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Herschel and Planck Identify Some of the Oldest and Rarest Galaxy Clusters

March 31, 2015

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Astronomers Identified Some of the Oldest and Rarest Galaxy Clusters

By using data from ESA’s Herschel and Planck space observatories, astronomers have discovered what could be the precursors of the vast clusters of galaxies that we see today. One telescope finds the treasure chest, and the other narrows in on the gold coins. Data from two European Space Telescope missions, Planck and Herschel, have together […]

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Mathematical Simulations Show Rocky Planets May Orbit Double Stars

March 30, 2015

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Planet Formation Around Binary Stars

In a new study, astronomers used mathematical analysis and simulations to show that it is possible for a rocky planet to form around binary stars. To date, NASA’s Kepler space telescope has found only gas-giant planets like Saturn or Neptune orbiting binary stars. March 30, 2015 – Luke Skywalker’s home in “Star Wars” is the […]

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Magnetic Fields Influence Star Formation on a Variety of Scales

March 30, 2015

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Magnetic Fields Influence Star Formation

A newly published study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that magnetic fields influence star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn’t the only […]

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HiRISE Images Reveal the Fading Scars of Mars Rover Landing

March 30, 2015

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Scars on Mars from 2012 Rover Landing Fade

A series of observations from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show how dark blast zones from the Curiosity rover have faded inconsistently. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter made the observations on multiple dates from landing to last month. After fading for about two years, the pace of change […]

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy NGC 3021

March 30, 2015

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy NGC 3021

This newly released Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3021, which lies about 100 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo Minor. Among many other types of stars, this galaxy contains Cepheid variable stars, which can be used work out the distance to the galaxy. These stars pulsate at a rate that is […]

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VLT Confirms G2 Survived Close Approach of Supermassive Black Hole

March 27, 2015

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G2 Passes Supermassive Black Hole

New VLT observations confirm that the dusty gas cloud G2 made its closest approach to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way in May 2014 and has survived the experience. The new result from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows that the object appears not to have been significantly stretched and that […]

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New Findings Will Help Light the Way to Understanding Dark Energy

March 27, 2015

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New Research Analyzes Several Sites Where Dead Stars Once Exploded

Astronomers used data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer to analyze several sites where dead stars once exploded, revealing that the Type Ia supernovae affiliated with the hot, young stars were significantly more reliable at indicating distances than their counterparts. The brilliant explosions of dead stars have been used for years to illuminate the far-flung reaches […]

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Chandra and Hubble Find Clues that May Help Identify Dark Matter

March 27, 2015

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Astronomers Find Clues that May Help Identify Dark Matter

In a newly published study, astronomers used X-rays from Chandra and optical data from Hubble to help narrow down the possibilities of what dark matter can be and to set new limits on how dark matter interacts with itself. Using observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have found that dark […]

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A Geologic History of an Ancient Martian Lake System in Jezero Crater

March 26, 2015

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Ancient Martian Lake System Records Two Water-Related Events

Using NASA data, researchers from Brown University created a geologic history of flowing water on the surface of Mars. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — Researchers from Brown University have completed a new analysis of an ancient Martian lake system in Jezero Crater, near the planet’s equator. The study finds that the onslaught of water […]

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Black Hole ‘Wind’ Influences Evolution of Its Host Galaxy

March 26, 2015

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Astronomers Link Black-Hole Wind to a Galactic Gush of Star-Forming Gas

A newly published study is the first to directly connect a galaxy’s actively ‘feeding’ black hole to features found at much larger physical scales, revealing that it’s responsible for blowing star-forming gas out of the galaxy’s central regions. By combining observations from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite and the European Space Agency’s infrared Herschel Space […]

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NASA Announces Progress on Asteroid Redirect Mission & Future Expeditions to Deep Space

March 26, 2015

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NASA Announces Next Steps on Journey to Mars and Progress on Asteroid Initiative

In a new press release, NASA details its Asteroid Redirect Mission and reveals that it has increased the detection of near-Earth asteroids by 65 percent since launching its asteroid initiative three years ago. For ARM, a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable […]

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APEX Observations Unravel the Mystery of Nova Vulpeculae 1670

March 25, 2015

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APEX Unravels the Mystery of Nova Vulpeculae 1670

New observations reveal that the star that astronomers saw appear in the sky in 1670 was not a nova, but a much rarer, violent breed of stellar collision. It was spectacular enough to be easily seen with the naked eye during its first outburst, but the traces it left were so faint that very careful […]

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Astronomers View an Outbursting Class 0 Protostar

March 24, 2015

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NASA Views Growth Spurt from Newborn Protostar

Satellite and ground-based data has revealed an outburst from HOPS 383. This is the first outburst astronomers have ever seen from a Class 0 object, and it appears to be the youngest protostellar eruption ever recorded. Using data from orbiting observatories, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities, an international team of astronomers has […]

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Curiosity Finds Evidence of Nitrates on Mars

March 24, 2015

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Curiosity Finds Biologically Useful Nitrogen on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered evidence of nitrates in scooped samples of windblown sand and dust at the “Rocknest” site, providing further evidence that the ingredients needed for life were present on Mars billions of years ago. Nitrogen is essential for all known forms of life, since it is used in the building blocks of […]

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Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite – The Search for Planets Outside Our Solar System

March 23, 2015

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TESS — Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is set to discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is an Explorer-class planet finder. In the first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey, TESS will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, orbiting a wide range of […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – A Galaxy on the Edge

March 23, 2015

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy NGC 5023

This newly released Hubble image shows an edge-on view of the spiral galaxy NGC 5023. Due to its orientation we cannot appreciate its spiral arms, but we can admire the elegant profile of its disc. The galaxy lies over 30 million light-years away from us. NGC 5023 is part of the M51 group of galaxies. […]

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“Chemical Fingerprints” Could Help Scientists Recognize Life on the Surface of Exoplanets

March 20, 2015

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Surface Biosignatures of Exoplanets May Help Detect Extraterrestrial Life

A new catalog of reflectance spectra for a diverse range of pigmented microorganisms may help scientists recognize life on the surface of planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system. A team of astronomers and biologists has recorded the “chemical fingerprints” of 137 different species of microorganism. In future, this could help to recognize life on […]

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