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Giant black hole could upset galaxy evolution models

A group of astronomers have discovered a black hole that could shake the foundations of current models of galaxy evolution. At 17 billion times the mass of the Sun, its mass is much greater than current models predict - in particular in relation to the mass of its host galaxy.

Posted: Nov 28th, 2012

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Asteroid dust from space

To the naked eye there is nothing to see, and yet the small transparent container holds something never observed before. For the first time, scientists are studying asteroid dust collected by a spacecraft and returned to Earth.

Posted: Nov 28th, 2012

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NREL updates solar radiation database

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and collaborators released a 20-year updated version of the U.S. National Solar Radiation Database, a web-based technical report that provides critical information about solar and meteorological data for 1,454 locations in the U.S. and its territories.

Posted: Nov 28th, 2012

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NASA seeks concepts for innovative uses of large space telescopes

NASA is exploring options for innovative and imaginative uses of two large space telescopes recently transferred to the agency. In a request for information (RFI) published Monday, NASA seeks information about system concepts and architectures that would take advantage of these assets to address NASA's goals in astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary sciences, and human spaceflight.

Posted: Nov 28th, 2012

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Graphite experiment shines new light on giant planets, white dwarfs, and laser-driven fusion

An international team led by researchers from the University of Warwick and Oxford University is now dealing with unexpected results of an experiment with strongly heated graphite (up to 17,000 degrees Kelvin). The findings may pose a new problem for physicists working in laser-driven nuclear fusion and may also lead astrophysicists to revise our understanding of the life cycle of giant planets and stars.

Posted: Nov 28th, 2012

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One step closer to "space climate" forecasting

Scientists have compared cycles of solar magnetic activity over the past 10,000 years - as reconstructed from ice cores - with the action of the planets. The agreement observed is very striking, raising hopes that our ability to forecast periods of intense solar activity may ultimately be improved.

Posted: Nov 28th, 2012

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Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Using ESA's Herschel space observatory, astronomers have discovered vast comet belts surrounding two nearby planetary systems known to host only Earth-to-Neptune-mass worlds. The comet reservoirs could have delivered life-giving oceans to the innermost planets.

Posted: Nov 27th, 2012

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Cosmic refinery

Using IRAM's 30m-telescope, astronomers find indications for vast petroleum reservoirs in the Horsehead Nebula.

Posted: Nov 23rd, 2012

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Martian history: Finding a common denominator with Earth's

A team of scientists studied the hydrogen in water from the Martian interior and found that Mars formed from similar building blocks to that of Earth, but that there were differences in the later evolution of the two planets. This implies that terrestrial planets, including Earth, have similar water sources - chondritic meteorites.

Posted: Nov 22nd, 2012

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Magnesium oxide: From Earth to super-Earth

The mantles of Earth and other rocky planets are rich in magnesium and oxygen. Due to its simplicity, the mineral magnesium oxide is a good model for studying the nature of planetary interiors. New work from a team led by Carnegie's Stewart McWilliams studied how magnesium oxide behaves under the extreme conditions deep within planets and found evidence that alters our understanding of planetary evolution.

Posted: Nov 22nd, 2012

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