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Why sibling stars look alike: Early, fast mixing in star-birth clouds
on Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:03:33 EDT:
Early, fast, turbulent mixing of gas within giant molecular clouds -- the birthplaces of stars -- means all stars formed from a single cloud bear the same unique chemical 'tag' or 'DNA fingerprint,' write astrophysicists. Could such chemical tags help astronomers identify our own Sun's long-lost sibling stars?
Balloon rise over fort sumner
on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:53:47 EDT:
In a few days, a balloon-borne telescope sensitive to the polarization of high-energy “hard” X rays will ascend to the edge of the atmosphere above Fort Sumner, N.M., to stare fixedly at black holes and other exotic astronomical objects. It will be carried aloft by a stratospheric balloon that will expand to a sphere large enough to hold a 747 jetliner the float height of 120,000 feet, three times the height at which commercial aircraft fly and on the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. Launching the balloon is not child’s play.
Intense Exercise during Long Space Flights Helps Astronauts Protect Aerobic Capacity
on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:56:07 EDT:
Many astronauts experience a dip in aerobic capacity during long space flights, which can impair their ability to perform complex and demanding routine tasks. In a new article, NASA researchers find that regular, intense in-flight exercise helps preserve cardiovascular stamina.
Astrophysicists report radioactive cobalt in supernova explosion
on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:34:24 EDT:
Astrophysicists have detected the formation of radioactive cobalt during a supernova explosion, lending credence to a corresponding theory of supernova explosions.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope witnesses asteroid smashup
on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:01:20 EDT:
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets.
Researchers use NASA and other data to look into the heart of a solar storm
on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:00:49 EDT:
Scientists found that the CME contained a rare piece of dense solar filament material. This filament coupled with an unusually fast speed led to the large amount of solar material observed.
Astronomy: Radio telescopes settle controversy over distance to Pleiades
on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:27:40 EDT:
A worldwide network of radio telescopes measured the distance to the famous star cluster the Pleiades to an accuracy within 1 percent. The result resolved a controversy raised by a satellite's measurement that now is shown to be wrong. The incorrect measurement had challenged standard models of star formation and evolution.
Nanodiamonds are forever: Did comet collision leave layer of nanodiamonds across Earth?
on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:34:43 EDT:
A comet collision with Earth caused abrupt environmental stress and degradation that contributed to the extinction of most large animal species then inhabiting the Americas, a group of scientists suggests. The catastrophic impact and the subsequent climate change also led to the disappearance of the prehistoric Clovis culture, and to human population decline. Now focus has turned to the character and distribution of nanodiamonds, one type of material produced during such an extraterrestrial collision. The researchers found an abundance of these tiny diamonds distributed over 50 million square kilometers across the Northern Hemisphere.
Detecting neutrinos, physicists look into the heart of the sun
on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:16:52 EDT:
Using one of the most sensitive neutrino detectors on the planet, physicists have directly detected neutrinos created by the 'keystone' proton-proton fusion process going on at the sun's core for the first time.
Red Planet's climate history uncovered in unique Martian meteorite
on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:15:53 EDT:
Was Mars -- now a cold, dry place -- once a warm, wet planet that sustained life? Research underway may one day answer those questions -- and perhaps even help pave the way for future colonization of the Red Planet. By analyzing the chemical clues locked inside an ancient Martian meteorite known as Black Beauty, scientists are revealing the story of Mars’ ancient, and sometimes startling, climate history.
Early growth of giant galaxy, just 3 billion years after the Big Bang, revealed
on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:15:51 EDT:
The birth of massive galaxies, according to galaxy formation theories, begins with the buildup of a dense, compact core that is ablaze with the glow of millions of newly formed stars. Evidence of this early construction phase, however, has eluded astronomers — until now. Astronomers identified a dense galactic core, dubbed "Sparky," using a combination of data from several space telescopes. Hubble photographed the emerging galaxy as it looked 11 billion years ago, just 3 billion years after the birth of our universe in the big bang.
Orion rocks! Pebble-size particles may jump-start planet formation
on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:18:09 EDT:
Astronomers have discovered that filaments of star-forming gas near the Orion Nebula may be brimming with pebble-size particles -- planetary building blocks 100 to 1,000 times larger than the dust grains typically found around protostars.
