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Astronomer's model helps identify binary star inside curved-jet-shooting nebula

University of Tübingen astronomer Dr. Thomas Rauch has helped an international team of astronomers with their discovery of a pair of stars circling inside one of the strangest known planetary nebulae. The researchers used his new model to confirm a long-debated theory on the spectacular and symmetrical appearance of matter hurled into space by binary stars.

Posted: Nov 7th, 2012

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Solar system's birth record revised

Some 4.567 billion years ago, our solar system?s planets spawned from an expansive disc of gas and dust rotating around the sun. While similar processes are witnessed in younger solar systems throughout the Milky Way, the formative stages of our own solar system were believed to have taken twice as long to occur. Now, new research lead by the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, suggests otherwise. Indeed, our solar system is not quite as special as once believed.

Posted: Nov 2nd, 2012

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NASA'S Curiosity Rover provides clues to changes in martian atmosphere

NASA's car-sized rover, Curiosity, has taken significant steps toward understanding how Mars may have lost much of its original atmosphere. Learning what happened to the Martian atmosphere will help scientists assess whether the planet ever was habitable. The present atmosphere of Mars is 100 times thinner than Earth's.

Posted: Nov 2nd, 2012

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Asteroid belts of just the right size are friendly to life

Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are dependent on the presence of asteroid belts of just the right mass, according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan Fellow from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.

Posted: Nov 1st, 2012

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Stars ancient and modern?

Globular star clusters are among the oldest objects in the Universe, and NGC 6362 cannot hide its age in this picture. The many yellowish stars in the cluster have already run through much of their lives and become red giant stars. But globular clusters are not static relics from the past - some curious stellar activities are still going on in these dense star cities.

Posted: Oct 31st, 2012

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New type of 'space weathering' observed on asteroid Vesta

The surface of the giant asteroid Vesta is weathering in a way that appears to be completely different from any other asteroid yet visited, according to new data recorded by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. This new type of space weathering suggests that there's something about Vesta - perhaps its mineral composition or its position in the solar system - that makes its surface environment fundamentally different from other asteroids studied thus far.

Posted: Oct 31st, 2012

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Curiosity on Mars sits on rocks similar to those found in marshes in Mexico

Millions of years ago fire and water forged the gypsum rocks locked in at Cuatro Ciénegas, a Mexican valley similar to the Martian crater where NASA's Rover Curiosity roams. A team of researchers have now analysed the bacterial communities that have survived in these inhospitable springs since the beginning of life on Earth.

Posted: Oct 29th, 2012

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Rocker experiment will observe spiral galaxy near big dipper's handle

In the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 10, astrophysicist Timothy Cook and his research team will be at the Army?s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, ready to launch a NASA-funded science experiment, called IMAGER, which has been five years in the making. They will use a Black Brant IX, an 18-foot-long two-stage sounding rocket capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds of payload into suborbital flight.

Posted: Oct 25th, 2012

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Cosmic filaments make up half the mass of the universe

An international team of astronomers has carried out the first three-dimensional study of a cosmic filament of dark matter. Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the team discovered that the filament, which is part of the Cosmic Web, is fuelling one of the most massive galaxy clusters in the universe, and has a length of over 60 million light years.

Posted: Oct 18th, 2012

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Jupiter: Turmoil from below, battering from above

Jupiter, the mythical god of sky and thunder, would certainly be pleased at all the changes afoot at his namesake planet. As the planet gets peppered continually with small space rocks, wide belts of the atmosphere are changing color, hotspots are vanishing and reappearing, and clouds are gathering over one part of Jupiter, while dissipating over another.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2012

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What's baking on Titan?

Radar images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal some new curiosities on the surface of Saturn's mysterious moon Titan, including a nearly circular feature that resembles a giant hot cross bun and shorelines of ancient seas.

Posted: Oct 16th, 2012

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