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Spectacular supernova's mysteries revealed

New research by a team of UK and European-based astronomers is helping to solve the mystery of what caused a spectacular supernova in a galaxy 11 million light years away, seen earlier this year.

Posted: Aug 22nd, 2014

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Electric sparks may alter evolution of lunar soil

The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling by scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon's coldest craters through the process of sparking - a finding that could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.

Posted: Aug 21st, 2014

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Swirling electrons in the whirlpool galaxy

The whirlpool galaxy M51 in a distance of approximately 30 million light years appears almost face-on and displays a beautiful system of spiral arms. A European team of astronomers observed M51 with the LOFAR Telescope in the frequency range 115-175 MHz and obtained the most sensitive galaxy image at frequencies below 1 GHz so far.

Posted: Aug 20th, 2014

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A spectacular landscape of star formation

This image, captured by the Wide Field Imager at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows two dramatic star formation regions in the Milky Way. The first, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located 20 000 light-years away, in the Carina?Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way. The second, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies about half as far from Earth.

Posted: Aug 20th, 2014

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Life on Mars? Implications of a newly discovered mineral-rich structure

A new ovoid structure discovered in the Nakhla Martian meteorite is made of nanocrystalline iron-rich clay, contains a variety of minerals, and shows evidence of undergoing a past shock event from impact. Results of a broad range of analytical studies to determine the origin of this new structure and how these findings impact the field of astrobiology now have been published.

Posted: Aug 19th, 2014

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Determining stellar compositions made easier with new catalog

The largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions is critical to understanding the properties of stars, how they form, and possible connections with orbiting planets. And it shows that the compositions of nearby stars aren't as uniform as once thought.

Posted: Aug 19th, 2014

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Fascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black hole

Astronomers have accurately measured - and thus confirmed the existence of - a rare intermediate-mass black hole about 400 times the mass of our sun in a galaxy 12 million light years from the Milky Way. The finding uses a technique never applied in this way before, and opens the door to new studies of these mysterious objects.

Posted: Aug 17th, 2014

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NuSTAR sees rare blurring of black hole light

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has captured an extreme and rare event in the regions immediately surrounding a supermassive black hole. A compact source of X-rays that sits near the black hole, called the corona, has moved closer to the black hole over a period of just days.

Posted: Aug 12th, 2014

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Follow the radio waves to exomoons, physicists say

Scientists hunting for life beyond Earth have discovered more than 1,800 planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, in recent years, but so far, no one has been able to confirm an exomoon. Now, physicists believe following a trail of radio wave emissions may lead them to that discovery.

Posted: Aug 12th, 2014

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