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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Astronomers discover first Thorne-Zytkow object, a bizarre type of hybrid star

In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a 'theoretical' class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow. Thorne-?ytkow objects are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal red supergiants, such as Betelguese in the constellation Orion. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures that result from unique activity in their stellar interiors.

Posted: Jun 4th, 2014

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Discovering a hidden source of solar surges

Cutting-edge observations with the 1.6-meter telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory in California have taken research into the structure and activity of the Sun to new levels of understanding. The telescope at Big Bear is the most powerful ground-based instrument dedicated to studying the sun.

Posted: Jun 4th, 2014

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Hubble unveils a colorful view of the universe

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have captured the most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evolving universe - and one of the most colorful. The study is called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field project.

Posted: Jun 3rd, 2014

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Milky Way may bear 100 million life-giving planets

There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support complex life, report a group of university astronomers. They have developed a new computation method to examine data from planets orbiting other stars in the universe.

Posted: Jun 3rd, 2014

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Harsh space weather may doom potential life on red-dwarf planets

Life in the universe might be even rarer than we thought. Recently, astronomers looking for potentially habitable worlds have targeted red dwarf stars because they are the most common type of star, comprising 80 percent of the stars in the universe. But a new study shows that harsh space weather might strip the atmosphere of any rocky planet orbiting in a red dwarf's habitable zone.

Posted: Jun 2nd, 2014

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'Neapolitan' exoplanets come in three flavors

The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We have small, rocky terrestrials like Earth and Mars, and large gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter.

Posted: Jun 2nd, 2014

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Because you can't eat just one: Star will swallow two planets

Two worlds orbiting a distant star are about to become a snack of cosmic proportions. Astronomers announced today that the planets Kepler-56b and Kepler-56c will be swallowed by their star in a short time by astronomical standards. Their ends will come in 130 million and 155 million years, respectively.

Posted: Jun 2nd, 2014

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Astronomers find a new type of planet: The 'mega-Earth'

Astronomers announced today that they have discovered a new type of planet - a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn't form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered 'super-Earths,' making it a 'mega-Earth.'

Posted: Jun 2nd, 2014

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Lasers create table-top supernova

Laser beams 60,000 billion times more powerful than a laser pointer have been used to recreate scaled supernova explosions in the laboratory as a way of investigating one of the most energetic events in the universe.

Posted: Jun 1st, 2014

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