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Astronomers find solar storms behave like supernovae (w/video)

Researchers have studied the behaviour of the Sun's coronal mass ejections, explaining for the first time the details of how these huge eruptions behave as they fall back onto the Sun's surface. In the process, they have discovered that coronal mass ejections have a surprising twin in the depths of space: the tendrils of gas in the Crab Nebula, which lie 6500 light-years away and are millions of times larger.

Posted: Feb 20th, 2014

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Space eye with 34 telescopes will investigate one million stars

The exploration of planets around stars other than the Sun, known as extrasolar planets or 'exoplanets', is one of the most exciting topics of 21st century science. One of the key goals of this research is to discover and learn the properties of Earth-like worlds in the Sun's neighbourhood. ESA, the European Space Agency, will do this in preparing a new space mission named PLATO.

Posted: Feb 20th, 2014

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NuSTAR telescope takes first peek into core of supernova

Astronomers have peered for the first time into the heart of an exploding star in the final minutes of its existence. The feat by the high-energy X-ray satellite NuSTAR provides details of the physics of the core explosion inaccessible until now, says team member Steven Boggs of UC Berkeley. NuSTAR mapped radioactive titanium in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant, which has expanded outward and become visible from Earth since the central star exploded in 1671.^

Posted: Feb 19th, 2014

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Clouds seen circling supermassive black hole (w/video)

Astronomers see huge clouds of gas orbiting supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies. Once thought to be a relatively uniform, fog-like ring, the accreting matter instead forms clumps dense enough to intermittently dim the intense radiation blazing forth as these enormous objects condense and consume matter.

Posted: Feb 19th, 2014

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Diamonds in the tail of the scorpion

A new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile shows the bright star cluster Messier 7. Easily spotted with the naked eye close to the tail of the constellation of Scorpius, it is one of the most prominent open clusters of stars in the sky - making it an important astronomical research target.

Posted: Feb 19th, 2014

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Rife with hype, exoplanet study needs patience and refinement

collected, and most of these data are of 'marginal utility,' according to a review of exoplanet research by a Princeton University astrophysicist. The dominant methods for studying exoplanet atmospheres are not intended for planets trillions of miles from Earth. Instead, the future of exoplanet study should focus on the more difficult but comprehensive method of spectrometry.

Posted: Feb 18th, 2014

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Ancient gas-rich galaxies found in cosmic crib

Squinting close to the beginning of time, astronomers have discovered an association of gas-rich galaxies near the infancy of cosmic time. It's an early epoch - some 12.7 billion years ago - telling a tale that revolves around an exceptionally dusty galaxy called AzTEC-3.

Posted: Feb 17th, 2014

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Scientists reveal cosmic roadmap to galactic magnetic field

Scientists on NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer mission, including a team leader from the University of New Hampshire, report that recent, independent measurements have validated one of the mission's signature findings - a mysterious 'ribbon' of energy and particles at the edge of our solar system that appears to be a directional 'roadmap in the sky' of the local interstellar magnetic field.

Posted: Feb 13th, 2014

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Source of 'moon curse' revealed by eclipse

Signals bounced off reflectors on the lunar surface return surprisingly faint echoes on full moon nights. Scientists think it's the result of uneven heating of the reflective lenses, which would alter their refractive index, dispersing the return beam, and they found compelling evidence for this explanation during an eclipse as Earth's shadow passed over each reflector in turn.

Posted: Feb 11th, 2014

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