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Space Exploration News

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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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55-year old dark side of the moon mystery solved

The Man in the Moon appeared when meteoroids struck the Earth-facing side of the moon creating large flat seas of basalt that we see as dark areas called maria. But no 'face' exists on farside of the moon and now, Penn State astrophysicists think they know why.

Posted: Jun 9th, 2014

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Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of two new planets orbiting a very old star that is near to our own Sun. One of these planets orbits the star at the right distance to allow liquid water to exist on its surface, a key ingredient to support life.

Posted: Jun 5th, 2014

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Moon formed after collision of planets

Scientists have resolved an isotopic difference between the Earth and the Moon. The slight variation in oxygen isotopes confirms the 'Giant impact' hypothesis of Moon formation, according to which the Moon formed from the debris of a giant collision between the Earth and another proto-Planet about 4.5 billion years ago.

Posted: Jun 5th, 2014

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Surprisingly strong magnetic fields challenge black holes' pull

A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes? powerful gravitational pull.

Posted: Jun 4th, 2014

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Astronomers discover first Thorne-Zytkow object, a bizarre type of hybrid star

In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a 'theoretical' class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow. Thorne-?ytkow objects are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal red supergiants, such as Betelguese in the constellation Orion. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures that result from unique activity in their stellar interiors.

Posted: Jun 4th, 2014

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Discovering a hidden source of solar surges

Cutting-edge observations with the 1.6-meter telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory in California have taken research into the structure and activity of the Sun to new levels of understanding. The telescope at Big Bear is the most powerful ground-based instrument dedicated to studying the sun.

Posted: Jun 4th, 2014

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Hubble unveils a colorful view of the universe

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have captured the most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evolving universe - and one of the most colorful. The study is called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field project.

Posted: Jun 3rd, 2014

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Milky Way may bear 100 million life-giving planets

There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support complex life, report a group of university astronomers. They have developed a new computation method to examine data from planets orbiting other stars in the universe.

Posted: Jun 3rd, 2014

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Harsh space weather may doom potential life on red-dwarf planets

Life in the universe might be even rarer than we thought. Recently, astronomers looking for potentially habitable worlds have targeted red dwarf stars because they are the most common type of star, comprising 80 percent of the stars in the universe. But a new study shows that harsh space weather might strip the atmosphere of any rocky planet orbiting in a red dwarf's habitable zone.

Posted: Jun 2nd, 2014

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'Neapolitan' exoplanets come in three flavors

The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We have small, rocky terrestrials like Earth and Mars, and large gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter.

Posted: Jun 2nd, 2014

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