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Astrophysicists Show Milky Way Had a Blowout Bash 6 Million Years Ago

August 29, 2016

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New Study Shows Milky Way Had a Blowout Bash 6 Million Years Ago

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics shows that the center of the Milky Way was once a very active place. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is currently a quiet place where a supermassive black hole slumbers, only occasionally slurping small sips of hydrogen gas. But it wasn’t always this way. A […]

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A Billion or More Jupiter-Like Worlds Could Be Orbiting Stars in the Milky Way

August 26, 2016

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Scientists Compare Jupiter with Jupiter-like Planets

Using data from NASA’s Juno probe, astronomers hope to gain a better understanding of Jupiter and the the many Jupiter-like planets in our galaxy. Our galaxy is home to a bewildering variety of Jupiter-like worlds: hot ones, cold ones, giant versions of our own giant, pint-sized pretenders only half as big around. Astronomers say that […]

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Earth-Sized Planet Proxima b Might be Habitable

August 25, 2016

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Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

Scientists reveal that a newly discovered, roughly Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star might be habitable. Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and […]

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NASA Telescopes Reveal a Surprising Blazar Connection

August 24, 2016

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A Surprising Blazar Connection Revealed

Using data from from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers studying distant galaxies powered by monster black holes have uncovered an unexpected link between two very different wavelengths of the light they emit, the mid-infrared and gamma rays. The discovery has enabled the researchers to uncover dozens of new […]

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MIT Biological Engineers Program Human Cells to Store Complex Histories in Their DNA

August 22, 2016

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Recording Analog Memories in Human Cells

Newly published research details how biological engineers from MIT developed a way to record complex histories in the DNA of human cells, allowing them to retrieve “memories” of past events by sequencing the DNA. This analog memory storage system — the first that can record the duration and/or intensity of events in human cells — […]

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Exoplanet GJ 1132b Might Have a Thin Oxygen Atmosphere

August 18, 2016

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Venus-like Exoplanet GJ 1132b Might Have Oxygen Atmosphere

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that the Venus-like Exoplanet GJ 1132b might possess a thin, oxygen atmosphere – but no life due to its extreme heat. The distant planet GJ 1132b intrigued astronomers when it was discovered last year. Located just 39 light-years from Earth, it might have an atmosphere despite […]

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Chandra Data Raises Questions about the Timing and Origin of Supernova Remnant G11.2-0.3

August 18, 2016

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New Chandra Data of the Supernova Remnant G11

New Chandra data of the supernova remnant G11.2-0.3 raise new questions about the timing of its origin. Chandra observations show that dense gas clouds lie along the line of sight between Earth and G11.2-0.3, meaning that the supernova explosion would have been too faint to be seen with the naked eye from Earth. A new […]

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Iris Nebula Offers Clues to the Building Blocks of Life

August 16, 2016

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Molecules in Nebula NGC 7023 Offer Clues to the Building Blocks of Life

Using data from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy and other observatories, astronomers reveal how a particular type of organic molecules, the raw materials for life – could develop in space. This information could help scientists better understand how life could have developed on Earth. Bavo Croiset of Leiden University in the Netherlands and his […]

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Hubble Telescope Views Exploding White Dwarf Star

August 15, 2016

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Hubble Views Exploding White Dwarf

This newly released Hubble image shows the aftermath of an exploding star that was located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Several thousand years ago, a star some 160,000 light-years away from us exploded, scattering stellar shrapnel across the sky. The aftermath of this energetic detonation is shown here in this striking image from the NASA/ESA […]

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New Research From NASA Suggests Venus May Have Been Habitable

August 11, 2016

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NASA Suggests Venus May Have Been Habitable

New research from NASA suggests that Venus may have had a shallow liquid-water ocean and habitable surface temperatures for up to 2 billion years of its early history. The findings, published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, were obtained with a model similar to the type used to predict future climate change on […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Irregular Galaxy NGC 2337

August 8, 2016

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New Hubble Image of NGC 2337

This newly released Hubble image shows galaxy NGC 2337, which is located 25 million light-years away in the constellation of Lynx. NGC 2337 is an irregular galaxy, meaning that it — along with a quarter of all galaxies in the Universe — lacks a distinct, regular appearance. The galaxy was discovered in 1877 by the […]

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Is Life on Earth Premature from a Cosmic Perspective?

August 3, 2016

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Is Life on Our Planet Premature from a Cosmic Perspective?

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics examines the possibility that present-day life is actually premature from a cosmic perspective. The universe is 13.8 billion years old, while our planet formed just 4.5 billion years ago. Some scientists think this time gap means that life on other planets could be billions of years older […]

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Astronomers Discover a Radio Pulsing White Dwarf Binary Star

August 1, 2016

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Artist Impression of the Exotic Binary Star System AR Scorpii

Using telescopes on the ground and in space, a team of astronomers has discovered a new type of exotic binary star in the system AR Scorpii. The rapidly spinning white dwarf star is powering electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the companion red […]

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Astronomers Reveal the Rotation of the Hot Gas Around the Milky Way

July 27, 2016

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Astronomers Reveal the Dizzying Spin of the Milky Way’s Halo

A team of astronomers has discovered that the hot gas in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy’s disk, which contains our stars, planets, gas, and dust. This new knowledge sheds light on how individual atoms have assembled into stars, planets, and […]

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New Battery Could Overcome Key Drawbacks of Lithium-Air Batteries

July 26, 2016

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New Battery Could Overcome Key Drawbacks of Lithium-Air Batteries

Engineers from MIT propose that a new lithium-oxygen battery material could be packaged in batteries that are very similar to conventional sealed batteries yet provide much more energy for their weight. Lithium-air batteries are considered highly promising technologies for electric cars and portable electronic devices because of their potential for delivering a high energy output […]

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Hubble Telescope Views Remnants of a Dead Star

July 25, 2016

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Hubble Views Remnants of a Dead Star DEM L316A

This newly released Hubble image captures the remnants of a long-dead star. These rippling wisps of ionized gas, named DEM L316A, are located some 160,000 light-years away within one of the Milky Way’s closest galactic neighbors — the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The explosion that formed DEM L316A was an example of an especially energetic […]

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WISE Reveals the X-Shaped Bulge of the Milky Way

July 19, 2016

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X Shape Marks Milky Way’s Central Bulge of Stars

Using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, astronomers reveal that the Milky Way’s central bulge of stars forms an “X” shape. The unconventional collaboration started in May 2015 when Dustin Lang, an astronomer at the Dunlap Institute of the University of Toronto, posted galaxy maps to Twitter, using data from WISE’s two […]

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ALMA Detects Water Snowline Around Young Star V883 Orionis

July 18, 2016

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Water Snowline Around Young Star V883 Orionis

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of astronomers has made the first ever resolved observation of a water snow line within a protoplanetary disc. This line marks where the temperature in the disc surrounding a young star drops sufficiently low for snow to form. A dramatic increase in the brightness of the […]

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