Posts

September 15, 2014

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4:50 PM | Alien Atmospheres As astronomers continue to detect planets...
Alien Atmospheres As astronomers continue to detect planets orbiting far-away stars, they are beginning to wonder — if there are so many planets out there, how likely is it that our planet is unique? Could any of these planets sustain life? Is there, perhaps, already life there? The best way of searching for life on these planets — since they are much too far away to send spacecraft — is by scanning the planets’ atmospheres for gases that might indicate the presence of […]

September 14, 2014

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10:30 PM | The Seven Wonders of the Solar System
People like to make lists of things, especially lists of superlatives: the best, fastest, oldest, largest, heaviest and so on. There are lists of the ten fastest animals and the ten longest rivers and even of the ten highest-paid rock stars. The Guinness company created a small industry from publishing lists exactly like these, and the fact that the Guinness Book of World Records has been published for more than fifty years just goes to show how popular they have been. But there's nothing new […]
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9:18 PM | Some early galaxies were oddly heavy and starry
From detailed modeling and what we see of modern galaxies, we expect the earliest galaxies to be small and have intense star formation. A new survey using data from the Spitzer space telescope and the Subaru telescope in Hawaii has found a lot of surprisingly massive galaxies at the edge of our ability to observe, […]
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9:52 AM | First map of Rosetta’s comet
Scientists have found that the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – the target of study for the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission – can be divided into several regions, each characterized by different classes of features. High-resolution images of the comet reveal a unique, multifaceted world. ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at its destination about a month … Continue reading →
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9:44 AM | Lurking bright blue star caught: The last piece of a supernova puzzle
Astronomers have found evidence of a hot binary companion star to a yellow supergiant star, which had become a bright supernova. Its existence had been predicted by the team. This finding provides the last link in a chain of observations that have so far supported the team’s theoretical picture for this supernova. “One of the … Continue reading →
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8:53 AM | Mysterious quasar sequence explained
Quasars are supermassive black holes that live at the center of distant massive galaxies. They shine as the most luminous beacons in the sky by rapidly accelerating matter into their gravitationally inescapable centers. New work solves a quasar mystery that astronomers have been puzzling over for decades. It shows that most observed quasar phenomena can … Continue reading →
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8:47 AM | First evidence for water ice clouds found outside our solar system
A team of scientists has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune — but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun until now. At the … Continue reading →
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8:45 AM | Interactive dark matter could explain Milky Way’s missing satellite galaxies
Scientists believe they have found a way to explain why there are not as many galaxies orbiting the Milky Way as expected. Computer simulations of the formation of our galaxy suggest that there should be many more small galaxies around the Milky Way than are observed through telescopes. This has thrown doubt on the generally … Continue reading →

September 13, 2014

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11:08 PM | Postcard from Norway: the Sky Shimmers With Green Fire Following Two Gargantuan Explosions on the Sun
You may have heard about the massive flares and explosions that erupted from the sun this week. These photos show what happened when the blasts hit Earth: spectacular displays of the aurora borealis, or northern lights. I’ve been traveling in Norway this week, and when I heard about the solar activity and the aurora forecast […]The post Postcard from Norway: the Sky Shimmers With Green Fire Following Two Gargantuan Explosions on the Sun appeared first on ImaGeo.
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8:00 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 12/09/2014
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]
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8:00 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 12/09/2014
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]

September 12, 2014

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8:36 PM | Will the Higgs Boson Destroy the Universe?
Improbable as it may seem, this question has been pinging around the Internet a lot this past week, because of a mix of Stephen Hawking and shameless sensationalism. Life is short (with or without the help of the Higgs), so I’ll answer it as succinctly as I can. No. If you want to get technical, […]The post Will the Higgs Boson Destroy the Universe? appeared first on Out There.
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8:17 PM | Saturn: King of the Rings and Moons
This Planet Endlessly Fascinates Viewers When I was a little kid, I found a book in the Time-Life series about planets. I could barely understand most of the words, but the pictures spoke loudly. In particular, one image of a strange-looking planet with a ring around it caught my imagination. It seemed like the most […]
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6:00 PM | Hot Jupiters Create Chaos for Their Stars
New research shows that star-snuggling hot Jupiters, despite being only a thousandth of the mass of their host suns, make their host stars wobble like a spinning top.Read more...
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11:00 AM | Quasar Diversity Mystery Solved
Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe, and display a mysterious diversity in their appearance that has puzzled astronomers for more than two decades.

