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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Most metal-poor star hints at universe's first supernovae

In a new study, researchers point out that the elemental abundance of the most iron-poor star can be explained by elements ejected from supernova explosions of the universe's first stars. This reveals that massive stars, which are several tens of times more immense than the Sun, were present among the first stars.

Posted: Sep 24th, 2014

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Astronomers find clear skies and water vapor on exoplanet

Astronomers using data from three space telescopes - Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler - have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a gaseous planet outside our solar system. The planet is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest planet from which molecules of any kind have been detected.

Posted: Sep 24th, 2014

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Most stars are born in clusters, some leave 'home'

New modeling studies demonstrate that most of the stars we see were formed when unstable clusters of newly formed protostars broke up. These protostars are born out of rotating clouds of dust and gas, which act as nurseries for star formation. Rare clusters of multiple protostars remain stable and mature into multi-star systems. The unstable ones will eject stars until they achieve stability and end up as single or binary stars.

Posted: Sep 24th, 2014

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Solar explosions inside a computer

Strong solar flares can bring down communications and power grids on Earth. By demonstrating how these gigantic eruptions are caused, physicists are laying the foundations for future predictions.

Posted: Sep 24th, 2014

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Explainer: why are countries vying for a piece of Mars?

The red planet is about to welcome a new visitor: India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is hoping to start orbiting Mars on September 24. MOM is not the only new kid in town. There are currently five operational spacecraft orbiting Mars and two rovers on its surface. China, Japan, Russia, the US and joint European countries have all tried to send missions to Mars before India. What is it about our rocky neighbour that makes it such a focus of interest?

Posted: Sep 23rd, 2014

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The origin of Uranus and Neptune elucidated?

Researchers have proposed a solution to the problematic chemical composition of Uranus and Neptune, thus providing clues for understanding their formation. The researchers focused on the positioning of these two outermost planets of the Solar System, and propose a new model explaining how and where they formed.

Posted: Sep 23rd, 2014

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Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help explain why some T Tauri stars have disks that glow weirdly in infrared light while others shine in a more expected fashion.

Posted: Sep 22nd, 2014

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Where is that spacecraft?

Space surveillance is inherently challenging when compared to other tracking environments due to various reasons, not least of which is the long time gap between surveillance updates. Scientists propose a more statistically rigorous treatment of uncertainty in the near-Earth space environment than currently available.

Posted: Sep 22nd, 2014

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Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves might be 'seen' by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that a star that oscillates at the same frequency as a gravitational wave will absorb energy from that wave and brighten, an overlooked prediction of Einstein's 1916 theory of general relativity. The study contradicts previous assumptions about the behavior of gravitational waves.

Posted: Sep 22nd, 2014

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Shrink-wrapping spacesuits

The BioSuit is a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits.

Posted: Sep 19th, 2014

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Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbors

Research to be published this Friday shows that massive galaxies in the universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead 'snacking' on nearby galaxies. Astronomers looked at more than 22,000 galaxies and found that while smaller galaxies are very efficient at creating stars from gas, the most massive galaxies are much less efficient at star formation, producing hardly any new stars themselves, and instead grow by eating other galaxies.

Posted: Sep 19th, 2014

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Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating

Miranda, a small, icy moon of Uranus, is one of the most visually striking and enigmatic bodies in the solar system. Despite its relatively small size, Miranda appears to have experienced an episode of intense resurfacing that resulted in the formation of at least three remarkable and unique surface features - polygonal-shaped regions called coronae.

Posted: Sep 18th, 2014

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