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Are we ready for contact with extraterrestrial intelligence?

The SETI project scientists are known for tracking possible extraterrestrial signals, but now they are also considering sending messages from Earth telling of our position. A researcher questions this idea in view of the results from a survey taken by students, revealing the general level of ignorance about the cosmos and the influence of religion when tackling these matters.

May 6th, 2014

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Spectrum of gamma-ray burst's afterglow indicates the beginning of the re-ionization process

Researchers discovered an indicator of when re-ionization of the primordial Universe began. Direct measurement of the absorption features in the spectrum of the afterglow toward GRB 130606A, located at a great distance, revealed the proportion of neutral hydrogen gas absorbing the light in its vicinity. This finding provides the best estimate of the amount of such neutral gas in the early Universe.

Apr 30th, 2014

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Entire star cluster thrown out of its galaxy

The galaxy known as M87 has a fastball that would be the envy of any baseball pitcher. It has thrown an entire star cluster toward us at more than two million miles per hour. The newly discovered cluster, which astronomers named HVGC-1, is now on a fast journey to nowhere. Its fate: to drift through the void between the galaxies for all time.

Apr 30th, 2014

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How do we clean up the junkyard orbiting Earth?

The biggest-sized junkyard in the world orbits it, and a University of Alabama in Huntsville aerospace systems engineering graduate student says it's time to get active about reducing the debris field before we reach a tipping point beyond which we may not be able to do much.

Apr 30th, 2014

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Making light work of orbit and attitude control

Microsatellites have to be very light - every gram counts. The same applies to the gyroscopes used to sense the satellite's orientation when in orbit. A novel prototype is seven times lighter and significantly smaller than earlier systems.

Apr 30th, 2014

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Experiment on Earth demonstrates effect observed in space

Streaming jets of high-speed matter produce some of the stunning objects seen in space. Astronomers have seen them shooting out of young stars just being formed, X-ray binary stars and supermassive black holes at the centers of large galaxies. Theoretical explanations for what causes those beam-like jets have been around for years, but now an experiment by French and American researchers using extremely high-powered lasers offers experimental verification of one proposed mechanism for creating them.

Apr 29th, 2014

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Star is discovered to be a close neighbor of the Sun and the coldest of its kind

A 'brown dwarf' star that appears to be the coldest of its kind has been discovered by a Penn State University astronomer using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Images from the space telescopes also pinpointed the object's distance at 7.2 light-years away, making it the fourth closest system to our Sun.

Apr 26th, 2014

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Move over exoplanets, exomoons may harbour life too

Although more than 1,000 exoplanets have been discovered since the first one was found in 1995, only a handful of those are thought to be habitable, at least by life as we know it. New research shows that exomoons, too, could provide habitable environments.

Apr 25th, 2014

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