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Space Exploration News

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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Revolutionary instrument delivers a sharper universe to astronomers

A unique new instrument at Gemini South in Chile takes the removal of atmospheric distortions (using adaptive optics technology) to a new level. Today's release of seven ultrasharp, large-field images from the instrument's first science observations demonstrate its remarkable discovery potential.

Posted: Jul 2nd, 2013

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Cluster spacecraft detects elusive space wind

A new study provides the first conclusive proof of the existence of a space wind first proposed theoretically over 20 years ago. By analysing data from the European Space Agency's Cluster spacecraft, researcher Iannis Dandouras detected this plasmaspheric wind, so-called because it contributes to the loss of material from the plasmasphere, a donut-shaped region extending above the Earth's atmosphere.

Posted: Jul 2nd, 2013

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Astronomer uncovers the hidden identity of an exoplanet

Hovering about 70 light-years from Earth is a star astronomers call HD 97658, which is almost bright enough to see with the naked eye. But the real 'star' is the planet HD 97658b, not much more than twice the Earth's diameter and a little less than eight times its mass.

Posted: Jul 1st, 2013

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Cloud behavior expands habitable zone of alien planets

A new study that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe. This finding means that in the Milky Way galaxy alone, 60 billion planets may be orbiting red dwarf stars in the habitable zone.

Posted: Jul 1st, 2013

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At the solar system's edge, more surprises from Voyager

Data from NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft continues to provide new insight on the outskirts of our solar system, a frontier thought to be the last that Voyager will cross before becoming the first man-made object to reach interstellar space.

Posted: Jun 27th, 2013

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Gas-giant exoplanets cling close to their parent stars

Gemini Observatory's Planet-Finding Campaign finds that, around many types of stars, distant gas-giant planets are rare and prefer to cling close to their parent stars. The impact on theories of planetary formation could be significant.

Posted: Jun 27th, 2013

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Researchers help launch 3-D printing into space

Researchers at Washington State University are working with Aerojet Corporation on an exploratory project to make custom satellite parts using 3-D printing. Lower costs, less waste, quicker turnaround and easier modification are some potential benefits.

Posted: Jun 27th, 2013

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Spiral galaxies like Milky Way bigger than thought

Spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way appear to be much larger and more massive than previously believed, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study by researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Posted: Jun 27th, 2013

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Zooming in on the black hole

Astronomers have gathered the most detailed observations ever into the surroundings of the supermassive black hole at the centre of an active galaxy, and made a surprising discovery: dust is being propelled into space in a ring-shaped disk.

Posted: Jun 27th, 2013

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The violent birth of neutron stars

A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics conducted the most expensive and most elaborate computer simulations so far to study the formation of neutron stars at the center of collapsing stars with unprecedented accuracy.

Posted: Jun 27th, 2013

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First transiting planets in a star cluster discovered

All stars begin their lives in groups. Most stars are born in small groups that quickly fall apart. Others form in huge, dense swarms, where stars jostle with thousands of neighbors while strong radiation and harsh stellar winds scour interstellar space, stripping planet-forming materials from nearby stars. It would thus seem an unlikely place to find alien worlds. Yet 3,000 light-years from Earth, in the star cluster NGC 6811, astronomers have found two planets smaller than Neptune orbiting sun-like stars.

Posted: Jun 26th, 2013

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