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Astronomers Reveal Colliding Galaxy Clusters

December 2, 2016

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Galaxy 3C438

A team of astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have concluded that the hot gas in the cluster around galaxy 3C438 is the result of a collision between two clusters of galaxies. Galaxy clusters contain a few to thousands of galaxies and are the largest bound structures in the Universe. Most galaxies are members […]

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Astronomers Reveal Potential Localized Dust Enrichment from Massive Star Clusters

December 1, 2016

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ALMA Reveals Potential Localized Dust Enrichment from Massive Star Clusters in II Zw 40

New observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array are helping to confirm a long-standing theory that stars are copious producers of heavy elements. Galaxies are often thought of as sparkling with stars, but they also contain gas and dust. Now, a team led by UCLA astronomers has used new data to show that stars are […]

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Astronomers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

December 1, 2016

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Researchers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

New research looks to solve the many mysteries of Pluto’s icy heart-shaped feature. Was Pluto’s frozen heart formed in an ancient impact basin and was it once closer to the north pole? And does the icy heart conceal a subsurface ocean? Scientists are offering several new scenarios to explain the formation of Pluto’s frozen heart-shaped […]

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VLT Observations Reveal First Signs of a Strange Quantum Effect

November 30, 2016

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First Signs of Weird Quantum Property of Empty Space?

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarization of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence. A team led by Roberto Mignani from […]

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New Cassini Image Shows a Tiny Mimas, Huge Saturn Rings

November 28, 2016

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Cassini Sees Tiny Mimas Huge Rings

In this new image from the Cassini Spacecraft, Saturn’s icy moon Mimas is dwarfed by the planet’s enormous rings. Because Mimas (near lower left) appears tiny by comparison, it might seem that the rings would be far more massive, but this is not the case. Scientists think the rings are no more than a few […]

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NASA’s Chandra Views a Stellar Circle of Life, Cygnus X-3

November 28, 2016

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Chandra Views a Stellar Circle of Life

A newly published study reveals that the supernova explosion that formed either the black hole or neutron star in Cygnus X-3 kicked the binary system away from its original birthplace, estimating that Cygnus X-3 must have been thrown out at speeds between 400,000 and 2 million miles per hour. A snapshot of the stellar life […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Irregular Galaxy IC 3583

November 28, 2016

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Hubble Views Irregular Galaxy IC 3583

This newly released Hubble image shows a delicate blue group of stars — actually an irregular galaxy named IC 3583 — located 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). It may seem to have no discernible structure, but IC 3583 has been found to have a bar of stars running through […]

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New Image of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft

November 18, 2016

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New View of Ceres from Dawn Spacecraft

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft views the shadowy, cratered terrain of Ceres in a dramatic new view of the dwarf planet. Dawn snapped this image on October 16, from its fifth science orbit, in which the angle of the sun was different from that in previous orbits. Dawn was about 920 miles (1,480 kilometers) above Ceres when […]

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New Horizons Reveals an Ocean Beneath Pluto’s Heart-Shaped Basin

November 18, 2016

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Slushy Ocean Beneath Pluto’s Surface

New data from NASA’s New Horizons Mission reveals evidence of any icy, slushy ocean beneath Pluto’s heart-shaped basin. Beneath Pluto’s “heart” lies a cold, slushy ocean of water ice, according to data from NASA’s New Horizons mission. In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the New Horizons team, including researchers from MIT, reports […]

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No Change in Global Star Formation Process

November 18, 2016

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Star Formation in the Early Universe

New research of the gas content in galaxies so distant their light has been traveling for about ten billion years suggests that the processes converting gas into stars is about the same back then as in the local universe. The first stars appeared about one hundred million years after the big bang, and ever since […]

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Astronomers Measure Kepler 11145123 with Unprecedented Precision

November 17, 2016

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Astronomers Measure the Shape of Kepler 11145123

In a newly published study, scientists from the Max Planck Institute and the University of Göttingen measure the shape of Kepler 11145123 with unprecedented precision. Stars are not perfect spheres. While they rotate, they become flat due to the centrifugal force. A team of researchers around Laurent Gizon from the Max Planck Institute for Solar […]

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NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Views Craters Takel and Cozobi

November 17, 2016

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Dawn Spacecraft Views Craters Takel and Cozobi

This newly released image from NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft shows craters Takel and Cozobi on Ceres. The craters Takel and Cozobi are featured in this image of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Takel is the young crater with bright material on the left of this image, and Cozobi is the sharply defined crater just below center. […]

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NASA’s SOFIA Set To Study New Frontiers in the Solar System and Beyond

November 16, 2016

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SOFIA Observatory Expanding New Frontiers in the Solar System and Beyond

NASA’s SOFIA flying Observatory set to study planets, comets and asteroids orbiting other stars and supermassive black holes. NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, will soon be studying Neptune’s giant moon, Triton, and following-up on Hubble’s recent sighting of water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa. According to recently completed plans for the 2017 observing […]

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‘Great Valley’ Provides More Evidence That Mercury is Shrinking

November 16, 2016

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Astronomers Reveal Great Valley on Mercury

A newly discovered “great valley” in the southern hemisphere of Mercury provides more evidence that the small planet closest to the sun is shrinking. Scientists used stereo images from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft to create a high-resolution topo map that revealed the broad valley — more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) long — extending into the […]

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GASS 3505: A Hydrogen Rich, Passive Galaxy

November 15, 2016

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Hydrogen Rich Passive Galaxy GASS-3505

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that the star formation in GASS 3505 is very weak, less than about 0.1 solar-masses per year. Cold gas in the form of neutral hydrogen atoms provides the reservoir for star formation in galaxies from the distant to the nearby Universe. Understanding how it accretes onto […]

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Cassini Spacecraft Views Saturn’s ‘Watercolor’ Swirl

November 14, 2016

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Cassini Views Saturn's 'Watercolor' Swirls

In this newly released image from the Cassini Spacecraft you can see Saturn’s north polar region, which somewhat resemble the brushwork in a watercolor painting. Each latitudinal band represents air flowing at different speeds, and clouds at different heights, compared to neighboring bands. Where they meet and flow past each other, the bands’ interactions produce […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Irregular Dwarf Galaxy NGC 4789A

November 14, 2016

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Hubble Views Irregular Dwarf Galaxy NGC 4789A

This newly released Hubble image shows irregular dwarf galaxy NGC 4789A, which is located in the constellation of Coma Berenices. It certainly lives up to its name — the stars that call this galaxy home are smeared out across the sky in an apparently disorderly and irregular jumble, giving NGC 4789A a far more subtle […]

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Get Ready for the November Supermoon

November 11, 2016

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November Supermoon

Don’t miss the upcoming supermoon on Monday, November 14. It will be the closest full moon to Earth since 1948 and we won’t see another supermoon like this until 2034. The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it […]

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