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NSF’s LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves

February 12, 2016

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LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves

Using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the National Science Foundation has detected gravitational waves. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity a century ago, and scientists have been attempting to detect them for 50 years. Einstein pictured these waves as ripples in the fabric of space-time produced […]

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Astronomers Reveal Hidden Galaxies Behind the Milky Way

February 11, 2016

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Astronomers Find Hidden Galaxies Behind the Milky Way

Using CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope equipped with an innovative receiver, a team of astronomers were able to see through the stars and dust of the Milky Way, into a previously unexplored region of space. The discovery may help to explain the Great Attractor region, which appears to be drawing the Milky Way and hundreds of […]

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HD 97300 Lights Up The Surrounding Cosmic Clouds

February 10, 2016

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Star HD 97300 Provides a Reflection for Nebula IC 2631

A newly released image from the La Silla Observatory shows the reflection nebula IC 2631 from the light of star HD 97300. A newly formed star lights up the surrounding cosmic clouds in this new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Dust particles in the vast clouds that surround the star HD 97300 […]

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Ices and Shadows – Cassini Views Saturn’s Moon Tethys

February 9, 2016

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New Image of Saturn's Moon Tethys

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft views Saturn’s moon Tethys. Saturn’s moon Tethys appears to float between two sets of rings in this view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, but it’s just a trick of geometry. The rings, which are seen nearly edge-on, are the dark bands above Tethys, while their curving shadows paint the planet at the bottom […]

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Preliminary Reference Earth Model Shows Earth-like Planets Have Earth-like Interiors

February 8, 2016

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PREM Model Shows Mass-Radius Relation for Rocky Planets

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that rocky worlds share similar structures, with a core containing about a third of the planet’s mass, surrounded by a mantle and topped by a thin crust. Every school kid learns the basic structure of the Earth: a thin outer crust, a thick mantle, and a […]

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Astronomers Discover Unexpectedly Cold Grains in a Planet-Forming Disc

February 4, 2016

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Unexpectedly Cold Grains in Planet-Forming Disc Discovered

Using the ALMA and IRAM telescopes, a team of astronomers has made the first direct measurement of the temperature of the large dust grains in the outer parts of a planet-forming disc around a young star. By applying a novel technique to observations of an object nicknamed the Flying Saucer they find that the grains […]

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Cassini Reveals Saturn’s Rings Less Dense Than They Appear

February 3, 2016

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Saturn's B Rings Less than Meets the Eye

New data from NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft reveals that there is little correlation between how dense the rings of Saturn might appear to be — in terms of its opacity and reflectiveness — and the amount of material they contain. It seems intuitive that an opaque material should contain more stuff than a more translucent substance. […]

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Chandra Observations Confirm a Counterjet from Pictor A

February 2, 2016

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Pictor A Blast from Black Hole Far Away

Astronomers have discovered a giant jet spanning continuously for over 300,000 light years blasting out of the galaxy Pictor A. In addition to the main jet, they also discovered evidence for a jet moving in the opposite direction. The Star Wars franchise has featured the fictitious “Death Star,” which can shoot powerful beams of radiation […]

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New Horizons Spacecraft Reveals More Water Ice on Pluto’s Surface Than Previously Thought

February 1, 2016

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Astronomers Find More Water Ice on Pluto’s Surface Than Previously Thought

New data from the New Horizons Spacecraft reveals more water ice on Pluto’s surface than previously thought. This false-color image, derived from observations in infrared light by the Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument, shows where the spectral features of water ice are abundant on Pluto’s surface. It is based on two LEISA scans […]

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Hubble Reveals Globular Clusters Gain Star-Making Fuel from Outside the Cluster Itself

January 28, 2016

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Study Suggests Globular Clusters Gain Star-Making Fuel from Outside the Cluster Itself

Using Hubble data, a team of astronomers has for the first time found young populations of stars within globular clusters that have apparently developed courtesy of star-forming gas flowing in from outside of the clusters themselves. Among the most striking objects in the universe are glittering, dense swarms of stars known as globular clusters. Astronomers […]

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Planet 2MASS J2126 is 1 Trillion Kilometers Away from Its Parent Star

January 26, 2016

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Astronomers Find a Lonely Planet and Its Distant Star

New research reveals that planet 2MASS J2126 and the star TYC 9486-927-1 are moving through space together, implying that they are associated. A team of astronomers in the UK, USA and Australia have found a planet, until now thought to be a free floating or lonely planet, in a huge orbit around its star. Incredibly […]

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Star Cluster Trumpler 14 Displays Some of the Most Luminous Stars in Our Galaxy

January 25, 2016

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Star Cluster Trumpler 14

This Hubble image features star cluster Trumpler 14 – one of the largest gatherings of hot, massive and bright stars in the Milky Way. Single stars are often overlooked in favor of their larger cosmic cousins — but when they join forces, they create truly breathtaking scenes to rival even the most glowing of nebulae […]

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Planet Nine – Astronomers Find Evidence of a Real Ninth Planet in Our Solar System

January 21, 2016

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Astronomers Reveal Evidence of Distant Gas Giant Planet in Our Solar System

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have discovered evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The newly discovered object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on […]

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Graphene Oxide Layers Deform Evenly Under Gentle Strain

January 21, 2016

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New Graphene Oxide Paper Changes with Strain

New research from Rice University reveals that graphene oxide layers deform evenly under gentle strain and that the mechanical properties of the material change depending on the rate of strain. The same slip-and-stick mechanism that leads to earthquakes is at work on the molecular level in nanoscale materials, where it determines the shear plasticity of […]

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Cassini Spacecraft Image Shows the Difference between Janus and Tethys

January 20, 2016

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New Cassini View of Janus and Tethys

This image from the Cassini Spacecraft demonstrates the main difference between small moons and large ones. It’s all about the moon’s shape. Moons like Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across) are large enough that their own gravity is sufficient to overcome the material strength of the substances they are made of (mostly ice in […]

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Hubble at 25 Series: How Hubble Has Helped Pave the Way for Interplanetary Missions

January 19, 2016

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Hubble at 25 Series Paving the Way

This new segment of the Hubble at 25 series discusses how the Hubble Space Telescope has not only given us a better understanding of our solar system, but it has also helped pave the way for interplanetary missions to be successful. By monitoring target destinations, Hubble has enabled spacecraft mission planners to optimize the science […]

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Neuroscientists Identify a Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

January 18, 2016

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Scientists Identify Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT identify a protein that allows brain cells to dampen their sensitivity. Strengthening and weakening the connections between neurons, known as synapses, is vital to the brain’s development and everyday function. One way that neurons weaken their synapses is by swallowing up receptors on their surfaces that normally […]

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WISE Reveals Most Luminous Galaxy W2246-0526 Is Ripping Itself Apart

January 15, 2016

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Astronomers View Luminous Galaxy Ripping Itself Apart

New research reveals that the distant galaxy W2246-0526 is expelling tremendously turbulent gas (a phenomenon never seen before in an object of this kind) and is tearing itself apart. In a far-off galaxy, 12.4 billion light-years from Earth, a ravenous black hole is devouring galactic grub. Its feeding frenzy produces so much energy, it stirs […]

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