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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Fast, furious, refined: Smaller black holes can eat plenty

Gemini observations support an unexpected discovery in the galaxy Messier 101. A relatively small black hole (20-30 times the mass of our sun) can sustain a hugely voracious appetite while consuming material in an efficient and tidy manner - something previously thought impossible. The research also affects the long quest for elusive intermediate-mass black holes.

Posted: Nov 27th, 2013

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A fiery drama of star birth and death

The Large Magellanic Cloud is one of the closest galaxies to our own. Astronomers have now used the power of ESO's Very Large Telescope to explore one of its lesser known regions. This new image shows clouds of gas and dust where hot new stars are being born and are sculpting their surroundings into odd shapes. But the image also shows the effects of stellar death - filaments created by a supernova explosion.

Posted: Nov 27th, 2013

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Grant for the search for quantum space-time

The Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) has awarded a 1.2 million Euro grant to the research program 'Quantum gravity and the search for quantum spacetime', led by professor Renate Loll of Radboud University Nijmegen.

Posted: Nov 27th, 2013

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Figures of Eight and Peanut Shells: How stars move at the centre of the Galaxy

Two months ago astronomers created a new 3D map of stars at the centre of our Galaxy, showing more clearly than ever the bulge at its core. Previous explanations suggested that the stars that form the bulge are in banana-like orbits, but a paper published this week suggests that the stars probably move in peanut-shell or figure of eight-shaped orbits instead.

Posted: Nov 27th, 2013

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Search for habitable planets should be more conservative

Scientists should take the conservative approach when searching for habitable zones where life-sustaining planets might exist, according to James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, including when building terrestrial planet finders.

Posted: Nov 26th, 2013

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Galaxy groups running out of fuel

Astronomers at Swinburne University of Technology and their international collaborators have found evidence that galaxies that are located in groups might be running out of gas.

Posted: Nov 26th, 2013

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Mach 1000 shock wave lights supernova remnant

When a star explodes as a supernova, the material blasted outward from the explosion still glows hundreds or thousands of years later, forming a picturesque supernova remnant. What powers such long-lived brilliance? In the case of Tycho's supernova remnant, astronomers have discovered that a reverse shock wave racing inward at Mach 1000 (1,000 times the speed of sound) is heating the remnant and causing it to emit X-ray light.

Posted: Nov 25th, 2013

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NASA sees 'watershed' cosmic blast in unique detail

On April 27, a blast of light from a dying star in a distant galaxy became the focus of astronomers around the world. The explosion, known as a gamma-ray burst and designated GRB 130427A, tops the charts as one of the brightest ever seen. A trio of NASA satellites, working in concert with ground-based robotic telescopes, captured never-before-seen details that challenge current theoretical understandings of how gamma-ray bursts work.

Posted: Nov 21st, 2013

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