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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Map of universe questioned; dwarf galaxies don't fit standard model

Dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies defy the accepted model of galaxy formation, and recent attempts to wedge them into the model are flawed, reports an international team of astrophysicists. A new study pokes holes in the current understanding of galaxy formation and questions the accepted model of the origin and evolution of the universe.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2014

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National panel urges 'putting human boots' on Mars

After 18 months of research and deliberation, the Committee on Human Spaceflight - a diverse national group of scientists and professionals convened by Congressional request - issued a 285-page report June 4 on whether Earth-bound humans should continue exploring space.

Posted: Jun 10th, 2014

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First images from exoplanet hunter SPHERE

The European SPHERE instrument has been successfully installed on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility can directly image gas-giant exoplanets and dust discs orbiting nearby stars (up to 300 light years away) with unparalleled precision and contrast.

Posted: Jun 10th, 2014

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55-year old dark side of the moon mystery solved

The Man in the Moon appeared when meteoroids struck the Earth-facing side of the moon creating large flat seas of basalt that we see as dark areas called maria. But no 'face' exists on farside of the moon and now, Penn State astrophysicists think they know why.

Posted: Jun 9th, 2014

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Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of two new planets orbiting a very old star that is near to our own Sun. One of these planets orbits the star at the right distance to allow liquid water to exist on its surface, a key ingredient to support life.

Posted: Jun 5th, 2014

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Moon formed after collision of planets

Scientists have resolved an isotopic difference between the Earth and the Moon. The slight variation in oxygen isotopes confirms the 'Giant impact' hypothesis of Moon formation, according to which the Moon formed from the debris of a giant collision between the Earth and another proto-Planet about 4.5 billion years ago.

Posted: Jun 5th, 2014

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Surprisingly strong magnetic fields challenge black holes' pull

A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes? powerful gravitational pull.

Posted: Jun 4th, 2014

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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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