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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Hubble finds ghosts of quasars past

The Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a set of enigmatic quasar ghosts - ethereal green objects which mark the graves of these objects that flickered to life and then faded. The eight unusual looped structures orbit their host galaxies and glow in a bright and eerie goblin-green hue. They offer new insights into the turbulent pasts of these galaxies.

Posted: Apr 2nd, 2015

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Black holes don't erase information, scientists say

Some physicists have argued that black holes are the ultimate vault, sucking in information and then evaporating without leaving behind any clue as to what they once contained. A new study shows this perspective may be wrong. The research finds that information is not lost once it has entered a black hole, and presents explicit calculations showing how information is, in fact, preserved.

Posted: Apr 2nd, 2015

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Comet dust: Planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. They suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from passing comets has slowly painted Mercury black over billions of years.

Posted: Mar 30th, 2015

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As stars form, magnetic fields influence regions big and small

Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn't the only force at work. Both turbulence and magnetic fields battle gravity, either by stirring things up or by channeling and restricting gas flows, respectively. New research focusing on magnetic fields shows that they influence star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year.

Posted: Mar 30th, 2015

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Galaxy clusters collide; dark matter still a mystery

When galaxy clusters collide, their dark matters pass through each other, with very little interaction. Deepening the mystery, a study by scientists at EPFL and the University of Edinburgh challenges the idea that dark matter is composed of particles.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2015

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Hubble and Chandra discover Dark Matter is not as sticky as once thought

Astronomers using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory have found that dark matter does not slow down when colliding with each other. This means that it interacts with itself even less than previously thought. Researchers say this finding narrows down the options for what this mysterious substance might be.

Posted: Mar 26th, 2015

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A short day on Saturn

If you could jump a spaceship out past Mars and Jupiter to Saturn, pass by its rings and somehow park on the planet's gaseous surface, how long would your day be there? This question, surprisingly, has not been precisely answered until now.

Posted: Mar 26th, 2015

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Supermassive black hole clears star-making gas from galaxy's core

A new study provides the first observational evidence that a supermassive black hole at the center of a large galaxy can power huge, wide-angled outpourings of material from deep inside the galaxy's core. These outflows remove massive quantities of star-making gas, thus influencing the size, shape and overall fate of the host galaxy.

Posted: Mar 25th, 2015

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A new spin on Saturn's peculiar rotation

The precise measurement of Saturn's rotation has presented a great challenge to scientists, as different parts of this sweltering ball of hydrogen and helium rotate at different speeds whereas its rotation axis and magnetic pole are aligned. A new method proposes a new determination of Saturn's rotation period and offers insight into the internal structure of the planet, its weather patterns, and the way it formed.

Posted: Mar 25th, 2015

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Satellites catch 'growth spurt' from newborn protostar

Using data from orbiting observatories, including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities, an international team of astronomers has discovered an outburst from a star thought to be in the earliest phase of its development. The eruption, scientists say, reveals a sudden accumulation of gas and dust by an exceptionally young protostar known as HOPS 383.

Posted: Mar 24th, 2015

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Automation offers big solution to big data in astronomy

The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope planned for Africa and Australia, will have an unprecedented ability to deliver data on the location and properties of stars, galaxies and giant clouds of hydrogen gas. In a new study, a team of scientists has developed a new, faster approach to analyzing all that data.

Posted: Mar 24th, 2015

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