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Telescopes Explain Mysterious 17th Century Explosion

March 24, 2015 7:00 am | by ESO | News | Comments

New observations made with telescopes reveal that the star that European astronomers saw appear in the sky in 1670 was not a nova, but a much rarer, violent breed of stellar collision. It was spectacular enough to be easily seen with the naked eye during its first outburst, but the traces it left were so faint that very careful analysis using submillimeter telescopes was needed before the mystery could be explained.

Jupiter's Journey Shaped Our Strange Solar System

March 24, 2015 7:00 am | by UC Santa Cruz | News | Comments

Jupiter may have swept through the early solar system like a wrecking ball, destroying a first...

Huge Lava Tubes May Exist on Moon

March 20, 2015 8:44 am | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Lava tubes large enough to house cities could be structurally stable on the moon, according to a...

Rare Total Eclipse over Svalbard Islands in Arctic

March 20, 2015 8:35 am | by Martin Benedyk, Catherine Gaschka, Associated Press | News | Comments

Sky-gazers in the Arctic were treated to a perfect view of a total solar eclipse Friday as the...

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Map Shows Extent of Moon's Giant Volcanic Eruption

March 18, 2015 2:15 pm | by Durham University | News | Comments

Scientists have produced a new map of the Moon's most unusual volcano, showing that its explosive eruption spread debris over an area much greater than previously thought.

Yet Another Saturn? Second Minor Planet May Have Rings

March 17, 2015 1:45 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

Scientists recently detected the minor planet Chariklo’s ring system — a surprising finding, as it had been thought that centaurs are relatively dormant. Now scientists at MIT and elsewhere have detected a possible ring system around a second centaur, Chiron.

Four Spacecraft to Unravel Magnetic Mystery

March 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Marcia Dunn | News | Comments

NASA have launched four identical spacecraft on a billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun's magnetic fields. The unmanned Atlas rocket— and NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft— soared into a clear late-night sky, right on time. Within two hours, all four observatories were flying free.

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Saturn's Moon May Have Hot Springs

March 12, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Alicia Chang | News | Comments

New research suggests there are hot springs bubbling beneath the icy surface of a tiny Saturn moon. If confirmed, it would make the moon Enceladus the only other known body in the solar system besides Earth where hot water and rocks interact underground.  

Image of the Week: Dwarf Galaxies Found Around Milky Way

March 10, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A team of astronomers has identified nine new dwarf satellites orbiting the Milky Way, the largest number ever discovered at once. The findings, from newly released imaging data taken from the Dark Energy Survey, may help unravel the mysteries behind dark matter, the invisible substance holding galaxies together.  

Technique Could Power Life on Mars

March 6, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Northumbria | News | Comments

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide. New research proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect– a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point.  

The Universe Isn't as Bright as It Should Be

March 5, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

A handful of new stars are born each year in the Milky Way, while many more blink on across the universe. But astronomers have observed that galaxies should be churning out millions more stars, based on the amount of interstellar gas available. Now, researchers have pieced together a theory describing how clusters of galaxies may regulate star formation.

Early Galaxy Was Dusty

March 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by Niels Bohr Institute | News | Comments

Dust plays an extremely important role in the universe— both in the formation of planets and new stars. But dust was not there from the beginning and the earliest galaxies had no dust, only gas. Now, an international team of astronomers has discovered a dust-filled galaxy from the very early universe.

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Another Helmet Leaks During Spacewalk

February 26, 2015 8:04 am | by Associated Press, Marcia Dunn | News | Comments

A spacewalking astronaut ended up with unwanted water in his helmet after breezing through a cable and lube job outside the International Space Station. The leak was scarily reminiscent of a near-drowning outside the orbiting complex nearly two years ago.

Physicists May Have Found Origin of Matter

February 25, 2015 3:00 pm | by UCLA | News | Comments

Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of matter not antimatter. That asymmetry, which favors matter to a very small degree, has puzzled scientists for many years. New research offers a possible solution to the mystery of the origin of matter in the universe.

Russia Will Retain Part of ISS After Mission

February 25, 2015 8:01 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Russia's space agency expects the International Space Station to stay in orbit through 2024, and plans to create its own space outpost with its segment of the station after that.

Dying Exoplanet Key to Learning How Solar System Formed

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by The Open Univ. | News | Comments

Exciting new research has opened up the chance to find out what distant planets are made of. A team of astronomers have made observations that can help reveal the chemical makeup of a small rocky world orbiting a distant star about 1,500 light years away from Earth, increasing our understanding of how planets, including ours, were formed.