Measurement at Big Bang conditions confirms lithium problem
on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:02:22 EDT:
The field of astrophysics has a stubborn problem and it's called lithium. The quantities of lithium predicted to have resulted from the Big Bang are not actually present in stars. But the calculations are correct -- a fact which has now been confirmed for the first time.
What lit up the universe?
on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:21:22 EDT:
New research shows we will soon uncover the origin of the ultraviolet light that bathes the cosmos, helping scientists understand how galaxies were built. The study by cosmologists shows how forthcoming astronomical surveys will reveal what lit up the cosmos.
Best view yet of merging galaxies in distant universe
on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:11:30 EDT:
Astronomers have obtained the best view yet of a collision between two galaxies when the Universe was only half its current age. To make this observation, the team also enlisted the help of a gravitational lens, a galaxy-size magnifying glass, to reveal otherwise invisible detail.
Do we live in a 2-D hologram? Experiment will test the nature of the universe
on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:10:52 EDT:
A unique experiment called the Holometer has started collecting data that will answer some mind-bending questions about our universe -- including whether we live in a hologram.
World's first ZigBee-based inter-satellite comms system
on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 10:00:45 EDT:
Engineers have successfully piloted the world's first ZigBee-based inter-satellite communication system. Designed to evaluate the performance of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) in space, the experiment marks a breakthrough in aeronautical engineering.
Voyager map details Neptune's strange moon Triton
on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:35:39 EDT:
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up look at Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager's historic footage of Triton has been "restored" and used to construct the best-ever global color map of that strange moon. The map, produced by Paul Schenk, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, has also been used to make a movie recreating that historic Voyager encounter, which took place 25 years ago, on August 25, 1989.
Spectacular supernova's mysteries revealed
on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:39:33 EDT:
Astronomers are delving into the mystery of what caused a spectacular supernova in a galaxy 11 million light years away, seen earlier this year. The supernova, a giant explosion of a star and the closest one to the Earth in decades, was discovered earlier this year by chance. These phenomena are extremely important to study because they provide key information about our universe, including how it is expanding and how galaxies evolve.
Electric sparks may alter evolution of lunar soil
on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:24:31 EDT:
The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but new modeling suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon's coldest craters through the process of sparking -- a finding that could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.
Your toothpaste's fluorine formed in the stars
on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:23:58 EDT:
The fluorine that is found in products such as toothpaste was likely formed billions of years ago in now-dead stars of the same type as our sun, according to new research by astronomers.
Why NASA studies the ultraviolet sun
on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:28:10 EDT:
You cannot look at the sun without special filters, and the naked eye cannot perceive certain wavelengths of sunlight. Solar physicists must consequently rely on spacecraft that can observe this invisible light before the atmosphere absorbs it.
Space station inspired robot to help heal sick children
on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:22:14 EDT:
The same companies which developed the robotic arms that helped astronauts build the International Space Station have now created a new research platform. Called KidsArm, this robot allows surgeons to quickly navigate to surgical sites in the body. It has an advanced imaging and control system that makes it extremely precise, and it is designed to explore the potential for automating certain demanding tasks in minimally invasive pediatric surgery.
GPIM spacecraft to validate use of 'green' propellant
on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:20:02 EDT:
Milestone progress is being made in readying NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) for launch in 2016, a smallsat designed to test the unique attributes of a high-performance, non-toxic, "green" fuel on orbit.
How the sun caused an aurora this week
on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:17:03 EDT:
On the evening of Aug. 20, 2014, the International Space Station was flying past North America when it flew over the dazzling, green blue lights of an aurora. On board, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image of the aurora, seen from above.
First LOFAR observations of 'Whirlpool Galaxy'
on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:12:54 EDT:
Using a radio telescope with frequencies just above those of commercial FM radio stations, a European team of astronomers has obtained the most sensitive image of a galaxy below 1 GHz.
A spectacular landscape of star formation
on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:12:52 EDT:
A new image shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first is of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located 20,000 light-years away, in the Carina–Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth.
Martian meteorite: Implications of a newly discovered mineral-rich structure
on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:29:23 EDT:
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, with resulting melting of the permafrost and mixing of surface and subsurface fluids.
What are stars made of? Determining stellar compositions made easier with new catalog
on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:41:03 EDT:
An astronomer has devised the largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions. The work is critical to understanding the properties of stars, how they form, and possible connections with orbiting planets. And what she found from her work is that the compositions of nearby stars aren't as uniform as once thought.
