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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Spectrum of gamma-ray burst's afterglow indicates the beginning of the re-ionization process

Researchers discovered an indicator of when re-ionization of the primordial Universe began. Direct measurement of the absorption features in the spectrum of the afterglow toward GRB 130606A, located at a great distance, revealed the proportion of neutral hydrogen gas absorbing the light in its vicinity. This finding provides the best estimate of the amount of such neutral gas in the early Universe.

Posted: Apr 30th, 2014

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Entire star cluster thrown out of its galaxy

The galaxy known as M87 has a fastball that would be the envy of any baseball pitcher. It has thrown an entire star cluster toward us at more than two million miles per hour. The newly discovered cluster, which astronomers named HVGC-1, is now on a fast journey to nowhere. Its fate: to drift through the void between the galaxies for all time.

Posted: Apr 30th, 2014

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How do we clean up the junkyard orbiting Earth?

The biggest-sized junkyard in the world orbits it, and a University of Alabama in Huntsville aerospace systems engineering graduate student says it's time to get active about reducing the debris field before we reach a tipping point beyond which we may not be able to do much.

Posted: Apr 30th, 2014

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Making light work of orbit and attitude control

Microsatellites have to be very light - every gram counts. The same applies to the gyroscopes used to sense the satellite's orientation when in orbit. A novel prototype is seven times lighter and significantly smaller than earlier systems.

Posted: Apr 30th, 2014

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Search for extraterrestrial life more difficult than thought

A new study suggests the search for life on planets outside our solar system may be more difficult than previously thought. The study finds the method used to detect biosignatures on such planets, known as exoplanets, can produce a false positive result.

Posted: Apr 29th, 2014

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Experiment on Earth demonstrates effect observed in space

Streaming jets of high-speed matter produce some of the stunning objects seen in space. Astronomers have seen them shooting out of young stars just being formed, X-ray binary stars and supermassive black holes at the centers of large galaxies. Theoretical explanations for what causes those beam-like jets have been around for years, but now an experiment by French and American researchers using extremely high-powered lasers offers experimental verification of one proposed mechanism for creating them.

Posted: Apr 29th, 2014

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Star is discovered to be a close neighbor of the Sun and the coldest of its kind

A 'brown dwarf' star that appears to be the coldest of its kind has been discovered by a Penn State University astronomer using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Images from the space telescopes also pinpointed the object's distance at 7.2 light-years away, making it the fourth closest system to our Sun.

Posted: Apr 26th, 2014

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Move over exoplanets, exomoons may harbour life too

Although more than 1,000 exoplanets have been discovered since the first one was found in 1995, only a handful of those are thought to be habitable, at least by life as we know it. New research shows that exomoons, too, could provide habitable environments.

Posted: Apr 25th, 2014

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Cosmic illusion revealed

A team of researchers has announced the discovery of a galaxy that magnified a background, Type Ia supernova thirty-fold through gravitational lensing. This first example of strong gravitational lensing of a supernova confirms the team's previous explanation for the unusual properties of this supernova.

Posted: Apr 24th, 2014

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Cracker-sized satellites launch into orbit

After years of planning and several last-minute delays, about 100 Cornell-developed mini satellites demonstrating space flight at its simplest have launched into orbit and are now circling Earth.

Posted: Apr 24th, 2014

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Asteroids made easy

A team at Arizona State University is building its own 'patch of asteroid' inside of a small spinning satellite that will allow researchers to conduct experiments with the rocks in space.

Posted: Apr 23rd, 2014

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