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Space Exploration News

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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Taken under the 'wing' of the small magellanic cloud

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is one of the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbors. In fact, it was so bright that many navigators used this object to make their way across the oceans. A new composite image from three NASA telescopes - Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer - shows this galaxy like Ferdinand Magellan, who lends his name to the SMC, could never have imagined.

Posted: Apr 3rd, 2013

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Shape from sound - new methods to probe the universe

As the uni­verse expands, it is con­tin­u­ally sub­jected to energy shifts, or 'quan­tum fluc­tu­a­tions', that send out lit­tle pulses of 'sound' into the fab­ric of space­time. In fact, the uni­verse is thought to have sprung from just such an energy shift. Scientists reports a new math­e­mat­i­cal tool that should allow one to use these sounds to help reveal the shape of the uni­verse.

Posted: Apr 3rd, 2013

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NASA's Swift sizes up comet ISON (w/video)

Astronomers from the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP) and Lowell Observatory have used NASA's Swift satellite to check out comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), which may become one of the most dazzling in decades when it rounds the sun later this year.

Posted: Mar 29th, 2013

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Hubble observes the hidden depths of Messier 77

Messier 77 is a galaxy in the constellation of Cetus, some 45 million light-years away from us. Also known as NGC 1068, it is one of the most famous and well-studied galaxies. It is a real star among galaxies, with more papers written about it than many other galaxies put together.

Posted: Mar 28th, 2013

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Growing plants on Mars

Concrete plans for a one-way ticket to Mars have been forged. Food will have to be grown on location. Is this a distant future scenario? Not for Wieger Wamelink, ecologist at Alterra Wageningen UR, for whom the future will begin on 2 April. He will be researching whether or not it is possible to grow plants on the moon.

Posted: Mar 28th, 2013

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Sun block for the 'Big Dog'

An international team of astronomers, including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and from the University of Cologne, successfully identified two titanium oxides in the extended atmosphere around a giant star. The object VY Canis Major is one of the largest stars in the known universe and close to the end of its life.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2013

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Young, hot and blue - Stars in the cluster NGC 2547

The Universe is an old neighbourhood - roughly 13.8 billion years old. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is also ancient- some of its stars are more than 13 billion years old. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of action: new objects form and others are destroyed.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2013

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How to build a very large star

Stars ten times as massive as the Sun, or more, should not exist: as they grow, they tend to push away the gas they feed on, starving their own growth. Scientists have been struggling to figure out how some stars overcome this hurdle.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2013

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Measuring Mars: The MAVEN magnetometer (w/video)

When the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission begins its journey to the Red Planet in 2013, it will carry a sensitive magnetic-field instrument built and tested by a team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Posted: Mar 26th, 2013

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Astronomers discover new kind of supernova

Supernovae were always thought to occur in two main varieties. But a team of astronomers including Carnegie's Wendy Freedman, Mark Phillips and Eric Persson is reporting the discovery of a new type of supernova called Type Iax.

Posted: Mar 26th, 2013

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LRO's LAMP ultraviolet spectrograph observes mercury and hydrogen in GRAIL impact plumes

NASA intentionally crashed the GRAIL twins onto the Moon on Dec. 17, 2012, following successful prime and extended science missions. Both spacecraft hit a mountain near the lunar north pole, which was shrouded in shadow at the time. Developed by Southwest Research Institute, LAMP uses a novel method to peer into the darkness of the Moon's permanently shadowed regions, making it ideal for observations of the Moon's night-side and its tenuous atmospheric constituents.

Posted: Mar 26th, 2013

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