Dark Matter May Be Linked to Extinctions, Geologic Upheavals

February 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by New York Univ. | News | Comments

Research by a professor concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. Movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.

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Today in Lab History: Discovery of Pluto

February 18, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

On Feb. 18, 1930, the American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto. At the time he was actually searching for a trans-Neptunian planet, known as Planet X, predicted by Percival Lowell and William Pickering.

Image of the Week: Why Do Some Galaxies Burst?

February 17, 2015 7:00 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | News | Comments

Starburst galaxies transmute gas into new stars at a dizzying pace— up to 1,000 times faster than typical spiral galaxies like the Milky Way. To help understand why some galaxies "burst" while others do not, an international team of astronomers used the ALMA to dissect a cluster of star-forming clouds at the heart of NGC 253, one of the nearest starburst galaxies to the Milky Way.

Is Seeking E.T. Risky?

February 16, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

Astronomers are looking for alien life, and for decades, they have sat by their telescopes, waiting to hear from E.T. It didn't happen, and so now some of them want to beam messages out into the void and invite the closest few thousand worlds to chat or even visit.

Two Years Later We Still Don't Know Russian Meteor's Origin

February 16, 2015 3:00 pm | by Planetary Science Institute | News | Comments

Two years after a 20-meter rock slammed into the Earth after a meteoroid dramatically fragmented in the atmosphere over the Chelyabinsk region in Russia and injured hundreds of people, its parent asteroid remains elusive.

Image of the Week: Stellar Marriage Will End Catastrophically

February 10, 2015 7:00 am | by ESO | News | Comments

A team of astronomers has discovered a close pair of white dwarf stars that have a total mass of about 1.8 times that of the Sun. This is the most massive such pair yet found and, when these two stars merge in the future, they will create a runaway thermonuclear explosion leading to a Type Ia supernova.

Tech Key to Cheaper, Faster Small-satellite Launches

February 9, 2015 7:00 am | by DARPA | Videos | Comments

DARPA has been developing new concepts and architectures to get small satellites into orbit more economically on short notice. There have been several key accomplishments of the program to date, including successful completion of Phase 1 design and selection of the Boeing Company as prime contractor for Phase 2 of the program.

Today in Lab History: Golf on the Moon

February 6, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

On Feb. 6, 1971, Alan Shepard, an American astronaut played golf on the moon. Alan Shepard, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, was the Commander of Apollo 14. The mission marked America’s third successful Moon landing and the first to use a color camera to send pictures back to Earth.

Hydrogen More Abundant on Moon's Pole-facing Slopes

February 6, 2015 7:00 am | by NASA | News | Comments

Space travel is difficult and expensive– it would cost thousands of dollars to launch a bottle of water to the moon. The recent discovery of hydrogen-bearing molecules, possibly including water, on the moon has explorers excited because these deposits could be mined if they are sufficiently abundant, sparing the considerable expense of bringing water from Earth.

Telescope Peers Through Galaxy to Find Hidden Objects

February 4, 2015 3:00 pm | by ESO | News | Comments

A new image taken with ESO’s VISTA survey telescope reveals the famous Trifid Nebula in a new and ghostly light. By observing in infrared light, astronomers can see right through the dust-filled central parts of the Milky Way and spot many previously hidden objects.

Legendry Female Scientists You've Never Heard Of

February 4, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | Videos | Comments

One saved the U.S. space program, another invented a better treatment for leprosy and a third spawned an industry in the American Midwest. Mary Sherman Morgan, Alice Ball and Rachel Lloyd all had amazing accomplishments in chemistry, but their work was nearly lost to history.

Virgin Back on Track for Space Tourism

February 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Susan Bryan | News | Comments

The only thing interrupting New Mexico's most remote stretches of desert is a runway where Virgin Galactic plans to launch the world's first commercial space-line. Virgin Galactic had proclaimed 2015 was going to be the year. That was until the company's rocket-powered spacecraft broke apart during a test flight last fall, killing one pilot. Now, Virgin Galactic says things are on track and testing will take off again this year.

Mice Show How Spaceflight Ages Immune System

February 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology | News | Comments

As the world waits to see if Mars One can establish a human colony on Mars, scientists are working to determine the long-term consequences of living in low or no-gravity conditions, such as those that might exist on the trip to another planet. New research found that mice in low gravity conditions experience changes in B lymphocyte production in their bone marrow similar to those observed in elderly mice living in Earth conditions.

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