Immune system is dazed and confused during spaceflight, study reveals
on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:51:24 EDT:
Research indicates that crew members aboard the International Space Station have changes in blood cytokines that persist during flight.
Sun's activity influences natural climate change, ice age study shows
on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:52:04 EDT:
A new study has, for the first time, reconstructed solar activity during the last ice age. The study shows that the regional climate is influenced by the sun and offers opportunities to better predict future climate conditions in certain regions.
Fascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black hole
on Sun, 17 Aug 2014 22:00:54 EDT:
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.
Hubble stirs up galactic soup
on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:48:44 EDT:
A new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a whole host of colorful and differently shaped galaxies; some bright and nearby, some fuzzy, and some so far from us they appear as small specks in the background sky. Together they appear as kind of galactic soup.
Students see world from station crew's point of view
on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:43:34 EDT:
NASA is helping students examine their home planet from space without ever leaving the ground, giving them a global perspective by going beyond a map attached to a sphere on a pedestal. The Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (Sally Ride EarthKAM) program provides a unique educational opportunity for thousands of students multiple times a year.
U.S. commercial cargo ship delivery mission ends as Canadarm2 releases Cygnus
on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:41:14 EDT:
Orbital Sciences Cygnus commercial cargo craft completed a month-long delivery mission to the International Space Station Friday when it was released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 6:40 a.m. EDT. Cygnus is now orbiting on its own, separating from the station and heading for a deorbit and a fiery entry over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.
Curiosity Mars rover prepares for fourth rock drilling
on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:38:24 EDT:
The team operating NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has chosen a rock that looks like a pale paving stone as the mission's fourth drilling target, if it passes engineers' evaluation. They call it "Bonanza King."
NASA's Chandra Observatory searches for trigger of nearby supernova
on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:34:37 EDT:
New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory offer a glimpse into the environment of a star before it exploded earlier this year, and insight into what triggered one of the closest supernovas witnessed in decades.
As seen by Rosetta: Comet surface variations
on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 13:21:09 EDT:
A new image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. It was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on August 7, 2014. At the time, the spacecraft was 65 miles (104 kilometers) away from the 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer) nucleus.
Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from interstellar space
on Thu, 14 Aug 2014 19:19:41 EDT:
The 1999 Stardust mission flew by comet Wild-2 in 2004, capturing cometary and interstellar dust, and delivered its dust-loaded collectors to Earth in 2006. Scientists now report preliminary results of their eight-year analysis of the interstellar particles: seven dust motes that likely originated in another solar system less than 100 million years ago. The particles are more diverse than expected, and fluffier, like a tossed salad.
Dark bands in starlight: New Milky Way maps help solve stubborn interstellar material mystery
on Thu, 14 Aug 2014 19:13:54 EDT:
An international team of sky scholars has produced new maps of the material located between the stars in the Milky Way. The results should move astronomers closer to cracking a stardust puzzle that has vexed them for nearly a century.
Forces that hold rapidly spinning near-Earth asteroid together discovered
on Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:20:37 EDT:
Astronomers studied near-Earth asteroid 1950 DA and discovered that the body, which rotates extremely quickly, is held together by cohesive forces called van der Waals, never detected before on an asteroid.
Rare blurring of black hole light spotted
on Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:20:36 EDT:
Scientists have 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.
Follow the radio waves to find hidden exomoons
on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:02:43 EDT:
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.
Comets forge organic molecules in their dusty atmospheres
on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:11:25 EDT:
Scientists have 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.
Astrophysicists detect destruction of three stars by supermassive black holes
on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:51:51 EDT:
Researchers have reported registering three possible occasions of the total destruction of stars by supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.
All-you-can-eat at the end of the universe: How early black holes could have grown to billions of times the mass of our sun
on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:48:24 EDT:
A new model shows how early black holes could have grown to billions of times the mass of our sun. These giant bodies -- quasars -- feed on interstellar gas, swallowing large quantities of it non-stop. Thus they reveal their existence: The light that is emitted by the gas as it is sucked in and crushed by the black hole's gravity travels for eons across the Universe until it reaches our telescopes. Looking at the edges of the Universe is therefore looking into the past. These far-off, ancient quasars appear to us in their "baby photos" taken less than a billion years after the Big Bang: monstrous infants in a young Universe.
