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Universe may face a darker future: Is dark matter swallowing up dark energy?
on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:20:21 EDT:
New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our Universe might be. Scientists have found hints that dark matter, the cosmic scaffolding on which our Universe is built, is being slowly erased, swallowed up by dark energy.
Oceans arrived early to Earth; Primitive meteorites were a likely source of water, study finds
on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:22:38 EDT:
Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life. While water is essential for life on the planet, the answers to two key questions have eluded us: Where did Earth's water come from and when? While some hypothesize that water came late to Earth, well after the planet had formed, findings from a new study significantly move back the clock for the first evidence of water on Earth and in the inner solar system.
Planet discovered that won't stick to a schedule
on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:33:56 EDT:
For their latest discovery, astronomers have found a low-mass, low-density planet with a punctuality problem. The new planet, called PH3c, is located 2,300 light years from Earth and has an atmosphere loaded with hydrogen and helium. Its inconsistency kept it from being picked up by automated computer algorithms that search stellar light curves and identify regular dips caused by objects passing in front of stars.
Hubble sees 'ghost light' from dead galaxies
on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:29:49 EDT:
The universe is an infinite sea of galaxies, which are majestic star-cities. When galaxies group together in massive clusters, some of them can be ripped apart by the gravitational tug of other galaxies. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to probe the massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744 — nicknamed Pandora's Cluster — have found forensic evidence of galaxies torn apart long ago. It's in the form of a phantom-like faint glow filling the space between the galaxies. This glow comes from stars scattered into intergalactic space as a result of a galaxy's disintegration.
Scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds: Many Interacting Worlds theory challenges foundations of quantum science
on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:16:54 EDT:
Academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory on parallel universes. Scientists now propose that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. They show that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about quantum mechanics.
When did galaxies settle down?
on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:12:41 EDT:
Astronomers have long sought to understand exactly how the universe evolved from its earliest history to the cosmos we see around us in the present day. In particular, the way that galaxies form and develop is still a matter for debate. Now a group of researchers have used the collective efforts of the hundreds of thousands of people that volunteer for the Galaxy Zoo project to shed some light on this problem. They find that galaxies may have settled into their current form some two billion years earlier than previously thought.
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility completes initial assessment after Orbital launch mishap
on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:09:56 EDT:
The Wallops Incident Response Team completed today an initial assessment of Wallops Island, Virginia, following the catastrophic failure of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket shortly after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 28, from Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Planet-forming lifeline discovered in a binary star system
on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:12:21 EDT:
Scientists have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disk of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago.
Supersonic laser-propelled rockets: Hybrid approach may help power rockets, launch satellites, push future aircraft past Mach 10
on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:34:46 EDT:
Researchers have described a new system that integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft which can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds while reducing the amount of burned fuel.
Planck 2013 results: Special feature describes data gathered over 15 months of observations
on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:54:03 EDT:
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature of 31 articles describing the data gathered by Planck over 15 months of observations and released by ESA and the Planck Collaboration in March 2013. This series of papers presents the initial scientific results extracted from this first Planck dataset.
NASA statement regarding Oct. 28 Orbital Sciences Corp. Launch mishap
on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:05:52 EDT:
The following statement is from William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, regarding the mishap that occurred at Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia during the attempted launch of Orbital Sciences Corp's Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 6:22 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28.
NASA Wallops preparations on track for tonight’s Orbital Sciences launch to International Space Station
on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:03:49 EDT:
Ahead of the third U.S. commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station by Orbital Sciences Corp., NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia continues to enable successful launches from the Eastern Shore. Orbital's Antares rocket carrying 5,000 pounds of NASA cargo aboard the company's Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to liftoff at 6:22 p.m. EDT, Oct. 28, 2014.
Moon mission: Images of LADEE's impact crater captured
on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:41:39 EDT:
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has spied a new crater on the lunar surface; one made from the impact of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission.
Laser experiments mimic cosmic explosions and planetary cores
on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:26:10 EDT:
Researchers are finding ways to understand some of the mysteries of space without leaving earth. Using high-intensity lasers focused on targets smaller than a pencil's eraser, they conducted experiments to create colliding jets of plasma knotted by plasma filaments and self-generated magnetic fields, reaching pressures a billion times higher than seen on earth.
