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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Astronomers bring the third dimension to a doomed star's outburst

In the middle of the 19th century, the massive binary system Eta Carinae underwent an eruption that ejected at least 10 times the sun's mass and made it the second-brightest star in the sky. Now, a team of astronomers has used extensive new observations to create the first high-resolution 3-D model of the expanding cloud produced by this outburst.

Posted: Jul 9th, 2014

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Laboratory models suggest that stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon's surface

Processes that shaped the ridges and troughs on the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Ganymede are likely similar to tectonic processes seen on Earth, according to a team of researchers led by Southwest Research Institute. To arrive at this conclusion, the team subjected physical models made of clay to stretching forces that simulate tectonic action.

Posted: Jul 8th, 2014

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Cosmic accounting reveals missing light crisis

Something is amiss in the Universe. There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget. The vast reaches of empty space between galaxies are bridged by tendrils of hydrogen and helium, which can be used as a precise 'light meter.' In a recent study a team of scientists finds that the light from known populations of galaxies and quasars is not nearly enough to explain observations of intergalactic hydrogen. The difference is a stunning 400 percent.

Posted: Jul 8th, 2014

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A hotspot for powerful cosmic rays

An observatory found a 'hotspot' beneath the Big Dipper emitting a disproportionate number of the highest-energy cosmic rays. The discovery moves physics another step toward identifying the mysterious sources of the most energetic particles in the universe.

Posted: Jul 8th, 2014

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Dropship offers safe landings for Mars rovers (w/video)

The dramatic conclusion to ESA's latest StarTiger project: a 'dropship' quadcopter steers itself to lower a rover gently onto a safe patch of the rocky martian surface. StarTiger's Dropter project was tasked with developing and demonstrating a European precision-landing capability for Mars and other targets.

Posted: Jul 7th, 2014

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