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Life Possible on Saturn’s Moon Titan

March 2, 2015

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Life Possible on Titan

In a new study, chemical engineers and astronomers from Cornell University reveal that Titan could harbor methane-based, oxygen-free cells that metabolize, reproduce and do everything life on Earth does. Liquid water is a requirement for life on Earth. But in other, much colder worlds, life might exist beyond the bounds of water-based chemistry. Taking a […]

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Astrophysicists Investigate Where Stars Form in Merging Galaxies

February 27, 2015

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The Spatial Extent of Induced Star Formation

Researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics simulated galaxy collisions under a wide range of conditions in order to investigate the question of where the induced star formation is located. Collisions between galaxies, and even less dramatic gravitational encounters between them, are recognized as triggering star formation. Observations of luminous galaxies, powered by starbursts, are […]

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Chandra Discovers Intermediate-Mass Black Hole in Spiral Galaxy NGC 2276

February 26, 2015

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Astronomers Discover a New Object in Galaxy NGC 2276

Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered a newly cosmic object that may help provide answers to some long-standing questions about how black holes evolve and influence their surroundings. “In paleontology, the discovery of certain fossils can help scientists fill in the evolutionary gaps between different dinosaurs,” said Mar Mezcua of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center […]

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New Form of Quantum Friction Observed

February 25, 2015

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Yale Physicists Discover a New Form of Quantum Friction

Physicists at Yale University have observed a new form of quantum friction that could open new avenues in the fields of nonlinear quantum optics and quantum information, where systems with multi-dimensional steady state manifolds can be used as error corrected logical qubits. The researchers have experimentally confined the state of a harmonic oscillator to the […]

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Dawn Spacecraft Shows Crater Shapes on Ceres’ Surface

February 25, 2015

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New Images of Dwarf Planet Ceres

These new images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft show the full range of different crater shapes that can be found at Ceres’ surface: From shallow, flattish craters to those with peaks at their centers. Dwarf planet Ceres continues to puzzle scientists as NASA’s Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the object. The […]

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Painkillers with Fewer Side Effects

February 24, 2015

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Paving the Way for Painkillers with Fewer Side Effects

Scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory are paving the way for a new generation of pain relievers with reduced dependency. Researchers have long sought alternatives to morphine – a powerful and widely used painkiller – that curb its side effects, including dependency, nausea and dizziness. Now, an experiment at the Department of Energy’s SLAC […]

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Nanotubular Structures Enable a Direct Exchange of Nutrients Between Bacteria

February 23, 2015

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Bacteria Connect to Each Other Via Nanotubes

New research from the Max Planck Institute shows that some bacteria can form nanotubular structures between single cells that enable a direct exchange of nutrients. It is well-known that bacteria can support each others’ growth and exchange nutrients. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and their colleagues at the […]

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NuSTAR and XMM-Newton Telescopes Give Shape to Black Hole Winds

February 20, 2015

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NuSTAR and XMM-Newton Telescopes Reveal Furious Black Hole Winds

Using NASA’s NuSTAR and ESA’s XMM-Newton telescopes astronomers have measured the strength of ultra-fast winds from a supermassive black hole, proving that the winds are powerful enough to inhibit the host galaxy’s ability to make new stars. NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds […]

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Dark Matter Influences Supermassive Black Hole Growth

February 19, 2015

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Dark Matter Guides Growth of Supermassive Black Holes

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the ROSAT X-ray satellite’s all-sky survey, researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics detail a distinct relationship between the mass of a dark matter halo and the mass of a black hole. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Every massive galaxy has a black hole at its center, and […]

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Marijuana Munchies: How the Appetite Center of the Brain Responds to Marijuana

February 18, 2015

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Marijuana Munchies How the Brain Flips the Hunger Switch

A new study from Yale University observes how the appetite center of the brain responds to marijuana, revealing what drives the hunger brought about by cannabis and how that same mechanism that normally turns off feeding becomes a driver of eating. The “munchies,” or that uncontrollable urge to eat after using marijuana, appear to be […]

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NASA’s Dawn Captures Sharper Images of Ceres

February 17, 2015

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Dawn Captures Sharper Image of Ceres

This new image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft reveals more details of the dwarf planet Ceres. Craters and mysterious bright spots are beginning to pop out in the latest images of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. These images, taken February 12 at a distance of 52,000 miles (83,000 kilometers) from the dwarf planet, pose intriguing questions […]

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Scientists Find Link in How Cells Start Process Necessary for Life

February 16, 2015

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Researchers Find Link in How Cells Start Process Necessary for Life

While exploring whether a structured RNA molecule from a virus that infects eukaryotic cells could function in bacteria, scientists found that it could initiate protein syntheses – a process necessary for life. Aurora, Colorado – Researchers have found an RNA structure-based signal that spans billions of years of evolutionary divergence between different types of cells, […]

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Astronomers Discover a Rare Planet, Kepler-432b

February 13, 2015

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Astronomers Discover Rare Planet

Astronomers have discovered a rare red planet that has the six times the mass of Jupiter, but is about the same size. Two research groups of Heidelberg astronomers have independently of each other discovered a rare planet. The celestial body, called Kepler-432b, is one of the most dense and massive planets known so far. The […]

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Astronomers Discover a New Class of Binary Stars

February 12, 2015

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Astronomers Identify 18 Extreme Mass-Ratio Binary Stars

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered a new class of binary stars; one star is fully formed while the other is still in its infancy. Cambridge, Massachusetts – The majority of stars in our galaxy come in pairs. In particular, the most massive stars usually have a companion. These fraternal twins tend […]

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VLA Reveals Unexpected “Storm” in Teacup Galaxy

February 11, 2015

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VLA Finds Storm in Teacup Galaxy

Astronomers used VLA data, combined with VIMOS IFU data and HST imaging to reveal that a supermassive black hole is explosively heating and blasting around the gas the Teacup Galaxy, transforming it from an actively star-forming galaxy into one devoid of gas that can no longer form stars. Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Very […]

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Evidence for the Presence of Dark Matter in the Innermost Part of the Milky Way

February 10, 2015

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Researchers Find Evidence for Dark Matter in the Inner Milky Way

A new study from astrophysicists at Stockholm University provides evidence for the presence of dark matter in the innermost part of the Milky Way, including in our own cosmic neighborhood and the Earth’s location. The study demonstrates that large amounts of dark matter exist around us, and also between us and the Galactic center. The […]

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Astronomers Measure the Rotation Periods of Thirty Sun-Like Stars

February 9, 2015

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Astronomers Measure the Rotation Periods of Sun-Like Stars

Using the precise data from the Kepler exoplanet mission, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have determined the rotation period measurements for 30 cool stars in the 2.5- billion-year-old stellar cluster NGC 6819. The mass of a star is perhaps its most significant feature. It determines how brightly it shines (a star ten times […]

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