September 11, 2014

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11:40 PM | Astrobiologists can now add a new term to their lexicon: The Venus Zone.
Astrobiologists can now add a new term to their lexicon: The Venus Zone. It describes the area around a star in which a planet is likely to exhibit the inhospitable hell-like conditions found on the planet Venus. The concept will help astronomers determine which exoplanets are more analogous to Earth, and thus friendlier to alien life.Read more...
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10:57 PM | Why We Explore: A Comet Tale Told in Four Pictures
There are many ways to explain the reasons for space exploration: the technological spin-offs, the science-education value, the commercial potential of space, the pragmatic lessons back home in everything from space-weather forecasting to mineral exploration. I’ve seen plenty of evidence that all these things are true, yet they dance around the most essential and least […]The post Why We Explore: A Comet Tale Told in Four Pictures appeared first on Out There.
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9:40 PM | ​Stop Using The Term "Superclusters" —They Don't Actually Exist
Earlier this week, we saw spectacular images of Laniakea, an enormous supercluster of galaxies that also holds the Milky Way. But astrophysicist Ethan Siegel says that supercluster is a meaningless term—a measurement of cosmic phantasms that have no real structure.Read more...
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8:49 PM | Space Weather Headed Our Way
Watch the Skies — if You Can! In case you haven’t heard, the Sun emitted an extremely strong flare and a huge coronal mass ejection our way a couple of days ago.  Here’s what it looked like (left). Currently space weather experts — the folks who track and try to understand solar storms — expect that […]
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2:53 PM | Volunteers needed to preserve astronomical history and promote discovery
Before iPhones and laptops there were human computers, some of whom worked at the Harvard College Observatory. Women like Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Williamina Fleming, and […] The post Volunteers needed to preserve astronomical history and promote discovery appeared first on Smithsonian Science.
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1:25 PM | Hubble Helps Astronomers Solve Mystery of Supernova SN 1993J
Astronomers using the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and Wide-Field Camera 3 aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have finally discovered a companion star to the rare Type IIb supernova SN 1993J. SN 1993J happened in M81, a galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major, about 11 million light-years away. First detected in 1993, the explosion was the [...]
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12:00 PM | Water Ice Clouds Found in Atmosphere of Brown Dwarf Just 7.2 Light-Years Away
Astronomers led by Dr Jacqueline Faherty from Carnegie Institution of Washington and American Museum of Natural History have discovered evidence of water ice clouds floating in the atmosphere of what is the coldest known brown dwarf, WISE J085510.83-071442.5 (W0855 for short). Brown dwarfs aren’t quite very small stars, but they aren’t quite giant planets either. [...]
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12:20 AM | There’s no such thing as a Supercluster (Synopsis)
“I was confided to your loyalty and accepted by your treason; you offer my death to those to whom you had promised my life. Do you know who it is you are destroying here? It is yourself.” -Victor Hugo So those of you who’ve been paying attention may have just heard that we’ve mapped out…

September 10, 2014

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9:55 AM | Blink and You'll Miss it: The Brief Life of a Gasous Disc around a White Dwarf
Artist's impression of a debris disc in orbit around a white dwarf. Over the past eight years we have seen such a disc suddenly form, then rapidly disappear around the white dwarf SDSS J1617+1620. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, and G. Bacon.  Today I published my first research paper, graced with the snappy name of "Variable Emission from a Gaseous Disc around a Metal-Polluted White Dwarf". The tone of the title is a hint to the tone of the paper, so I'll attempt to provide a much […]
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1:00 AM | Latest VIRTIS Temperature Scans Show Comet 67P/C-G's 'Hot Spots'
The latest temperature scans of Comet Churymov-Gerasimenko should help mission planners choose a site that's neither too hot nor too cold for the Philae lander.Read more...

September 09, 2014

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10:42 PM | Eclipsing Binaries
Background information: I went to a summer camp called COSMOS in UC Santa Cruz in 2014 and eclipsing binaries was the project I did with a group. Before we start talking about eclipsing binaries, it’s important to know what binary stars are – two stars rotating around each other about a common center of mass. […]
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9:30 PM | Zircon grains shed new light on Mars’ watery past
“When you find a zircon, it’s like finding a watch."
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7:54 PM | Astronomers Spot Birth of Giant Exoplanet around HD 100546
Astronomers headed by Dr Sean Brittain of Clemson University have discovered evidence of a huge extrasolar planet forming around the young star HD 100546. HD 100546, also known as KR Muscae, is a so-called Herbig Be star located about 335 light years from Earth. Dr Brittain and his colleagues set out to study the protoplanetary [...]
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4:01 PM | The Planets that Never Were (Synopsis)
In 1992, scientists discovered the first planets orbiting a star other than our Sun. The pulsar PSR B1257+12 was discovered to have its own planetary system, and since then, exoplanet discoveries have exploded! But did you know that long before that, back in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, a scientist studying Barnard’s Star — the second-closest…

September 08, 2014

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10:25 PM | Messier Monday: The Teapot-Dome Cluster, M28 (Synopsis)
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” -Amelia Earhart While the summer may be coming to an…
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