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Counting stars 2.0

Light pollution is not only a problem for astronomy. Scientists from the interdisciplinary project 'Loss of the Night' study how it affects health, society, and the environment. In order to measure how skyglow is changing, they have developed an app for smartphones, which allows citizen scientists to count the number of visible stars in the night sky.

Posted: Nov 10th, 2014

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Rosetta: The dark side of the comet

Light scattered from dust particles allows a first glance at the side of comet 67P that has been trapped in the darkness of polar night for the last months.

Posted: Nov 7th, 2014

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Hubble surveys debris-strewn exoplanetary construction yards

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have completed the largest and most sensitive visible-light imaging survey of dusty debris disks around other stars. These dusty disks, likely created by collisions between leftover objects from planet formation, were imaged around stars as young as 10 million years old and as mature as more than 1 billion years old.

Posted: Nov 6th, 2014

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Revolutionary ALMA image reveals planetary genesis

For ALMA's first observations in its new and most powerful mode, researchers pointed the antennas at HL Tauri - a young star, about 450 light-years away, which is surrounded by a dusty disc. The resulting image exceeds all expectations and reveals unexpectedly fine detail in the disc of material left over from star birth.

Posted: Nov 6th, 2014

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Dark matter may be massive

Instead of WIMPS or axions, dark matter may be made of macroscopic objects as small as a few ounces up to the size of a good asteroid, and probably as dense as a neutron star or the nucleus of an atom.

Posted: Nov 4th, 2014

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How a giant impact formed asteroid Vesta's 'belt' (w/video)

Collisions of heavenly bodies generate almost unimaginable levels of energy. Researchers at Brown University used NASA's ultra-high-speed cannon and computer models to simulate such a collision on Vesta, the second-largest object in the asteroid belt. Their analysis of the images - taken at a million frames per second - shows how Vesta may have gotten the deep grooves that encircle its midsection.

Posted: Nov 4th, 2014

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Investigating a triple star system in formation

An international team of astronomers has carried out the most accurate study so far of the cocoon of gas and dust surrounding the GG Tau A system. By combining complementary observations at submillimeter (ALMA and IRAM) wavelengths with those at infrared (VLTI/ESO) wavelengths, the researchers were able to identify the complex dynamics at work in GG Tau.

Posted: Nov 3rd, 2014

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VLTI detects exozodiacal light

By using the full power of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer an international team of astronomers has discovered exozodiacal light close to the habitable zones around nine nearby stars. This light is starlight reflected from dust created as the result of collisions between asteroids, and the evaporation of comets. The presence of such large amounts of dust in the inner regions around some stars may pose an obstacle to the direct imaging of Earth-like planets.

Posted: Nov 3rd, 2014

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Hubble sees 'ghost light' from dead galaxies

The Hubble Space Telescope has picked up the faint, ghostly glow of stars ejected from ancient galaxies that were gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago. The mayhem happened 4 billion light-years away, inside an immense collection of nearly 500 galaxies nicknamed 'Pandora's Cluster', also known as Abell 2744

Posted: Oct 31st, 2014

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