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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Life on Mars? Implications of a newly discovered mineral-rich structure

A new ovoid structure discovered in the Nakhla Martian meteorite is made of nanocrystalline iron-rich clay, contains a variety of minerals, and shows evidence of undergoing a past shock event from impact. Results of a broad range of analytical studies to determine the origin of this new structure and how these findings impact the field of astrobiology now have been published.

Posted: Aug 19th, 2014

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Determining stellar compositions made easier with new catalog

The largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions is critical to understanding the properties of stars, how they form, and possible connections with orbiting planets. And it shows that the compositions of nearby stars aren't as uniform as once thought.

Posted: Aug 19th, 2014

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Fascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black hole

Astronomers have accurately measured - and thus confirmed the existence of - a rare intermediate-mass black hole about 400 times the mass of our sun in a galaxy 12 million light years from the Milky Way. The finding uses a technique never applied in this way before, and opens the door to new studies of these mysterious objects.

Posted: Aug 17th, 2014

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NuSTAR sees rare blurring of black hole light

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has captured an extreme and rare event in the regions immediately surrounding a supermassive black hole. A compact source of X-rays that sits near the black hole, called the corona, has moved closer to the black hole over a period of just days.

Posted: Aug 12th, 2014

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Follow the radio waves to exomoons, physicists say

Scientists hunting for life beyond Earth have discovered more than 1,800 planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, in recent years, but so far, no one has been able to confirm an exomoon. Now, physicists believe following a trail of radio wave emissions may lead them to that discovery.

Posted: Aug 12th, 2014

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Comets forge organic molecules in their dusty atmospheres (w/video)

An international team of scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made incredible 3D images of the ghostly atmospheres surrounding comets ISON and Lemmon. These new observations provided important insights into how and where comets forge new chemicals, including intriguing organic compounds.

Posted: Aug 11th, 2014

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Violent solar system history uncovered by Australian meteorite

Planetary scientists have shed some light on the bombardment history of our solar system by studying a unique volcanic meteorite recovered in Western Australia. Captured on camera seven years ago falling on the WA side of the Nullarbor Plain, the Bunburra Rockhole Meterorite has unique characteristics that suggest it came from a large asteroid that has never before been identified.

Posted: Aug 8th, 2014

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Successful rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The Rosetta spacecraft has travelled over 6.4 billion kilometres, swung by planets, examined two asteroids during flybys, and spent more than two and a half years in hibernation during its 10-year journey. On 6 August 2014 at 11:30 CEST, with the Philae lander on board, it arrived at its target comet and entered into orbit.

Posted: Aug 8th, 2014

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