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Space Exploration News

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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Dark matter at the heart of our Galaxy

The Universe is pervaded by a mysterious form of matter, dubbed dark matter, about five times more abundant than the ordinary matter we are familiar with. Its existence in galaxies was robustly established in the 1970s. Scientists now obtained for the first time a direct observational proof of the presence of dark matter in the innermost part our Galaxy, the Milky Way.

Posted: Feb 9th, 2015

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Planck reveals first stars were born late

New maps from the Planck satellite uncover the 'polarised' light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.

Posted: Feb 8th, 2015

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Lifting the veil on a dark galaxy

A cluster of young, pulsating stars discovered in the far side of the Milky Way may mark the location of a previously unseen dark-matter dominated dwarf galaxy hidden behind clouds of dust.

Posted: Feb 8th, 2015

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Still doubts on gravitational waves

In March last year the BICEP2 team claimed to have observed, for the first time, the effects of gravitational waves in cosmic background radiation. In September Planck demonstrated that the signal observed might be the result of 'contaminants' due to the polarized radiation produced by our Galaxy. A new paper confirms the Planck observation: even following a more accurate analysis (and the adoption of new instruments) there is still evidence of contaminants.

Posted: Feb 2nd, 2015

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'Live fast, die young' galaxies lose the gas that keeps them alive

Galaxies can die early because the gas they need to make new stars is suddenly ejected, research published today suggests. Most galaxies age slowly as they run out of raw materials needed for growth over billions of years. But a pilot study looking at galaxies that die young has found some might shoot out this gas early on, causing them to redden and kick the bucket prematurely.

Posted: Feb 2nd, 2015

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CAT scan of nearby supernova remnant reveals frothy interior

Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is one of the most well studied supernova remnants in our galaxy. But it still holds major surprises. Astronomers have generated a new 3-D map of its interior using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan. They found that the Cas A supernova remnant is composed of a collection of about a half dozen massive cavities - or 'bubbles'.

Posted: Jan 29th, 2015

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The two faces of Mars

The two hemispheres of Mars are more different from any other planet in our solar system. Non-volcanic, flat lowlands characterise the northern hemisphere, while highlands punctuated by countless volcanoes extend across the southern hemisphere. Although theories and assumptions about the origin of this so-called and often-discussed Mars dichotomy abound, there are very few definitive answers. Geophysicists are now providing a new explanation.

Posted: Jan 28th, 2015

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The mouth of the beast

Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from ESO's Very Large Telescope. Although it appears to be big and bright in this picture, this is actually a faint nebula, which makes it very hard for amateur astronomers to spot. The exact nature of CG4 remains a mystery.

Posted: Jan 28th, 2015

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