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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Plastic, 'wrong-way' dunes arise on Saturn moon Titan

The dunes of Titan tell cosmic tales. A Cornell senior and researchers have narrowed theories on why the hydrocarbon dunes - think plastic - on Saturn's largest moon are oriented in an unexpected direction, a solar system eccentricity that has puzzled space scientists.

Posted: May 15th, 2014

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The shrinking of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot - a swirling storm feature larger than Earth - is shrinking. This downsizing, which is changing the shape of the spot from an oval into a circle, has been known about since the 1930s, but now these striking new Hubble Space Telescope images capture the spot at a smaller size than ever before.

Posted: May 15th, 2014

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Magnetar formation mystery solved?

Magnetars are the super-dense remnants of supernova explosions. They are the strongest magnets known in the Universe - millions of times more powerful than the strongest magnets on Earth. A team of astronomers now believe they've found the partner star of a magnetar for the first time. This discovery helps to explain how magnetars form and why this particular star didn't collapse into a black hole as astronomers would expect.

Posted: May 14th, 2014

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Odd planet, so far from its star...

A gas giant has been added to the short list of exoplanets discovered through direct imaging. It is located around GU Psc, a star three times less massive than the Sun and located in the constellation Pisces.

Posted: May 13th, 2014

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The first building blocks of the universe

The first galaxies evolved only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. But why do they have such a great variety of shapes and structures? How did the universe evolve as a whole? Two German-Chinese Partner Groups are using observations and simulations to investigate how the early universe evolved

Posted: May 13th, 2014

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Hidden nurseries in the Milky Way

ATLASGAL is a survey of the Galactic Plane at a wavelength of 0.87 mm. It has revealed an unprecedented number of cold dense clumps of gas and dust as the cradles of massive stars, thus providing a complete view of their birthplaces in the Milky Way.

Posted: May 13th, 2014

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A turbulent birth for stars in merging galaxies

Using state of the art computer simulations, a team of French astrophysicists have for the first time explained a long standing mystery: why surges of star formation (so called 'starbursts') take place when galaxies collide.

Posted: May 12th, 2014

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NASA telescopes coordinate best-ever flare observations

On March 29, 2014, an X-class flare erupted from the right side of the sun - and vaulted into history as the best-observed flare of all time. The flare was witnessed by four different NASA spacecraft and one ground-based observatory - three of which had been fortuitously focused in on the correct spot as programmed into their viewing schedule a full day in advance.

Posted: May 8th, 2014

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Galaxies out of a Supercomputer

A new computer simulation shows the formation of galaxies with unprecedented precision, allowing astrophysicists to indirectly confirm the standard model of cosmology.

Posted: May 7th, 2014

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