Violent solar system history revealed by meteorite found in Western Australia
on Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:19:33 EDT:
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.
Still hot inside the Moon: Tidal heating in the deepest part of the lunar mantle
on Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:07:15 EDT:
Scientists have found that there is an extremely soft layer deep inside the Moon and that heat is effectively generated in the layer by the gravity of the Earth. These findings suggest that the interior of the Moon has not yet cooled and hardened, and also that it is still being warmed by the effect of the Earth on the Moon. This research provides a chance to reconsider how both the Earth and the Moon have been evolving since their births through mutual influence until now.
Sleep deficiency and sleep medication use in astronauts
on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:58:03 EDT:
In an extensive study of sleep monitoring and sleeping pill use in astronauts, researchers found that astronauts suffer considerable sleep deficiency in the weeks leading up to and during space flight. The research also highlights widespread use of sleeping medication use among astronauts.
White dwarfs crashing into neutron stars explain loneliest supernovae
on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:58:01 EDT:
Astronomers and astrophysicists have found that some of the Universe's loneliest supernovae are likely created by the collisions of white dwarf stars into neutron stars.
A Step closer to understanding the birth of the sun
on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:57:46 EDT:
Researchers are a step closer to understanding the birth of the sun. Scientists have investigated the solar system's prehistoric phase and the events that led to the birth of the sun.
Water 'microhabitats' in oil show potential for extraterrestrial life, oil cleanup: Extremophilic ecosystems writ small
on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:57:38 EDT:
An international team of researchers has found extremely small habitats that increase the potential for life on other planets while offering a way to clean up oil spills on our own. Looking at samples from the world's largest natural asphalt lake, they found active microbes in droplets as small as a microliter, which is about 1/50th of a drop of water.
The black hole at the birth of the Universe
on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:56:18 EDT:
The big bang poses a big question: if it was indeed the cataclysm that blasted our universe into existence 13.7 billion years ago, what sparked it? Three Perimeter Institute researchers have a new idea about what might have come before the big bang. It's a bit perplexing, but it is grounded in sound mathematics and is it testable?
Astronomers find stream of gas, 2.6 million light years long
on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:50:47 EDT:
Astronomers and students have found a bridge of atomic hydrogen gas 2.6 million light years long between galaxies 500 million light years away. The stream of atomic hydrogen gas is the largest known, a million light years longer than a gas tail found in the Virgo Cluster by another Arecibo project a few years ago.
Hubble finds supernova star system linked to potential 'zombie star'
on Wed, 06 Aug 2014 14:21:24 EDT:
Astronomers have spotted a star system that could have left behind a "zombie star" after an unusually weak supernova explosion. A supernova typically obliterates the exploding white dwarf, or dying star. On this occasion, scientists believe this faint supernova may have left behind a surviving portion of the dwarf star -- a sort of zombie star.
Rosetta: 100 kilometres to 'touchdown'
on Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:47:02 EDT:
The Rosetta spacecraft is approaching just 100 kilometres from its target comet, "Chury", today. After a ten-year journey, the Bernese instrument, ROSINA, will soon "smell" the first molecules of the comet's gas tail.
Triangulum galaxy snapped by VST
on Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:47:00 EDT:
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured a beautifully detailed image of the galaxy Messier 33. This nearby spiral, the second closest large galaxy to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is packed with bright star clusters, and clouds of gas and dust. The new picture is amongst the most detailed wide-field views of this object ever taken and shows the many glowing red gas clouds in the spiral arms with particular clarity.
Rosetta spacecraft arrives at comet destination
on Wed, 06 Aug 2014 07:12:16 EDT:
After a decade-long journey chasing its target, ESA's Rosetta has today become the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, opening a new chapter in Solar System exploration. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and Rosetta now lie 405 million kilometres from Earth, about half way between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, rushing towards the inner Solar System at nearly 55,000 kilometres per hour.
How Rosetta arrives at a comet
on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:11:12 EDT:
After travelling nearly 6.4 billion kilometres through the Solar System, ESA's Rosetta is closing in on its target. But how does a spacecraft actually arrive at a comet?
Rosetta takes comet’s temperature
on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:11:11 EDT:
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has made its first temperature measurements of its target comet, finding that it is too hot to be covered in ice and must instead have a dark, dusty crust.