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Astronomers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

December 1, 2016

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Researchers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

New research looks to solve the many mysteries of Pluto’s icy heart-shaped feature. Was Pluto’s frozen heart formed in an ancient impact basin and was it once closer to the north pole? And does the icy heart conceal a subsurface ocean? Scientists are offering several new scenarios to explain the formation of Pluto’s frozen heart-shaped […]

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VLT Observations Reveal First Signs of a Strange Quantum Effect

November 30, 2016

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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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New Cassini Image Shows a Tiny Mimas, Huge Saturn Rings

November 28, 2016

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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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New Image of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft

November 18, 2016

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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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‘Great Valley’ Provides More Evidence That Mercury is Shrinking

November 16, 2016

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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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Cassini Spacecraft Views Saturn’s ‘Watercolor’ Swirl

November 14, 2016

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Cassini Views Saturn's 'Watercolor' Swirls

In this newly released image from the Cassini Spacecraft you can see Saturn’s north polar region, which somewhat resemble the brushwork in a watercolor painting. Each latitudinal band represents air flowing at different speeds, and clouds at different heights, compared to neighboring bands. Where they meet and flow past each other, the bands’ interactions produce […]

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Get Ready for the November Supermoon

November 11, 2016

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November Supermoon

Don’t miss the upcoming supermoon on Monday, November 14. It will be the closest full moon to Earth since 1948 and we won’t see another supermoon like this until 2034. The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it […]

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Spitzer and Swift Observe Microlensing Event, Pinpoint Brown Dwarf

November 10, 2016

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NASA Pinpoints Elusive Brown Dwarf

Using NASA’s Spitzer and Swift Space Telescopes, astronomers discovered a brown dwarf when it and its star passed between Earth and a much more distant star in our galaxy. This passing created a microlensing event, where the gravity of the system amplified the light of the background star over the course of several weeks. In […]

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ESO Views Protoplanetary Discs Being Shaped by Newborn Planets

November 9, 2016

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ESO’s SPHERE Instrument Reveals Protoplanetary Discs Being Shaped by Newborn Planets

Using data from the SPHERE instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers reveal protoplanetary discs being shaped by newborn planets. Sharp new observations have revealed striking features in planet-forming discs around young stars. The SPHERE instrument, mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has made it possible to observe the complex dynamics of young solar […]

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Hubble Views Lenticular Galaxy NGC 1222

November 7, 2016

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Hubble Image of the Week NGC 1222

This newly released Hubble image shows lenticular galaxy NGC 1222, which is located 100 milion light-years away. NGC 1222, seen in this image taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST), is a galaxy with a rather eventful story to tell. NGC 1222 has been described as a […]

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MIT Engineers Design a New Weapon Against Bacteria

November 2, 2016

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Engineers Design a New Weapon Against Bacteria

An international team of engineers has developed an antimicrobial peptide that can destroy many types of bacteria, including some that are resistant to most antibiotics. Over the past few decades, many bacteria have become resistant to existing antibiotics, and few new drugs have emerged. A recent study from a U.K. commission on antimicrobial resistance estimated […]

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Captures a New View of Saturn

October 31, 2016

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New Cassini View from Above Saturn

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft views Saturn from above. Saturn appears as a serene globe amid tranquil rings in this view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. In reality, the planet’s atmosphere is an ever-changing scene of high-speed winds and evolving weather patterns, punctuated by occasional large storms. The rings, consist of countless icy particles, which are continually colliding. […]

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NASA GRAIL Mission Provides Insights into Moon Impacts

October 28, 2016

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New Research on Lunar Impacts

Astronomers are using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission to provide new insights into the huge impacts that dominated the early history of Earth’s moon and other solid worlds, like Earth, Mars, and the satellites of the outer solar system. In two papers, published this week in the journal Science, researchers examine […]

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Astronomers Discover a Young Triple Protostar System

October 27, 2016

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A Triple Protostar System

A team of astronomers has seen a dusty disk of material around a young star fragmenting into a multiple-star system for the first time. Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array revealed the process in action. “This new work directly supports the conclusion that there are two […]

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Astronomers Find Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars

October 26, 2016

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Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars Discovered

A new survey by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope indicates that halos around quasars are far more common than expected. The properties of the halos in this surprising find are also in striking disagreement with currently accepted theories of galaxy formation in the early Universe. An international collaboration of astronomers, led by […]

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Two-Pronged Immune Response Destroys Tumors

October 24, 2016

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New Treatment Elicits Two-Pronged Immune Response That Destroys Tumors in Mice

Using a combination of four different therapies, researchers from MIT reveal a new treatment that destroys tumors in mice. Harnessing the body’s own immune system to destroy tumors is a tantalizing prospect that has yet to realize its full potential. However, a new advance from MIT may bring this strategy, known as cancer immunotherapy, closer […]

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Astronomers Reveal That Uranus May Have Two Undiscovered Moons

October 21, 2016

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New Study Suggests Uranus May Have Two Undiscovered Moons

New research suggests that there could be two previously undiscovered moonlets orbiting near Uranus’ rings. Rob Chancia, a University of Idaho doctoral student, spotted key patterns in the rings while examining decades-old images of Uranus’ icy rings taken by Voyager 2 in 1986. He noticed the amount of ring material on the edge of the […]

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VLT Provides Highest Resolution Image to Date of Eta Carinae

October 19, 2016

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VLT Provides Highest Resolution Image of Eta Carinae

Using the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, a team of astronomers reveals the Eta Carinae star system in the greatest detail ever achieved. High-resolution images reveal new and unexpected structures within the Eta Carinae binary system, including in the area between the two stars where extremely high velocity stellar winds are colliding. These new insights into […]

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