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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Scientists explain the formation of unusual ring of radiation in space

Since the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts, scientists believed these belts consisted of two rings of highly charged particles. In February, scientists reported the discovery of a previously unknown third radiation ring - a narrow ring that briefly circled the Earth for a month. UCLA space scientists have successfully modeled and explained the unprecedented behavior of this third ring, and show that its energetic particles are driven by very different physics than the others.

Posted: Sep 22nd, 2013

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ESA's Cluster satellites in closest-ever 'dance in space'

Since 2000, the four identical satellites of the Cluster quartet have been probing Earth's magnetosphere in three dimensions. This week, two of them made their closest-ever approach, just 4 km, enabling valuable data to be acquired with unprecedented detail.

Posted: Sep 20th, 2013

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Curiosity Rover detects no methane on Mars

Data from NASA's Curiosity rover has revealed the Martian environment lacks methane. This is a surprise to researchers because previous data reported by U.S. and international scientists indicated positive detections.

Posted: Sep 19th, 2013

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Clues to the growth of the colossus in the Coma cluster

A team of astronomers has discovered enormous arms of hot gas in the Coma cluster of galaxies by using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton. These features, which span at least half a million light years, provide insight into how the Coma cluster has grown through mergers of smaller groups and clusters of galaxies to become one of the largest structures in the universe held together by gravity.

Posted: Sep 19th, 2013

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A decade of successful planet hunting - HARPS celebrates its tenth birthday

On 16-17 September 2013 a scientific meeting in Geneva entitled 10 Years of Science with HARPS celebrated a decade of full operation of the High-Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) - the world's foremost planet hunter. The meeting paid tribute to the extraordinary scientific results HARPS has provided and the unrivalled window it opens onto one of the most exciting areas of current astronomical science - the search for and characterisation of planets around other stars.

Posted: Sep 18th, 2013

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Young stars cooking in the Prawn Nebula

The glowing jumble of gas clouds visible in this new image make up a huge stellar nursery nicknamed the Prawn Nebula. Taken using the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile, this may well be the sharpest picture ever taken of this object. It shows clumps of hot new-born stars nestled in among the clouds that make up the nebula.

Posted: Sep 18th, 2013

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Magnetic jet shows how stars begin their final transformation

Astronomers have for the first time found a jet of high-energy particles from a dying star. The discovery, by a team including Chalmers scientists, is a crucial step in explaining how some of the most beautiful objects in space are formed - and what happens when stars like the sun reach the end of their lives.

Posted: Sep 16th, 2013

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'Red nugget' galaxies were hiding in plain sight

In 2005 the Hubble Space Telescope spotted unusually small galaxies densely packed with red stars in the distant, young universe. They were nicknamed "red nuggets." Since no "red nuggets" were seen nearby, astronomers wondered why they had disappeared over time. New research shows that they didn't disappear completely. In fact, they were simply hidden within the data of previous surveys.

Posted: Sep 13th, 2013

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Voyager's departure from the heliosphere

New data from NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, which has been hurtling away from the sun since it was launched in 1977, indicates that the spacecraft has indeed left the comfort of the heliosphere and entered into a region of cold, dark space, known as interstellar space.

Posted: Sep 12th, 2013

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