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New Cassini Images Show Titan’s Dunes and Other Features

September 7, 2016

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New Images Show Titans Dunes and Other Features

New images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft peer through the haze that surrounds Titan, revealing dunes and other interesting features. This video focuses on Shangri-la, a large, dark area on Titan filled with dunes. The long, linear dunes are thought to be comprised of grains derived from hydrocarbons that have settled out of Titan’s atmosphere. Cassini […]

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Astronomers Discover an Unusual Mix of Stars in Terzan 5

September 7, 2016

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Scientists Discover Rare Fossil Relic of Early Milky Way

An international team of astronomers has revealed the unusual mix of stars in the stellar cluster known as Terzan 5. The new results indicate that Terzan 5 is in fact one of the bulge’s primordial building blocks, most likely the relic of the very early days of the Milky Way. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope […]

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Mysterious X-Ray Signal Most Likely from Sulfur Ions, Not Dark Matter

September 6, 2016

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Mysterious X-Ray Signal Most Likely Originates from Sulfur Ions

New research shows that a recently discovered mysterious X-ray signal most likely originates from sulfur ions, not from dark matter. A mysterious X-ray signal from clusters of galaxies recently caused some excitement among astronomers: Does it perhaps originate from dark matter, which makes up around 80 percent of the matter in the universe, but which […]

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Why So Blue? ESO Views Spiral Galaxy Messier 98

September 6, 2016

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Spiral Galaxy Messier 98

This newly released image shows spiral galaxy Messier 98, which is located about 50 million light-years away. The color blue has many associations — coldness, sadness, serenity. However, the color holds a completely different meaning for astronomers, as demonstrated by the edge-on spiral galaxy Messier 98. Messier 98, also known as NGC 4192, is located […]

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Witnesses a Double Eclipse

September 6, 2016

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NASA’s SDO Views a Double Eclipse

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory viewed both Earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun. SDO keeps a constant eye on the sun, but during SDO’s semiannual eclipse seasons, Earth briefly blocks SDO’s line of sight each day – a consequence of SDO’s geosynchronous orbit. On September 1, Earth completely eclipsed the sun from […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Glowing Gas and Dark Dust in the LMC

September 6, 2016

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New Hubble Image of the Large Magellanic Cloud

A newly released image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This stormy scene shows a stellar nursery known as N159, an HII region over 150 light-years across. N159 contains many hot young stars. These […]

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Juno Images Provide an Unprecedented View of Jupiter

September 2, 2016

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New Images of Jupiter’s North Pole

Juno’s recent flyby of Jupiter has provided astronomers with images unlike anything previously seen. NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent back the first-ever images of Jupiter’s north pole, taken during the spacecraft’s first flyby of the planet with its instruments switched on. The images show storm systems and weather activity unlike anything previously seen on any […]

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ESOcast 87 – Astronomers Discuss Proxima b

September 1, 2016

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Planet Proxima b

In this six minute ESOcast video astronomers discuss the newly discovered Proxima b and the possibility of life outside our solar system. The Pale Red Dot campaign aimed to find a planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri. Incredibly, the quest succeeded and the team did indeed find a planet. Even more excitingly, the […]

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New Horizons Image Shows Pluto’s Methane Snowcaps

August 31, 2016

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New Pluto Image Shows Methane Snowcaps on the Edge of Darkness

This newly released image shows the southernmost part of Pluto that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft could “see” during closest approach in July 2015. The image contains a range of fascinating geological features, and offers clues into what might lurk in the regions shrouded in darkness during the flyby. The area shown above is south of […]

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Chandra Reveals Record-Breaking Galaxy Cluster

August 31, 2016

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Astronomers Discover Record-Breaking Galaxy Cluster

Using Chandra and several other telescopes, astronomers have found the most distant galaxy cluster to date. This cluster, called CL J1001+0220, lies about 11.1 billion light years from Earth and may have been caught right after birth, a brief, but important stage of cluster evolution never seen before. The remote galaxy cluster was found in […]

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New Cassini Image Shows a Glowing Spot on Saturn’s B Ring

August 29, 2016

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New Cassini Image Surge in the Ring

This new image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows an ethereal, glowing spot on Saturn’s B ring. There is nothing particular about that place in the rings that produces the glowing effect — instead, it is an example of an “opposition surge” making that area on the rings appear extra bright. An opposition surge occurs when […]

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NASA Probes Peculiar Age-Defying Star IRAS 19312+1950

August 29, 2016

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NASA Probes Peculiar Age-Defying Star IRAS 19312+1950

New research suggests that IRAS 19312+1950 might be a protostar a star still in the making. For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young. Researchers initially classified the star as elderly, perhaps a red supergiant. But a […]

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Astrophysicists Show Milky Way Had a Blowout Bash 6 Million Years Ago

August 29, 2016

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New Study Shows Milky Way Had a Blowout Bash 6 Million Years Ago

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics shows that the center of the Milky Way was once a very active place. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is currently a quiet place where a supermassive black hole slumbers, only occasionally slurping small sips of hydrogen gas. But it wasn’t always this way. A […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – A New View of Alpha Centauri A and B

August 29, 2016

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New Hubble Image of Alpha Centauri A and B

This newly released Hubble images shows Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. The closest star system to the Earth is the famous Alpha Centauri group. Located in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), at a distance of 4.3 light-years, this system is made up of the binary formed by the stars Alpha Centauri A […]

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A Billion or More Jupiter-Like Worlds Could Be Orbiting Stars in the Milky Way

August 26, 2016

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Scientists Compare Jupiter with Jupiter-like Planets

Using data from NASA’s Juno probe, astronomers hope to gain a better understanding of Jupiter and the the many Jupiter-like planets in our galaxy. Our galaxy is home to a bewildering variety of Jupiter-like worlds: hot ones, cold ones, giant versions of our own giant, pint-sized pretenders only half as big around. Astronomers say that […]

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Dragonfly 44 – A Massive Galaxy That Consists Almost Entirely of Dark Matter

August 25, 2016

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Galaxy Dragonfly 44

An international team of astronomers has discovered a massive galaxy that consists almost entirely of dark matter. The galaxy, Dragonfly 44, is located in the nearby Coma constellation and had been overlooked until last year because of its unusual composition: It is a diffuse “blob” about the size of the Milky Way, but with far […]

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Earth-Sized Planet Proxima b Might be Habitable

August 25, 2016

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Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

Scientists reveal that a newly discovered, roughly Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star might be habitable. Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and […]

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NASA Telescopes Reveal a Surprising Blazar Connection

August 24, 2016

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A Surprising Blazar Connection Revealed

Using data from from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers studying distant galaxies powered by monster black holes have uncovered an unexpected link between two very different wavelengths of the light they emit, the mid-infrared and gamma rays. The discovery has enabled the researchers to uncover dozens of new […]

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