January 8, 2016

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New Horizons Image Reveals Curious Corner on Pluto’s Icy Plains

Pluto’s Icy Plains from New Horizons

The latest New Horizons image reveals some intriguing surface activity on Pluto. Transmitted to Earth on December 24, this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) extends New Horizons’ highest-resolution views of Pluto to the very center of Sputnik Planum, the informally named icy plain that forms the left side of Pluto’s “heart” feature. […]

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January 7, 2016

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New Study Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

New Research Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

A new study from the Max Planck Institute reveals that the mixing of archaic human forms played an important role in shaping the immune system of modern humans. When modern humans met Neanderthals in Europe and the two species began interbreeding many thousands of years ago, the exchange left humans with gene variations that have […]

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January 7, 2016

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Scientists Believe Globular Clusters Could Nurture Interstellar Civilizations

Astronomers Believe Globular Clusters Like 47 Tucanae Could Nurture Interstellar Civilizations

Astronomers believe globular star clusters might be excellent places to search for interstellar civilizations. Their crowded nature means intelligent life at our stage of technological advancement could send probes to the nearest stars. Globular star clusters are extraordinary in almost every way. They’re densely packed, holding a million stars in a ball only about 100 […]

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January 6, 2016

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New Device Harnesses the Energy of Small Bending Motions

New Device Harnesses the Energy of Small Bending Motions

Using a new method based on electrochemical principles, engineers at MIT have developed a new device that could provide electrical power source from walking and other ambient motions. For many applications such as biomedical, mechanical, or environmental monitoring devices, harnessing the energy of small motions could provide a small but virtually unlimited power supply. While […]

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January 6, 2016

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Yale Study Reveals Toxins in Fracking Fluids and Wastewater

Study Reveals Toxins in Fracking Fluids and Wastewater

New research from the Yale School of Public Health analyzed more than 1,000 chemicals in fluids used in and created by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), finding that many of the substances have been linked to reproductive and developmental health problems. Further exposure and epidemiological studies are urgently needed to evaluate potential threats to human health from […]

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January 6, 2016

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Spitzer and WISE Reveal Dozens of Runaway Stars

Astronomers Find Dozens of Runaway Stars

Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, astronomers are finding dozens of the fastest stars in our galaxy. When some speedy, massive stars plow through space, they can cause material to stack up in front of them in the same way that water piles up ahead of a ship. Called bow shocks, […]

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January 6, 2016

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Astronomers Discover “Twins” of Eta Carinae in Other Galaxies

NASA Finds "Twins" of Superstar Eta Carinae in Other Galaxies

Using the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, astronomers have discovered Eta Carinae “twins” in other galaxies that will help scientists better understand this brief phase in the life of a massive star. Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years, is best known for an enormous eruption seen in the mid-19th […]

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January 5, 2016

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Chandra Reveals Supermassive Black Hole Undergoing Powerful Outbursts

NASA's Chandra Finds Supermassive Black Hole

Using Chandra observations, astronomers have discovered one of the nearest supermassive black holes to Earth that is currently undergoing powerful outbursts. Such outbursts are part of the “feedback” process that is important to the evolution of the black hole and its host galaxy. Evidence for powerful blasts produced by a giant black hole has been […]

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January 4, 2016

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Astronomers Use G1 and G2 to Probe the Accretion Flow Feeding Sgr A*

Astronomers Use Gas Clouds to Probe the Accretion Flow Feeding Sgr A

New research uses the G1 and G2 gas clouds to probe the accretion flow feeding Sgr A∗. The center of our Milky Way galaxy, about twenty-five thousand light years from Earth, is invisible to us in optical light because of the extensive amounts of absorbing, intervening dust. Radiation at many other wavelengths, however, including the […]

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January 4, 2016

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NASA Looks Back at the ‘Year of Pluto’

New Horizons High-Resolution Image of Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made history this year giving us a close-up view of Pluto for the first time. Now it will start the New Year some 125 million miles (200 million kilometers) beyond Pluto, far removed from the excitement and activity that accompanied its historic flight through the Pluto system just five months ago. […]

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January 4, 2016

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Hubble Image of the Week – Spiral Galaxy NGC 4845

Hubble Image of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4845

This newly released Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 4845, which is located over 65 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). The galaxy’s orientation clearly reveals the galaxy’s striking spiral structure: a flat and dust-mottled disc surrounding a bright galactic bulge. NGC 4845’s glowing center hosts a gigantic version of […]

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December 30, 2015

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El Niño Continues to Grow, Set to Bear Down on U.S.

A Still-Growing El Niño Set to Bear Down on USA

The latest satellite image from the U.S./European Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 mission shows that the current strong El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean shows no signs of waning. El Niño 2015 has already created weather chaos around the world. Over the next few months, forecasters expect the United States to feel its impacts […]

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December 28, 2015

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Chandra Observations Reveal Magnetic Fields in Powerful Radio Jets

Deep Chandra observations of Pictor A

New observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory reveal that the X-ray emissions from Pictoris A are produced by rapidly moving charged particles in magnetic fields. Super-massive black holes at the centers of galaxies can spawn tremendous bipolar jets when matter in the vicinity forms a hot, accreting disk around the black hole. The rapidly moving […]

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December 28, 2015

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Views Boulders on a Martian Landslide

New Image from the Mars Orbiter

This highly detailed image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows boulders on the surface of Mars. The striking feature in this image, acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on March 19, 2014, is a boulder-covered landslide along a canyon wall. Landslides occur when steep slopes fail, […]

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December 28, 2015

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Hubble Image of the Week: Galaxy NGC 6052

Hubble Views Galaxy NGC 6052

This Hubble image of the week shows the galaxy NGC 6052, which is located around 230 million light-years away in the constellation of Hercules. It would be reasonable to think of this as a single abnormal galaxy, and it was originally classified as such. However, it is in fact a “new” galaxy in the process […]

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December 24, 2015

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Engineers Develop New Lightweight Metal from Carbide Nanoparticles

Magnesium Infused with Dense Silicon Carbide Nanoparticles

Using magnesium infused with dense silicon carbide nanoparticles, engineers from UCLA have developed an exceptionally strong and lightweight metal that could be used for airplanes, cars, mobile electronics and more. A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has created a super-strong yet light structural metal with […]

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December 24, 2015

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ESOcast 79 Video Explores 20 Years of Exoplanets

Astronomers Discover Jupiter-Like Exoplanet 51 Eridani b

This seven minute video from the European Southern Observatory details the discovery of exoplanets over the last twenty years. Not a single confirmed planet outside the Solar System had been detected before the year 1990. But, remarkably, we now know of thousands and have studied many in surprising detail. This ESOcast takes a look at […]

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December 24, 2015

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A Holiday Gift from NASA – Christmas Pluto

Christmas Pluto

This false color image of Pluto is perfect for the holiday season. Pluto gets into the holiday spirit, decked out in red and green. This image was produced by the New Horizons composition team, using a pair of Ralph/LEISA instrument scans obtained at approximately 9:40 AM on July 14, from a mean range of 67,000 […]

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