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Our galaxy's most-mysterious star is even stranger than astronomers thought

A star known by the unassuming name of KIC 8462852 (Tabby's star) in the constellation Cygnus has been raising eyebrows both in and outside of the scientific community for the past year. The researchers analyzed further Kepler observations of the puzzling star and showed that in addition to its rapid unexplained brightness changes, the star also faded slowly and steadily during the four years it was watched by Kepler.

Oct 3rd, 2016

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Spiral arms: not just in galaxies

Astronomers have found a distinct structure involving spiral arms in the reservoir of gas and dust disk surrounding the young star Elias 2-27. While spiral features have been observed on the surfaces of protoplanetary disks, these new ALMA observations are the first to reveal that such spirals occur at the disk midplane, the region where planet formation takes place.

Sep 30th, 2016

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Discovery of an extragalactic hot molecular core

Astronomers have discovered a 'hot molecular core', a cocoon of molecules surrounding a newborn massive star, for the first time outside our Galaxy. The discovery, which marks the first important step for observational studies of extragalactic hot molecular cores and challenges the hidden chemical diversity of our universe.

Sep 29th, 2016

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How to merge two black holes in a simple way

Two theoretical physicists have demonstrated that what occurs on the space-time boundary of the two merging objects can be explained using simple equations, at least when a giant black hole collides with a tiny black hole.

Sep 26th, 2016

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Feeding a Mars mission: the challenges of growing plants in space

Plants will play a critical role in the survival of human beings on long-duration space missions, such as a mission to Mars. However, as a new study shows, many challenges need to be addressed if astronauts are to successfully grow enough food on board spacecraft and on other planets.

Sep 21st, 2016

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ALMA spots possible formation site of icy giant planet

Astronomers found signs of a growing planet around TW Hydra, a nearby young star. Based on the distance from the central star and the distribution of tiny dust grains, the baby planet is thought to be an icy giant, similar to Uranus and Neptune in our Solar System.

Sep 21st, 2016

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Explaining why the universe can be transparent

New research findings explain why the universe has enough energy to become transparent. The study marks the first quantitative study of how the gas content within galaxies scales with the amount of interstellar dust.

Sep 13th, 2016

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Recreating our galaxy in a supercomputer

Astronomers have created the most detailed computer simulation to date of our Milky Way galaxy's formation, from its inception billions of years ago as a loose assemblage of matter to its present-day state as a massive, spiral disk of stars.

Sep 9th, 2016

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The dream of a space elevator

From November 12 to 15, the Technical University of Munich will host the 'European Space Elevator Challenge' for the third time, an international competition for developing space elevator prototypes. Seven teams from Germany, India and Japan will be competing with their concepts - in the hope of laying the foundation for a revolution in astronautics.

Sep 8th, 2016

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