December 17, 2015

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Scientists Should Focus on Changes in Species to Recognize and Avoid a Mass Extinction

Reserachers Examine Rarity in Mass Extinctions and the Future of Ecosystems

New research from Yale University urges scientists to move their focus from species extinction to species rarity in order to recognize, and avoid, a mass extinction in the modern world. Writing in the journal Nature the week of December 16, Yale’s Pincelli Hull and colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution argue that modern extinction rates may […]

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December 17, 2015

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Cassini Prepares for Its Final Close Flyby of Enceladus

Cassini Spacecraft Closes in on Enceladus for the Last Time

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will make its final close flyby of the ocean-bearing moon Enceladus on December 19, 2015. A thrilling chapter in the exploration of the solar system will soon conclude, as NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft makes its final close flyby of the ocean-bearing moon Enceladus. Cassini is scheduled to fly past Enceladus at a […]

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December 17, 2015

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Hubble Views Turbulent Birthing Ground Orion B Molecular Cloud Complex

Hubble Sees a Turbulent Birthing Ground for New Stars

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope views a newborn star shooting twin jets out into space as a sort of birth announcement to the universe. Just in time for the release of the movie “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has photographed what looks like a cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber. “Science fiction has […]

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December 16, 2015

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New Results from Large Underground Xenon (LUX) Dark Matter Experiment

New Results from the Large Underground Xenon Dark Matter Experiment

A new set of calibration techniques employed by LUX scientists has dramatically improved the sensitivity of the LUX Dark Matter Experiment. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which operates nearly a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has already proven itself to be […]

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December 16, 2015

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New Research Reveals How Cancer Cells Escape Blood Vessels

Scientists Reveal How Cancer Cells Escape Blood Vessels

A newly published study from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital reveals how cancer cells latch onto blood vessels and invade tissues to form new tumors — a finding that could help researchers develop drugs that inhibit this process and prevent cancers from metastasizing. Cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream can stick to blood vessel walls […]

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December 16, 2015

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Hospital Price Study Reveals ‘Mind-Boggling’ Variation Across USA

Hospital Prices Show Mind-Boggling Variation Across USA

A new study from Yale University economists reveals that the prices hospitals negotiate with health insurance companies vary enormously within and across geographic regions in the United States. For example, the study shows that in 2011 hospital prices for lower-limb MRIs were 12 times higher in the most expensive region of the United States (Bronx, […]

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December 16, 2015

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FORTIS Rocket Ready for Launch, Set to Study Extra-Galactic Dust

FORTIS Sounding Rocket to Study Extra-Galactic Dust

NASA prepares to launch the FORTIS sounding rocket, which will study far-ultraviolet light from galaxy NGC 1365 to understand how material is flowing in and out of the galaxy. This month, the NASA-funded FORTIS sounding rocket—short for Far-ultraviolet Off Rowland-circle Telescope for Imaging and Spectroscopy—will launch from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico […]

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December 15, 2015

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Astronomers Use Galaxy Clusters to Shed Light on the Universe’s Dark Side

Galaxy Clusters Shed Light on Dark Matter and Dark Energy

Astronomers hope that by studying the properties of galaxy clusters at different stages in the history of the Universe they can shed light on the dark matter and dark energy. ESO telescopes have provided an international team of astronomers with the gift of the third dimension in a plus-sized hunt for the largest gravitationally bound […]

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December 15, 2015

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ALMA Telescope Reveals Planetary Influences on Young Stellar Disks

ALMA Reveals Planetary Influences on Young Stellar Disks

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics shows that the gas cavity in transition disks in four young stars was as much as three times smaller than the dust cavity, and that the gas density inside the cavity drops by at least a factor of one thousand compared to the surface density. A newborn […]

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December 15, 2015

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VERITAS Detects Gamma Rays from Distant Galaxy PKS 1441+25

VERITAS Detects Gamma Rays from Galaxy PKS 1441+25

Using the VERITAS array, astronomers have detected gamma rays from a blazar known as PKS 1441+25. The research shows that the source of the gamma rays were surprisingly far from the galaxy’s black hole – at least a tenth of a light-year away, and most likely about 5 light-years away. In April 2015, after traveling […]

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December 14, 2015

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Scientists Develop “Kill Switches” for Engineered Bacteria

Engineered Bacteria with Kill Switches

To prevent genetically modified bacteria from escaping into the wider environment, MIT researchers have developed safeguards in the form of two so-called “kill switches,” which they call “Deadman” and “Passcode.” These kill switches can cause synthetic bacteria to die without the presence of certain chemicals. Many research teams are developing genetically modified bacteria that could […]

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December 14, 2015

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Bull’s-Eye Moons – Cassini Views Enceladus and Tethys

Cassini Views Enceladus and Tethys and Saturn's Rings

Like a cosmic bull’s-eye, Enceladus and Tethys line up almost perfectly in this new Cassini image. Since the two moons are not only aligned, but also at relatively similar distances from Cassini, the apparent sizes in this image are a good approximation of the relative sizes of Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) and […]

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December 14, 2015

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Space Telescopes Reveal Details of Ten Jupiter-Sized Exoplanet Atmospheres

Hubble Reveals Diversity of Jupiter-Sized Exoplanet Atmospheres

Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, a team of astronomers details the atmospheres of ten Jupiter-sized exoplanets and was able to discover why some of these worlds seem to have less water than expected — a long-standing mystery. The results are published in “Nature”. To date, astronomers have discovered nearly 2000 […]

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December 14, 2015

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Hubble Image of the Week: Globular Cluster Terzan 1

Hubble Views Globular Cluster Terzan 1

This newly released Hubble image shows the globular cluster Terzan 1, which is located 20,000 light-years away. This image, taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the globular cluster Terzan 1. Lying around 20 000 light-years from us in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), it […]

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December 11, 2015

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Astronomers Discover a Jupiter-Like Storm on Star W1906+40

NASA Detects Jupiter Like Storm on Small Star W1906+40

Using data from the Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, astronomers reveal that the small star called W1906+40 has a giant storm much like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a tiny star with a giant, cloudy storm, using data from NASA’s Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes. The dark storm is […]

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December 11, 2015

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Chandra Reveals a Pulsar on the Southern Edge the Jellyfish Nebula

Close-up X-Ray Image of IC443

New Chandra observations reveal a pulsar on the southern edge the Jellyfish Nebula and provide details about the structure and properties of this pulsar. The Jellyfish Nebula, also known by its official name IC 443, is the remnant of a supernova lying 5,000 light years from Earth. New Chandra observations show that the explosion that […]

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December 11, 2015

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New Horizons Zooms in on Pluto’s Heart-Shaped Region

New Zoomed In Image of Pluto’s Surface

This newly released image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is the highest resolution image ever obtained of Pluto’s heart-shaped region. On July 14 the telescopic camera on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took the highest resolution images ever obtained of the intricate pattern of “pits” across a section of Pluto’s prominent heart-shaped region, informally named Tombaugh […]

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December 10, 2015

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Yale Researchers Discover New Complexities Behind Drug Resistance

New Study Probes Genes for Clues to Drug Resistance in Aggressive Breast Cancer

New research from Yale University probes genes for clues to drug resistance in aggressive breast cancer. By sifting through the 20,000 protein-encoding genes in the human genome, Yale researchers discovered new complexities behind drug resistance and identified patterns of mutations that could predict which therapies will benefit patients with aggressive breast cancer. The findings will […]

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