of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics want to rediscover Venus—that familiar, nearby planet stargazers can see with the naked […]

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First Resolved Image of the Nucleus of a Long-Period Comet

October 21, 2014

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New NASA MRO Images of Comet Siding Spring

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured new images of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, resulting in the first resolved image of the nucleus of a long-period comet. These images were taken of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on October 19, 2014, during the comet’s close flyby of Mars and the […]

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