Physicists closer to understanding balance of matter, antimatter in universe
on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:50:08 EDT:
Physicists have made important discoveries regarding Bs meson particles -- something that may explain why the Universe contains more matter than antimatter.
Tremendously bright pulsar may be one of many
on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:04:55 EDT:
A newly found pulsar, the brightest ever seen, raises questions about a mysterious category of cosmic objects called ultraluminous X-ray sources. A member of the team that announced the discovery now discusses the likelihood of additional ultra-bright pulsars and considers how astrophysicists will align this new find with their understanding of how pulsars work.
Zero gravity experiments on the International Space Station shed some light on thermodiffusion effects
on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:03:44 EDT:
Thermodiffusion, also called the Soret effect, is a mechanism by which an imposed temperature difference establishes a concentration difference within a mixture. Two studies now provide a better understanding of such effects.
Astronomers image the exploding fireball stage of a nova
on Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:50:49 EDT:
Astronomers have observed the expanding thermonuclear fireball from a nova that erupted last year in the constellation Delphinus with unprecedented clarity.
Hinode satellite captures X-ray footage of solar eclipse
on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:27:21 EDT:
The moon passed between the Earth and the sun on Thursday, Oct. 23. While avid stargazers in North America looked up to watch the spectacle, the best vantage point was several hundred miles above the North Pole. The Hinode spacecraft was in the right place at the right time to catch the solar eclipse. What's more, because of its vantage point Hinode witnessed a 'ring of fire' or annular eclipse.
NASA identifies ice cloud above cruising altitude on Titan
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:05:54 EDT:
NASA scientists have identified an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan that is similar to exotic clouds found far above Earth's poles.
NASA's Fermi satellite finds hints of starquakes in magnetar 'storm'
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:02:49 EDT:
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a rapid-fire "storm" of high-energy blasts from a highly magnetized neutron star, also called a magnetar, on Jan. 22, 2009. Now astronomers analyzing this data have discovered underlying signals related to seismic waves rippling throughout the magnetar.
Illusions in the cosmic clouds: New image of spinning neutron star
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:59:37 EDT:
Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.
MAVEN ultraviolet image of comet Siding Spring's hydrogen coma
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:57:10 EDT:
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft obtained this ultraviolet image of hydrogen surrounding comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on Oct. 17, 2014, two days before the comet's closest approach to Mars. The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument imaged the comet at a distance of 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers).
Mars Orbiter's spectrometer shows Oort comet's coma
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:54:11 EDT:
The Compact Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) observed comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as the comet sped close to Mars on Oct. 19. CRISM recorded imaging data in 107 different wavelengths, showing the inner part of the cloud of dust, called the coma, surrounding the comet's nucleus.
Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:51:58 EDT:
It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1291. Though the galaxy is quite old, roughly 12 billion years, it is marked by an unusual ring where newborn stars are igniting.
NASA ultra-black nano-coating to be applied to 3-D new solar coronagraph
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:34:37 EDT:
An emerging super-black nanotechnology that is to be tested for the first time this fall on the International Space Station will be applied to a complex, 3-D component critical for suppressing stray light in a new, smaller, less-expensive solar coronagraph designed to ultimately fly on the orbiting outpost or as a hosted payload on a commercial satellite.
Mass gaging system will measure fuel transfer in zero gravity
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:27:10 EDT:
Transfer of super-cooled or cryogenic fuel from one tank to another in the zero gravity of space may one day be a reality. But the challenges of measuring fuels and fuel levels in the weightlessness of space must be solved first. A newly developed sensor technology that will be tested on the early suborbital flights of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo in 2015.
NASA creating a virtual telescope with two small spacecraft
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:25:07 EDT:
Although scientists have flown two spacecraft in formation, no one ever has aligned the spacecraft with a specific astronomical target and then held that configuration to make a scientific observation -- creating, in effect, a single or "virtual" telescope with two distinctly different satellites.
NASA's SDO observes largest sunspot of the solar cycle
on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:10:20 EDT:
On Oct. 18, 2014, a sunspot rotated over the left side of the sun, and soon grew to be the largest active region seen in the current solar cycle, which began in 2008. Currently, the sunspot is almost 80,000 miles across -- ten Earth's could be laid across its diameter.
