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The Interstellar Medium: Crossing the Cosmic Void

December 27, 2016

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The Interstellar Medium Crossing the Cosmic Void

Humanity’s great leap into the space between the stars has, in a sense, already begun. NASA’s Voyager 1 probe broke through the sun’s magnetic bubble to touch the interstellar wind. Voyager 2 isn’t far behind. New Horizons shot past Pluto on its way to encounters with more distant dwarf worlds, the rubble at the solar […]

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Astronomers Release the Largest Digital Sky Survey

December 27, 2016

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Pan-STARRS Releases Largest Digital Sky Survey

The Pan-STARRS project is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). “The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Dr. Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has […]

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A New Approach to Detecting Earth-Like Worlds

December 26, 2016

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Searching a Sea of ‘Noise’ to Find Exoplanets

Researchers from Yale University have developed a new approach to detect distant planets and refine the search for worlds similar to Earth. The new approach, outlined in a study published December 20 in The Astronomical Journal, relies on mathematical methods that have their foundations in physics research. Rather than trying to filter out the signal […]

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Hubble Views Two Festive-Looking Emission Nebulae

December 26, 2016

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Festive Nebulae Light Up Milky Way Galaxy Satellite

The Hubble Space Telescope captured two festive-looking emission nebulae conjoined so they appear as one. The sheer observing power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is rarely better illustrated than in an image such as this. This glowing pink nebula, named NGC 248, is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, just under 200,000 light-years away […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Megamaser IRAS 16399-0937

December 26, 2016

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Megamaser IRAS 16399-0937

This newly released Hubble image shows megamaser IRAS 16399-0937, which is located over 370 million light-years away. This galaxy has a far more exciting and futuristic classification than most — it is a megamaser. Megamasers are intensely bright, around 100 million times brighter than the masers found in galaxies like the Milky Way. The entire […]

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Statistical Analysis Shows Unexpected Interaction Between Dark Matter and Ordinary Matter

December 15, 2016

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Statistical Analysis Shows an Unexpected Interaction Between Dark Matter and Ordinary Matter

A newly published statistical analysis of mini-spiral galaxies shows an unexpected interaction between dark matter and ordinary matter. The research shows that where the relationship is obvious and cannot be explained in a trivial way within the context of the Standard Model, these objects may serve as “portals” to a completely new form of Physics […]

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Captures New Image of Jupiter

December 14, 2016

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New Image of Jupiter from Juno

This newly released Juno image highlights the seventh of eight features forming a ‘string of pearls’ on Jupiter. This image, taken by the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft, highlights the seventh of eight features forming a ‘string of pearls’ on Jupiter — massive counterclockwise rotating storms that appear as white ovals in the gas […]

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Hubble Reveals a Black Hole Ripping Apart a Passing Star

December 12, 2016

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Spinning Black Hole Swallowing Star Explains Superluminous Event

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers reveal a rapidly spinning black hole ripping apart a passing star that came too close. An extraordinarily brilliant point of light seen in a distant galaxy, and dubbed ASASSN-15lh, was thought to be the brightest supernova ever seen. But new observations from several observatories, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space […]

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Hubble Takes a Closer Look at Spiral Galaxy IC 5201

December 12, 2016

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy IC 5201

This newly released Hubble image shows spiral galaxy IC 5201, which is located 40 million light-years away. In 1900, astronomer Joseph Lunt made a discovery: Peering through a telescope at Cape Town Observatory, the British–South African scientist spotted this beautiful sight in the southern constellation of Grus (The Crane): a barred spiral galaxy now named […]

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Juno Mission Prepares for Jupiter Flyby

December 9, 2016

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Juno Prepares for December 11 Jupiter Flyby

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will make its third science flyby of Jupiter on Sunday, December 11, at 9:04 a.m. PST. At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Juno will be about 2,580 miles (4,150 kilometers) above the gas giant’s roiling cloud tops and traveling at a speed of about 129,000 mph (57.8 kilometers per second) […]

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Kepler Reveals Solar-Like Oscillations in Other Stars

December 9, 2016

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Asteroseismology of the Hyades with K2

Using the refurbished Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers studied solar-like oscillations in the Hyades open star cluster in Taurus. Our Sun vibrates due to pressure waves generated by turbulence in its upper layers (the layers dominated by convective gas motions). Helioseismology is the name given to the study of these oscillations, which can shed light on […]

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Distant Galaxy SPT 0346-52 Churning Out Stars at Remarkable Rate

December 8, 2016

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SPT 0346-52 Distant Galaxy Churning Out Stars at Remarkable Rate

Using several telescopes including Chandra, astronomers have shown that a galaxy in the early Universe called SPT0346-52 is undergoing an extraordinary burst of star formation. The absence of X-rays from Chandra shows that there is no actively growing, supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy. This means that the rate amount of infrared […]

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New Study Shows Dark Matter May Be Smoother Than Expected

December 7, 2016

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Dark Matter Smoother than Expected

Using data from the Kilo Degree Survey, a team of astronomers reveal that dark matter in the cosmic web, which accounts for about one-quarter of the content of the Universe, is less clumpy than we previously believed. Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark […]

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Reveals First Images from New Orbit

December 7, 2016

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Cassini Spacecraft Shows Saturn's Northern Hemisphere

New images from NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft from its new orbit of Saturn. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn’s atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn’s northern hemisphere, including the planet’s intriguing hexagon-shaped jet stream. Cassini began its new […]

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Cassini Spacecraft Makes First Ring-Grazing Plunge

December 6, 2016

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NASA's Cassini Makes First Ring-Grazing Plunge

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its first close dive past the outer edges of Saturn’s rings since beginning its penultimate mission phase on November 3o. Cassini crossed through the plane of Saturn’s rings on December 4 at 5:09 a.m. PST (8:09 a.m. EST) at a distance of approximately 57,000 miles (91,000 kilometers) above Saturn’s cloud tops. […]

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UVES Instrument Views Fingerprint of the Early Universe

December 5, 2016

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ESO Views Fingerprint of the Early Universe

The UVES instrument shows the light from quasar HE0940-1050 after it has traveled through the intergalactic medium. The most massive galaxies in the Universe host supermassive black holes at their centers. These truly colossal black holes chew up surrounding material at astonishing rates, expelling huge amounts of radiation as they do so and glowing as […]

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Hubble Reveals Dusty Filaments in NGC 4696

December 5, 2016

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Hubble Sees Dusty Filaments in NGC 4696

New images from Hubble reveal the intricate structure of the galaxy NGC 4696 in greater detail than ever before. The elliptical galaxy is a beautiful cosmic oddity with a bright core wrapped in system of dark, swirling, thread-like filaments. NGC 4696 is a member of the Centaurus galaxy cluster, a swarm of hundreds of galaxies […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – NGC 4388

December 5, 2016

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Hubble Telescope Views NGC 4388

This newly released Hubbleimage show NGC 4388, which is located 60 million light-years away. The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of this cosmic community, NGC 4388, is […]

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