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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Discoveries from Planck may mean rethinking how the universe began

This spring, humanity was shown its most detailed map of the early universe ever created. Generated by observations from the Planck spacecraft, the map revealed fluctuations in temperature in the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang - what we call the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). Recently, scientists on the Planck team announced finding certain large-scale features on the CMB sky that they cannot explain. One of them: a large cold spot, which corresponds to an anomalously large area of high density.

Posted: Jul 25th, 2013

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'International beam team' solves Martian meteorite age puzzle (w/video)

By directing energy beams at tiny crystals found in a Martian meteorite, a Western University-led team of geologists has proved that the most common group of meteorites from Mars is almost four billion years younger than many scientists had believed - resolving a long-standing puzzle in Martian science and painting a much clearer picture of the Red Planet's evolution that can now be compared to that of habitable Earth.

Posted: Jul 24th, 2013

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Solar system's youth gives clues to planet search

Comets and meteorites contain clues to our solar system's earliest days. But some of the findings are puzzle pieces that don't seem to fit well together. A new set of theoretical models from Carnegie's Alan Boss shows how an outburst event in the Sun's formative years could explain some of this disparate evidence. His work could have implications for the hunt for habitable planets outside of our solar system.

Posted: Jul 24th, 2013

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Ancient snowfall likely carved Martian valleys

Researchers at Brown University have shown that some Martian valleys appear to have been caused by runoff from orographic precipitation - moisture carried part of the way up a mountain and deposited on the slopes. The findings help to answer the question of whether water flowing on ancient Mars bubbled up from the ground or fell down from the atmosphere.

Posted: Jul 24th, 2013

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Spitzer observes gas emission from comet Ison

Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have observed what most likely are strong carbon dioxide emissions from Comet ISON ahead of its anticipated pass through the inner solar system later this year.

Posted: Jul 23rd, 2013

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A new record for cosmic X-ray sightings

Scientists led by the University of Leicester have set a new record for cosmic X-ray sources ever sighted - creating an unprecedented cosmic X-ray catalogue that will provide a valuable resource allowing astronomers to explore the extreme Universe.

Posted: Jul 23rd, 2013

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Hubble hows link between stars' ages and their orbits

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have determined the orbital motion of two distinct populations of stars in an ancient globular star cluster, offering proof they formed at different times and providing a rare look back into the Milky Way galaxy's early days.

Posted: Jul 18th, 2013

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