In orbit or on Earth, implantable device will be commanded to release therapeutic drugs remotely
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:33:57 EDT:
Scientists are developing an implantable device that delivers therapeutic drugs at a rate guided by remote control. The device's effectiveness will be tested aboard the International Space Station and on Earth's surface.
3-D map of the adolescent universe
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:41:11 EDT:
Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice of the adolescent universe. The map shows a web of hydrogen gas that varies from low to high density at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see.
Understanding and predicting solar flares
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:16:11 EDT:
Scientists have identified a key phenomenon in the triggering of solar flares. Using satellite data and models, the scientists were able to monitor the evolution of the solar magnetic field in a region with eruptive behavior. Their calculations reveal the formation of a magnetic rope1 that emerges from the interior of the Sun and is associated with the appearance of a sunspot. They show that this structure plays an important role in triggering the flare.
Lucky star escapes black hole with minor damage: Closest near-miss event to be spotted near the Milky Way
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:08:47 EDT:
Astronomers have gotten the closest look yet at what happens when a black hole takes a bite out of a star -- and the star lives to tell the tale.
Acousto-optic tunable filter technology for balloon-borne platforms
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:07:33 EDT:
A balloon-borne acousto-optic tunable filter hyperspectral imager is ideally suited to address numerous outstanding questions in planetary science. Their spectral agility, narrowband wavelength selection, tolerance to the near-space environment, and spectral coverage would enable investigations not feasible from the ground. Example use cases include synoptic observations of clouds on Venus and the giant planets, studies of molecular emissions from cometary comae, the mapping of surface ices on small bodies, and polarimetry.
Intelligent materials that work in space
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:06:19 EDT:
Scientists will be testing technology developed in the International Space Station. The technology is based on intelligent materials that allow objects to be sent into orbit without the use of explosives.
Recent space debris threat warded off
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:20:37 EDT:
Space debris, also known as 'space junk,' is an ongoing real-life concern for teams managing satellites orbiting Earth, including NOAA-NASA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. It is not unusual for satellites that have the capability of maneuvering to be repositioned to avoid debris or to maintain the proper orbit.
New experiment provides route to macroscopic high-mass superpositions
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:18:21 EDT:
Scientists have designed a new experiment to test the foundations of quantum mechanics at the large scale. Standard quantum theory places no limit on particle size and current experiments use larger and larger particles, which exhibit wave-like behavior. However, at these masses experiments begin to probe extensions to standard quantum mechanics, which describe the apparent quantum-to-classical transition. Now researchers have designed a new type of experiment which will advance the current state-of-the-art experiments by a factor of 100, from 10,000 atomic mass units (amu), roughly equal to the mass of a single proton, to one million amu.
The perfume of the comet
on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:18:05 EDT:
How does a comet smell? Since early August the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) is sniffing the fumes of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko with its two mass spectrometers. The detected chemistry in the coma of the comet is surprisingly rich already at more than 400 million kilometers from the Sun. 
Titan glowing at dusk and dawn
on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:01:15 EDT:
New maps of Saturn's moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to the east or west, so that dawn is breaking over the southern region while dusk is falling over the northern one.
Two families of comets found around nearby star: Biggest census ever of exocomets around Beta Pictoris
on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:06:01 EDT:
The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. Astronomers have studied nearly 500 individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris and has discovered that they belong to two distinct families of exocomets: old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star, and younger exocomets that probably came from the recent breakup of one or more larger objects.
New window on the early Universe
on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:43:31 EDT:
Scientists see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from  galaxies at the edge of the Universe. Using two world-class supercomputers, the researchers were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach by simulating the formation of a massive galaxy at the dawn of cosmic time. The ALMA radio telescope – which stands at an elevation of 5,000 meters in the Atacama Desert of Chile, one of the driest places on earth – was then used to forge observations of the galaxy, showing how their method improves upon previous efforts.
NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test
on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:07:34 EDT:
After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module and its sensitive instruments, emerged unscathed from the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions
on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:50:14 EDT:
Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new article.
