November 30, 2016

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VLT Observations Reveal First Signs of a Strange Quantum Effect

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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November 29, 2016

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New Technique Reveals Internal Characteristics of Photonic Crystals

A New Method for Analyzing Crystal Structure

Scientists at MIT have developed a new technique that reveals the inner details of photonic crystals, synthetic materials whose exotic optical properties are the subject of widespread research. Photonic crystals are generally made by drilling millions of closely spaced, minuscule holes in a slab of transparent material, using variations of microchip-fabrication methods. Depending on the […]

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November 29, 2016

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New Yale Study Points to a Possible Treatment for a Rare Vascular Disease

Study Reveals a Possible Treatment for a Rare Vascular Disease

New research from Yale University points to a possible treatment for a rare genetic disorder that affects blood vessels. In individuals with a rare genetic disorder that affects blood vessels, arteries and veins develop abnormal connections, causing bleeding in the skin, nose, and other organs. In most cases, the condition — hereditary hemorraghic telangiectasia, or […]

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November 28, 2016

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New Study Shows Individual Lifespans Are Becoming More Similar

The Emergence of Longevous Populations

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research have discovered a novel regularity for vastly different human societies and epochs. On average, as lives get longer, the difference in the age at which people die becomes smaller. By analyzing data from 44 countries, researchers have now proven that life expectancy and the variation of […]

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November 28, 2016

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New Cassini Image Shows a Tiny Mimas, Huge Saturn Rings

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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November 28, 2016

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

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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November 28, 2016

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Hubble Image of the Week – Irregular Galaxy IC 3583

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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November 18, 2016

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New Image of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft

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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November 18, 2016

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

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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November 18, 2016

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Do Community Factors Affect Your Weight?

Does Where You Live Affect What You Weigh

A newly published study from Yale University shows that community-level factors may be associated with reduced adult obesity rates in counties within states that have a high adult obesity rate. Adult obesity rates in the United States have reached epidemic proportions, with one in four people considered obese. Yet, obesity rates vary considerably across states […]

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November 18, 2016

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No Change in Global Star Formation Process

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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November 17, 2016

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MIT Engineers Create Synthetic Cells to Isolate Genetic Circuits

Engineers Create Synthetic Cells to Isolate Genetic Circuits

Engineers from MIT have developed a way to isolate genetic circuits within individual synthetic “cells,” preventing the circuits from disrupting each other. Synthetic biology allows scientists to design genetic circuits that can be placed in cells, giving them new functions such as producing drugs or other useful molecules. However, as these circuits become more complex, […]

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November 17, 2016

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Astronomers Measure Kepler 11145123 with Unprecedented Precision

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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November 17, 2016

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NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Views Craters Takel and Cozobi

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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November 17, 2016

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Researchers Derive a Formula for Tracking the Flow of Quantum Information

New Formula Tracks the Flow of Quantum Information

A team of reserchers has developed a formula for understanding where quantum objects land when they are transmitted. If objects in motion are like rainwater flowing through a gutter and landing in a puddle, then quantum objects in motion are like rainwater that might end up in a bunch of puddles, all at once. Figuring […]

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November 16, 2016

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

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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November 16, 2016

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‘Great Valley’ Provides More Evidence That Mercury is Shrinking

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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November 15, 2016

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MIT Chemists Reveal Bacterial Enzyme That Can Produce Biodegradable Plastics

Chemists Discover Structure of Bacterial Enzyme That Generates Useful Polymers

Researchers at MIT have determined the structure of a bacterial enzyme that can produce biodegradable plastics, an advance that could help chemical engineers tweak the enzyme to make it even more industrially useful. The enzyme generates long polymer chains that can form either hard or soft plastics, depending on the starting materials that go into […]

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