Invading Black Holes Explain Cosmic Flashes

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Artist’s concept: In the center of a swirling whirlpool of hot gas is likely a
beast that has never been seen directly: a black hole.

Black holes are invading stars, providing a radical explanation to bright flashes in the universe that are one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy today. Continue reading… “Invading Black Holes Explain Cosmic Flashes”

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Swift Makes Best-ever Ultraviolet Portrait Of Andromeda Galaxy

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This mosaic of M31 merges 330 individual images taken by the Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope aboard NASA’s Swift spacecraft.

In a break from its usual task of searching for distant cosmic explosions, NASA’s Swift satellite has acquired the highest-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy ever attained in the ultraviolet. The galaxy, known as M31 in the constellation Andromeda, is the largest and closest spiral galaxy to our own.

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Oddball Stars Explained: New Observations Solve Longstanding Mystery Of Tipped Stars

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stars now explained. New observations on the double star system.

A pair of unusual stars known as DI Herculis has confounded astronomers for three decades, but new observations by MIT researchers and their colleagues have provided data that they say solve the mystery once and for all.

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Component Of Mothballs Is Present In Deep-space Clouds

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Also known as M42, the Orion Nebula’s glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud some 1,500 light-years away.

Interstellar clouds, drifting through the unimaginable vastness of space, may be the stuff dreams are made of. But it turns out there’s an unexpectedly strange component in those clouds, and it’s not dreams but—mothballs?

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The Milky Way Doomed to be Destroyed by Galactic Bombardment? Probably Not, Study Says

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This image from a supercomputer simulation shows the density of dark matter in our Milky Way galaxy which is known to contain an ancient thin disk of stars.

As scientists attempt to learn more about how galaxies evolve, an open question has been whether collisions with our dwarf galactic neighbors will one day tear apart the disk of the Milky Way.

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Coolest Spacecraft Ever In Orbit Around L2 (-273 Degrees Celsius)

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This artist’s impression shows the focal plane unit of the Planck telescope.

On July 2 the detectors of Planck’s High Frequency Instrument reached their amazingly low operational temperature of -273°C, making them the coldest known objects in space. The spacecraft has also just entered its final orbit around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, L2. Planck is equipped with a passive cooling system that brings its temperature down to about -230°C by radiating heat into space. Three active coolers take over from there, and bring the temperature down further to an amazing low of -273.05°C, only 0.1°C above absolute zero – the coldest temperature theoretically possible in our Universe.

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Galaxies Coming Of Age In Cosmic Blobs

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This is the first of a pair of artist’s representations showing what one of the
galaxies inside a blob might look like if viewed at a relatively close distance.

The “coming of age” of galaxies and black holes has been pinpointed, thanks to new data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. This discovery helps resolve the true nature of gigantic blobs of gas observed around very young galaxies.

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New Light Shed On ‘Dark’ Gamma-ray Bursts

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Dense knots of dust in otherwise normal galaxies dim the light of a dark gamma-ray burst

Gamma-ray bursts are the universe’s biggest explosions, capable of producing so much light that ground-based telescopes easily detect it billions of light-years away. Yet, for more than a decade, astronomers have puzzled over the nature of so-called dark bursts, which produce gamma rays and X-rays but little or no visible light. They make up roughly half of the bursts detected by NASA’s Swift satellite since its 2004 launch.

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Meteorite Grains Divulge Earth’s Cosmic Roots

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University of Chicago postdoctoral scientist Philipp Heck with a sample of the Allende meteorite.

The interstellar stuff that became incorporated into the planets and life on Earth has younger cosmic roots than theories predict, according to the University of Chicago postdoctoral scholar Philipp Heck and his international team of colleagues.

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New Tidal Debris Discovered From Colliding Galaxies

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Deep optical image of the Antennae galaxies

Astronomers have discovered new tidal debris stripped away from colliding galaxies. New debris images are of special interest since they show the full history of galaxy collisions and resultant starburst activities, which are important in ‘growing’ galaxies in the early Universe.

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Extension For Earth Also Doubles Odds Of Finding Life On Other Planets

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Roughly a billion years from now, the ever-increasing radiation from the sun will have heated Earth into inhabitability

Roughly a billion years from now, the ever-increasing radiation from the sun will have heated Earth into inhabitability; the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that serves as food for plant life will disappear, pulled out by the weathering of rocks; the oceans will evaporate; and all living things will disappear.

Continue reading… “Extension For Earth Also Doubles Odds Of Finding Life On Other Planets”

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