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MESSENGER reveals Mercury's magnetic field secrets

New data from MESSENGER, the spacecraft that orbited Mercury for four years before crashing into the planet a week ago, reveals Mercury's magnetic field is almost four billion years old. The discovery helps scientists piece together the history of Mercury, the closest planet to the sun and one about which we knew very little before MESSENGER.

Posted: May 7th, 2015

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Hubble finds giant halo around the Andromeda galaxy

Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the immense halo of gas enveloping the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest massive galactic neighbor, is about six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than previously measured. The dark, nearly invisible halo stretches about a million light-years from its host galaxy, halfway to our own Milky Way galaxy.

Posted: May 7th, 2015

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Improved detection of radio waves from space

Researchers have developed a very sensitive high frequency amplifier for radio telescopes used on Earth. The amplifier generates extremely little internal electromagnetic noise and will help measure our planet from space more precisely than ever before.

Posted: May 6th, 2015

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Astronomers find first evidence of changing conditions on a super Earth

Astronomers have detected wildly changing temperatures on a super Earth - the first time any atmospheric variability has been observed on a rocky planet outside the solar system - and believe it could be due to huge amounts of volcanic activity, further adding to the mystery of what had been nicknamed the 'diamond planet'.

Posted: May 5th, 2015

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Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Further observations by astronomers using the GBT revealed that this pulsar has the widest orbit of any around a neutron star and is part of only a handful of double neutron star systems.

Posted: May 1st, 2015

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20 ExoWorlds are now available for naming proposals

The NameExoWorlds contest, organised by the IAU and Zooniverse, is now entering its next stage. The 20 most popular ExoWorlds have been made available for naming proposals from registered clubs and non-profit organisations.

Posted: Apr 30th, 2015

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New solar telescope unveils the complex dynamics of sunspots' dark cores

Groundbreaking images of the Sun captured by scientists at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) give a first-ever detailed view of the interior structure of umbrae - the dark patches in the center of sunspots - revealing dynamic magnetic fields responsible for the plumes of plasma that emerge as bright dots interrupting their darkness.

Posted: Apr 29th, 2015

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Multifractals suggest the existence of an unknown physical mechanism on the Sun

The famous sunspots on the surface of the Earth's star result from the dynamics of strong magnetic fields, and their numbers are an important indicator of the state of activity on the Sun. Researchers have been conducting multifractal analysis into the changes in the numbers of sunspots. The resulting graphs were surprisingly asymmetrical in shape, suggesting that sunspots may be involved in hitherto unknown physical processes.

Posted: Apr 29th, 2015

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Robotically discovering Earth's nearest neighbors

A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, California, and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets orbit their star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the sun, completing their orbits in just 5, 15, and 24 days.

Posted: Apr 29th, 2015

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