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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Mars might have liquid water

Researchers have long known that there is water in the form of ice on Mars. Now, new research from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows that it is possible that there is liquid water close to the surface of Mars. The explanation is that the substance perchlorate has been found in the soil, which lowers the freezing point so the water does not freeze into ice, but is liquid and present in very salty salt water - a brine.

Posted: Apr 13th, 2015

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Accelerating universe? Not so fast

A team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognized before; the findings have implications for our understanding of how fast the universe has been.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2015

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An exoplanet with an infernal atmosphere

As part of the PlanetS National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR), astronomers have come to measure the temperature of the atmosphere of an exoplanet with unequalled precision, by crossing two approaches.

Posted: Apr 10th, 2015

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Our Sun came late to the Milky Way's star-birth party

In one of the most comprehensive multi-observatory galaxy surveys yet, astronomers find that galaxies like our Milky Way underwent a stellar 'baby boom', churning out stars at a prodigious rate, about 30 times faster than today.

Posted: Apr 10th, 2015

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Hubble finds ghosts of quasars past

The Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a set of enigmatic quasar ghosts - ethereal green objects which mark the graves of these objects that flickered to life and then faded. The eight unusual looped structures orbit their host galaxies and glow in a bright and eerie goblin-green hue. They offer new insights into the turbulent pasts of these galaxies.

Posted: Apr 2nd, 2015

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Black holes don't erase information, scientists say

Some physicists have argued that black holes are the ultimate vault, sucking in information and then evaporating without leaving behind any clue as to what they once contained. A new study shows this perspective may be wrong. The research finds that information is not lost once it has entered a black hole, and presents explicit calculations showing how information is, in fact, preserved.

Posted: Apr 2nd, 2015

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Comet dust: Planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. They suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from passing comets has slowly painted Mercury black over billions of years.

Posted: Mar 30th, 2015

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As stars form, magnetic fields influence regions big and small

Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn't the only force at work. Both turbulence and magnetic fields battle gravity, either by stirring things up or by channeling and restricting gas flows, respectively. New research focusing on magnetic fields shows that they influence star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year.

Posted: Mar 30th, 2015

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Galaxy clusters collide; dark matter still a mystery

When galaxy clusters collide, their dark matters pass through each other, with very little interaction. Deepening the mystery, a study by scientists at EPFL and the University of Edinburgh challenges the idea that dark matter is composed of particles.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2015

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