June 29, 2016

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MIT Geologists Trace Mercury’s Origins to Rare Meteorite

Astronomers Trace Mercury’s Origins to Rare Meteorite

A newly published study shows that Mercury underwent a period of rapid cooling and that the planet likely has the composition of an enstatite chondrite — a type of meteorite that is extremely rare here on Earth. Around 4.6 billion years ago, the universe was a chaos of collapsing gas and spinning debris. Small particles […]

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June 29, 2016

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New Hydrogel Hybrid Could Be Used To Make Artificial Skin

MIT Develops Tough Hydrogel Hybrid

MIT engineers have developed a method to bind gelatin-like polymer materials called hydrogels and elastomers, which could be used to make artificial skin and longer-lasting contact lenses. If you leave a cube of Jell-O on the kitchen counter, eventually its water will evaporate, leaving behind a shrunken, hardened mass — hardly an appetizing confection. The […]

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June 29, 2016

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Astronomers Prepare for the Arrival of Juno at Jupiter

VLT Image of Jupiter

In preparation for the July arrival of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, astronomers used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to obtain new infrared images of Jupiter. They are part of a campaign to create high-resolution maps of the giant planet. These observations will inform the work to be undertaken by Juno over the coming months, helping astronomers to […]

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June 28, 2016

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Hubble Image Reveals ‘Stellar Fireworks’ in Kiso 5639

Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in 'Skyrocket' Galaxy

New research shows that a stellar fireworks show is lighting up one end of galaxy Kiso 5639. Astronomers suggest that the frenzied star birth is sparked by intergalactic gas raining on one end of the galaxy as it drifts through space. Fireworks shows are not just confined to Earth’s skies. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has […]

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June 28, 2016

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Astronomers Measure the Intrinsic Shape of the Milky Way’s Black Hole

Measuring the Shape of the Milky Way's Black Hole

A newly published study details how astronomers successfully measured the intrinsic shape of Sagittarius A* at 3.5-mm wavelength. At the heart of our galaxy’s center is Sgr A*, a supermassive black hole containing about four million solar-masses of material. Sgr A* is relatively faint, unlike the supermassive black holes in some other galaxies. This is […]

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June 27, 2016

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Yale Study Reveals How a Cancer Gene Promotes Tumor Growth

How a Cancer Gene Promotes Tumor Growth

A new discovery by Yale researchers may help lead to individualized treatments for lung cancer and other types of cancer. A Yale-led study describes how a known cancer gene, EGFR, silences genes that typically suppress tumors. The finding, published in Cell Reports, may lead to the development of more effective, individualized treatment for patients with […]

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June 27, 2016

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New Cassini Image of Saturn’s Rings and the Icy Moon Enceladus

Cassini Views Saturn's Rings and the Icy Moon Enceladus

This newly released Cassini image shows Saturn’s rings and the icy moon Enceladus. At first glance, the most obvious features in this image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft are Saturn’s rings and the icy moon Enceladus. Upon closer inspection, Saturn’s night side is also visible (near top center), faintly illuminated by sunlight reflected off the rings. […]

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June 27, 2016

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Low-Mass Black Hole May Represent New Population

Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population

By combining data from Chandra and several other telescopes, astronomers have identified the true nature of an unusual source in the Milky Way galaxy. This object contains a very quiet black hole, a few times the Sun’s mass, about 7,200 light years from Earth. This discovery implies that there could be many more black holes […]

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June 27, 2016

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Hubble Reveals the Iridescent Interior of NGC 1569

Hubble Views the Iridescent Interior of NGC 1569

This newly released Hubble image reveals the iridescent interior of one of the most active galaxies in our local neighborhood — NGC 1569, a small galaxy located about eleven million light-years away in the constellation of Camelopardalis (The Giraffe). This galaxy is currently a hotbed of vigorous star formation. NGC 1569 is a starburst galaxy, […]

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June 24, 2016

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New Horizons Reveals a ‘Super Grand Canyon’ on Charon

Astronomers Discover "Super Grand Canyon" on Pluto’s Moon Charon

Images from NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft reveal an unusual canyon system that’s far longer and deeper than the Grand Canyon. The inset above magnifies a portion of the eastern limb in the global view of Charon at left, imaged by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft several hours before its closest approach on July 14, 2015. A […]

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June 23, 2016

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Astronomers Discover X-Ray Echoes from a Black Hole That Shattered a Passing Star

X-ray Echoes of a Shredded Star Provide Close-up of Black Hole

Using data from the Swift Satellite, astronomers have identified the reflections of X-ray flares erupting from a star that was shattered by a black hole. Some 3.9 billion years ago in the heart of a distant galaxy, the intense tidal pull of a monster black hole shredded a star that passed too close. When X-rays […]

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June 23, 2016

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Hubble Telescope Confirms New Dark Spot on Neptune

New Dark Spot on Neptune Confirmed

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has confirmed the presence of a dark vortex in the atmosphere of Neptune. Though similar features were seen during the Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune in 1989 and by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994, this vortex is the first one observed on Neptune in the 21st century. The discovery was […]

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June 22, 2016

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The Search for Life on Other Worlds Continues

Astronmers Seek Life on Other Worlds

The search for Earth-like planets has intensified as astronomers continue to look for potential life on other worlds. Now one of the leading exoplanet hunters is being recognized for his contributions to science. On Tuesday, Harvard University astronomy professor David Charbonneau was honored as one of three winners of the 2016 Blavatnik National Awards for […]

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June 22, 2016

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NASA Juno Mission Trailer – Jupiter: Into the Unknown

NASA Juno Mission Trailer

This short video details NASA’s Juno Mission as it prepares to explore uncharted territory this July. Secrets lie deep within Jupiter, shrouded in the solar system’s strongest magnetic field and most lethal radiation belts. On July 4, 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will plunge into uncharted territory, entering orbit around the gas giant and passing closer […]

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June 21, 2016

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Shadow Below – New Cassini Image of Saturn

New Cassini Image of the Planet Saturn

This newly released Cassini image of Saturn was captured this past March. As Saturn’s northern hemisphere summer approaches, the shadows of the rings creep ever southward across the planet. Here, the ring shadows appear to obscure almost the entire southern hemisphere, while the planet’s north pole and its six-sided jet stream, known as “the hexagon,” […]

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June 21, 2016

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XMM-Newton Reveals the First ‘Wind Nebula’ Around a Magnetar

Astronomers Find Wind Nebula Around a Magnetar

Using the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, a team of astronomers has discovered a vast cloud of high-energy particles around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star for the first time. The find offers a unique window into the properties, environment and outburst history of magnetars, which are the strongest magnets in the universe. A neutron star is the […]

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June 20, 2016

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ALMA Reveals Methanol in the TW Hydrae Protoplanetary Disk

New Study Shows Comets are Forming in Distant Solar System

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have discovered the organic molecule methyl alcohol (methanol) in the protoplanetary disk around the star TW Hydrae. This is the first such detection of the compound in a young planet-forming disk, and points to a region where comets are forming. Astronomers announced that they have found the […]

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June 20, 2016

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Astronomers Confirm Youngest Known Transiting Exoplanet

New Study Confirms Youngest Transiting Exoplanet to Date

Using the MEarth-North and MEarth-South arrays, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the youngest known planet, only 11 million years old, which transits its star once every 5.4 days. The existence of this infant world was first detected by NASA’s Kepler K2 mission. “Young stars tend to be very blotchy, with starspots that can mimic […]

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