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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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How to clean up space debris using game theory

The dilemma of whether to accept the cost of acting or risk disaster by waiting is the kind of strategic problem studied by game theory. A situation like the space debris problem, where players act just for their own benefit instead of taking group interests into account, is referred to in game theory as the 'tragedy of the commons'.

Posted: Nov 13th, 2015

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Close-up view of galaxies prompts re-think on star formation

Astronomers have identified for the first time one of the key components of many stars, a study suggests. A type of gas found in the voids between galaxies - known as atomic gas - appears to be part of the star formation process under certain conditions, researchers say.

Posted: Nov 10th, 2015

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Physicists find clue to formation of magnetic fields around stars and galaxies

An enduring astronomical mystery is how stars and galaxies acquire their magnetic fields. Physicists now have found a clue to the answer in the collective behavior of small magnetic disturbances. They report that small magnetic perturbations can combine to form large-scale magnetic fields just like those found throughout the universe.

Posted: Nov 9th, 2015

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Disk gaps don't always signal planets

When astronomers study protoplanetary disks of gas and dust that surround young stars, they sometimes spot a dark gap like the Cassini division in Saturn's rings. It has been suggested that any gap must be caused by an unseen planet that formed in the disk and carved out material from its surroundings. However, new research shows that a gap could be a sort of cosmic illusion and not the sign of a hidden planet after all.

Posted: Nov 2nd, 2015

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Spirals in dust around young stars may betray presence of massive planets

A team of astronomers is proposing that huge spiral patterns seen around some newborn stars, merely a few million years old, may be evidence for the presence of giant unseen planets. This idea not only opens the door to a new method of planet detection, but also could offer a look into the early formative years of planet birth.

Posted: Oct 30th, 2015

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