Big black holes can block new stars
on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:07:58 EDT:
Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.
POLARBEAR detects B-modes in the cosmic microwave background: Mapping cosmic structure, finding neutrino masses
on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:11:42 EDT:
The POLARBEAR experiment has made the most sensitive and precise measurements yet of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background and found telling twists called B-modes in the patterns, signs that this cosmic backlight has been warped by intervening structures in the universe.
NASA Rover Opportunity views comet near Mars
on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:35:40 EDT:
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars. The images of comet Siding Spring were taken against a backdrop of the pre-dawn Martian sky on Sunday (Oct. 19).
Mars Orbiter image shows comet nucleus is small
on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:33:44 EDT:
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured views of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring while that visitor sped past Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19), yielding information about its nucleus.
Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery
on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:39:12 EDT:
Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old spacecraft data. Venus's surface can't be seen from orbit in visible light because of the planet's hot, dense, cloudy atmosphere. Instead, radar has been used by spacecraft to penetrate the clouds and map out the surface – both by reflecting radar off the surface to measure elevation and by looking at the radio emissions of the hot surface. The last spacecraft to map Venus in this way was Magellan, two decades ago.
NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter watches comet fly near
on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:28:26 EDT:
The longest-lived robot ever sent to Mars came through its latest challenge in good health, reporting home on schedule after sheltering behind Mars from possible comet dust.
NASA's MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects
on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:26:34 EDT:
NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars Oct. 19 and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter studies comet flyby
on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:21:55 EDT:
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has sent home more data about Mars than all other missions combined, is also now providing data about a comet that buzzed The Red Planet Oct. 19.
Explosion first evidence of a hydrogen-deficient supernova progenitor
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:28:28 EDT:
A new model is the first characterization of the progenitor for a hydrogen-deficient supernova. The model predicts that a bright hot star, which is the binary companion to an exploding object, remains after the explosion.Their findings have important implications for the evolution of massive stars.
NASA spacecraft provides new information about sun's atmosphere
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:54:07 EDT:
NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has provided scientists with five new findings into how the sun's atmosphere, or corona, is heated far hotter than its surface, what causes the sun's constant outflow of particles called the solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares.
Tiny 'nanoflares' might heat the Sun's corona
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:06:10 EDT:
Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a team led by Paola Testa is presenting new clues to the mystery of coronal heating. The team finds that miniature solar flares called 'nanoflares' -- and the speedy electrons they produce -- might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun's corona.
Journey to the center of the Earth: Geochemist uses helium and lead isotopes to gain insight into makeup of planet’s deep interior
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:40:07 EDT:
A geochemist studying Samoan volcanoes has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside Earth. Known as hotspots, volcanic island chains such as Samoa can ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have somehow survived billions of years.
Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:37:02 EDT:
Astrophysical jets are counted among our universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. Now, for the first time ever, an international team of researchers has successfully tested a new model that explains how magnetic fields form these emissions in young stars.
Wobbling of a Saturn moon hints at what lies beneath
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:36:56 EDT:
Using instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft to measure the wobbles of Mimas, the closest of Saturn's regular moons, an astronomer has inferred that this small moon's icy surface cloaks either a rugby ball-shaped rocky core or a sloshing sub-surface ocean.
Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy through cosmic magnifying glass
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:08:51 EDT:
Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the lensing power of giant galaxy cluster Abell 2744, astronomers may have made the most reliable distance measurement yet of an object that existed in the very early universe. The galaxy, estimated to be over 13 billion light-years away, is one of the farthest, faintest, and smallest galaxies ever seen.
Inexplicable signal from unseen universe provides tantalizing clue about one of astronomy's greatest secrets -- dark matter
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:54:10 EDT:
The first potential indication of direct detection of dark matter -- something that has been a mystery in physics for over 30 years -- has been attained. Astronomers found what appears to be a signature of 'axions', predicted 'dark matter' particle candidates.
Making measurements when a comet passes close to Mars
on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:54:02 EDT:
On Sunday 19 October at 20:29 CET, a comet will pass close to the planet Mars. At the same time the Swedish instrument ASPERA-3 is on board the European satellite Mars Express orbiting Mars and ready to make measurements.