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Space Exploration News

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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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NASA's newest solar mission spacecraft ready for launch

The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft is on track for a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on June 26. IRIS will fill a crucial gap in the ability of scientists to advance Sun-Earth connection studies by tracing the flow of energy and plasma through a dynamic interface region - the chromosphere and transition region - between the solar surface and the solar corona.

Posted: Jun 18th, 2013

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Three centaurs follow Uranus through the solar system

Astrophysicists from the Complutense University of Madrid have confirmed that Crantor, a large asteroid with a diameter of 70 km has an orbit similar to that of Uranus and takes the same amount of time to orbit the Sun. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that this and a further two objects of the group of the Centaurs are co-orbital with Uranus.

Posted: Jun 18th, 2013

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Hubble uncovers evidence for extrasolar planet under construction

The keen vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected a mysterious gap in a vast protoplanetary disk of gas and dust swirling around the nearby star TW Hydrae, located 176 light-years away in the constellation Hydra. The gap's presence is best explained as due to the effects of a growing, unseen planet that is gravitationally sweeping up material and carving out a lane in the disk, like a snow plow.

Posted: Jun 13th, 2013

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Stacking up a clearer picture of the Universe (w/video)

Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) have proven a new technique that will provide a clearer picture of the Universe's history and be used with the next generation of radio telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Posted: Jun 13th, 2013

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Sunny super-Earth?

Researchers observed the atmosphere of super-Earth GJ3470b in Cancer for the first time in the world using two telescopes at OAO (Okayama Astrophysical Observatory, NAOJ). The observational data revealed that this planet is highly likely to not be covered by thick clouds.

Posted: Jun 12th, 2013

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Moon radiation findings may reduce health risks to astronauts

Space scientists from the University of New Hampshire and the Southwest Research Institute report that data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show lighter materials like plastics provide effective shielding against the radiation hazards faced by astronauts during extended space travel. The finding could help reduce health risks to humans on future missions into deep space.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2013

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Cosmic quiver: Saturn's vibrations create spirals in rings

Astronomers know that gravity from Saturn's various moons tug at the planet's rings and make spirals in them. But the catalyst for certain spiral patterns has been difficult to pin down. Now, two Cornell astronomers have determined the source: Saturn itself.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2013

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Black hole naps amidst stellar chaos

Nearly a decade ago, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory caught signs of what appeared to be a black hole snacking on gas at the middle of the nearby Sculptor galaxy. Now, NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), which sees higher-energy X-ray light, has taken a peek and found the black hole asleep.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2013

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