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Stars ancient and modern?

Globular star clusters are among the oldest objects in the Universe, and NGC 6362 cannot hide its age in this picture. The many yellowish stars in the cluster have already run through much of their lives and become red giant stars. But globular clusters are not static relics from the past - some curious stellar activities are still going on in these dense star cities.

Posted: Oct 31st, 2012

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New type of 'space weathering' observed on asteroid Vesta

The surface of the giant asteroid Vesta is weathering in a way that appears to be completely different from any other asteroid yet visited, according to new data recorded by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. This new type of space weathering suggests that there's something about Vesta - perhaps its mineral composition or its position in the solar system - that makes its surface environment fundamentally different from other asteroids studied thus far.

Posted: Oct 31st, 2012

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Curiosity on Mars sits on rocks similar to those found in marshes in Mexico

Millions of years ago fire and water forged the gypsum rocks locked in at Cuatro Ciénegas, a Mexican valley similar to the Martian crater where NASA's Rover Curiosity roams. A team of researchers have now analysed the bacterial communities that have survived in these inhospitable springs since the beginning of life on Earth.

Posted: Oct 29th, 2012

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Rocker experiment will observe spiral galaxy near big dipper's handle

In the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 10, astrophysicist Timothy Cook and his research team will be at the Army?s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, ready to launch a NASA-funded science experiment, called IMAGER, which has been five years in the making. They will use a Black Brant IX, an 18-foot-long two-stage sounding rocket capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds of payload into suborbital flight.

Posted: Oct 25th, 2012

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Cosmic filaments make up half the mass of the universe

An international team of astronomers has carried out the first three-dimensional study of a cosmic filament of dark matter. Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the team discovered that the filament, which is part of the Cosmic Web, is fuelling one of the most massive galaxy clusters in the universe, and has a length of over 60 million light years.

Posted: Oct 18th, 2012

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Jupiter: Turmoil from below, battering from above

Jupiter, the mythical god of sky and thunder, would certainly be pleased at all the changes afoot at his namesake planet. As the planet gets peppered continually with small space rocks, wide belts of the atmosphere are changing color, hotspots are vanishing and reappearing, and clouds are gathering over one part of Jupiter, while dissipating over another.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2012

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What's baking on Titan?

Radar images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal some new curiosities on the surface of Saturn's mysterious moon Titan, including a nearly circular feature that resembles a giant hot cross bun and shorelines of ancient seas.

Posted: Oct 16th, 2012

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Dark energy camera to probe universe?s biggest mysteries

Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. On Sept. 12, that ancient starlight found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly-constructed Dark Energy Camera - the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created - captured and recorded it for the first time.

Posted: Sep 20th, 2012

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Space-age food served up with seeds of success

An eggplant the size of a basketball, and a cucumber half a meter long seem, at first glance, out of this world. They are, literally. Chinese scientists have created more than 120 varieties of plants by sending seeds into space over the past 25 years.

Posted: Sep 3rd, 2012

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Sweet building blocks of life found around young star

Life is made up of a series of complex organic molecules, including sugars. A team of astronomers led by researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute, have now observed a simple sugar molecule in the gas surrounding a young star and this discovery proves that the building blocks of life were already present during planet formation.

Posted: Aug 29th, 2012

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Space-warping white dwarfs produce gravitational waves

Gravitational waves, much like the recently discovered Higgs boson, are notoriously difficult to observe. Scientists first detected these ripples in the fabric of space-time indirectly, using radio signals from a pulsar-neutron star binary system. The find, which required exquisitely accurate timing of the radio signals, garnered its discoverers a Nobel Prize. Now a team of astronomers has detected the same effect at optical wavelengths, in light from a pair of eclipsing white dwarf stars.

Posted: Aug 28th, 2012

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