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Cosmic dust discs withstand hellfire

A team of astronomers discovered an unusual phenomenon in the centre of the Milky Way: They detected about 20 rotating dust and gas discs in each cluster hosting exceptionally large and hot stars. The existence of these discs in the presence of the destructive UV radiation field of their massive neighbours came as a surprise.

Posted: Mar 10th, 2015

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Hubble discovers four images of same supernova split by cosmic lens

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have spotted for the first time a distant supernova split into four images. The multiple images of the exploding star are caused by the powerful gravity of a foreground elliptical galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies. This unique observation will help astronomers refine their estimates of the mass of dark matter in the lensing galaxy and cluster.

Posted: Mar 8th, 2015

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Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power 'life on Mars'

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research that proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect - a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point.

Posted: Mar 5th, 2015

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Far from home: Wayward cluster is both tiny and distant

Like the lost little puppy that wanders too far from home, astronomers have found an unusually small and distant group of stars that seems oddly out of place. The cluster, made of only a handful of stars, is located far away, in the Milky Way's 'suburbs'. It is located where astronomers have never spotted such a small cluster of stars before.

Posted: Mar 3rd, 2015

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Lots of light and little shadow on 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko

On 14 February 2015, the Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) on the Rosetta spacecraft observed the surface of comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko with the Sun directly behind it, so the only shadow seen in the image is that of the photographer, the orbiter itself.

Posted: Mar 3rd, 2015

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Astronomers find dust in the early universe

Astronomers have discovered a dust-filled galaxy from the very early universe. The discovery demonstrates that galaxies were very quickly enriched with dust particles containing elements such as carbon and oxygen, which could form planets.

Posted: Mar 2nd, 2015

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