Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Naturally occurring 'batteries' fueled organic carbon synthesis on Mars

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Mars' organic carbon may have originated from a series of electrochemical reactions between briny liquids and volcanic minerals, according to analyses of three Martian meteorites. The discovery that natural systems can form a small corrosion-powered battery that drives electrochemical reactions between minerals and surrounding liquid has major implications for astrobiology. A similar process could occur anywhere that igneous rocks are surrounded by brines, including the subsurface oceans of Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus.
via Science Daily
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Bose-Einstein condensate generated in space for the first time

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Scientists have created a Bose-Einstein condensate for the first time in space on board a research rocket.
via Science Daily
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Most detailed observations of material orbiting close to a black hole

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ESO's exquisitely sensitive GRAVITY instrument has added further evidence to the long-standing assumption that a supermassive black hole lurks in the center of the Milky Way. New observations show clumps of gas swirling around at about 30 percent of the speed of light on a circular orbit just outside its event horizon -- the first time material has been observed orbiting close to the point of no return, and the most detailed observations yet of material orbiting this close to a black hole.
via Science Daily
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NASA retires Kepler Space Telescope

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After nine years in deep space collecting data, NASA's Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations. NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life.
via Science Daily
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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Synchronized telescope dance puts limits on mysterious flashes in the sky

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Two outback radio telescopes synchronized to observe the same point of sky have discovered more about one of the Universe's most mysterious events. The telescopes were searching the sky for fast radio bursts, which are exceptionally bright flashes of energy coming from deep space.
via Science Daily
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Monday, 29 October 2018

Rare blue asteroid reveals itself during fly-by

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Blue asteroids are rare, and blue comets are almost unheard of. An international team investigated (3200) Phaethon, a bizarre asteroid that sometimes behaves like a comet, and found it even more enigmatic than previously thought.
via Science Daily
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Astronomers witness slow death of nearby galaxy

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Astronomers have witnessed, in the finest detail ever, the slow death of a neighboring dwarf galaxy, which is gradually losing its power to form stars.
via Science Daily
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Sunday, 28 October 2018

Friday, 26 October 2018

New composite material that can cool itself down under extreme temperatures

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A cutting-edge material, inspired by nature, that can regulate its own temperature and could equally be used to treat burns and help space capsules withstand atmospheric forces is under development.
via Science Daily
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Earth's dust cloud satellites confirmed

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Astronomers and physicists may have confirmed two elusive clouds of dust, in semi-stable points just 400,000 kilometers from Earth. The clouds, first reported by and named for Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski in 1961, are exceptionally faint, so their existence is controversial.
via Science Daily
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The ghost of Cassiopeia

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About 550 light-years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia lies IC 63, a stunning and slightly eerie nebula. Also known as the ghost of Cassiopeia, IC 63 is being shaped by radiation from a nearby unpredictably variable star, Gamma Cassiopeiae, which is slowly eroding away the ghostly cloud of dust and gas. This celestial ghost makes the perfect backdrop for the upcoming feast of All Hallow's Eve -- better known as Halloween.
via Science Daily
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Thursday, 25 October 2018

Studying Pluto orbiter mission

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Astronomers have made several discoveries that expand the range and value of a future Pluto orbiter mission. The breakthroughs define a fuel-saving orbital tour and demonstrate that an orbiter can continue exploration in the Kuiper Belt after surveying Pluto.
via Science Daily
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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The pirate of the southern skies

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Astronomers have observed the active star-forming region NGC 2467 -- sometimes referred to as the Skull and Crossbones Nebula. The new image was captured as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems Programme, which makes use of the rare occasions when observing conditions are not suitable for gathering scientific data.
via Science Daily
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Crater from asteroid that killed the dinosaurs reveals how broken rocks can flow like liquid

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The same process that allows rock to flow like liquid during impact events allows 'peak rings' to form in large craters.
via Science Daily
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Gravitational waves could soon accurately measure universe's expansion

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Scientists estimate that given how quickly LIGO researchers saw the first neutron star collision, they could have a very accurate measurement of the rate of the expansion of the universe within five to 10 years.
via Science Daily
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New insight into why galaxies stop forming stars

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Galaxy clusters are rare regions of the universe consisting of hundreds of galaxies containing trillions of stars. It has long been known that when a galaxy falls into a cluster, star formation is fairly rapidly shut off in a process known as 'quenching.' A new study has made the best measurement yet of the quenching timescale, measuring how it varies across 70 percent of the history of the universe.
via Science Daily
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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Ultra-close stars discovered inside a planetary nebula

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Astronomers have discovered two stars in a binary pair that complete an orbit around each other in a little over three hours, residing in the planetary nebula M3-1. Remarkably, the stars could drive a nova explosion, an entirely unexpected event based on our current understanding of binary star evolution.
via Science Daily
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Monday, 22 October 2018

Mars: Oxygen-rich, life-supporting liquid water?

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Given the right circumstances, water on Mars could hold more oxygen than previously believed, theoretically enough to support aerobic respiration, new research suggests.
via Science Daily
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NASA's first image of Mars from a CubeSat

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NASA's MarCO mission was designed to find out if briefcase-sized spacecraft called CubeSats could survive the journey to deep space. Now, MarCO -- which stands for Mars Cube One -- has Mars in sight.
via Science Daily
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Gravitational waves could shed light on dark matter

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Black holes colliding, gravitational waves riding through space-time - and a huge instrument that allows scientists to investigate the fabric of the universe. This could soon become reality when the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) takes up operations. Researchers have now found that LISA could also shed light on the elusive dark matter particle.
via Science Daily
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Friday, 19 October 2018

School students identify sounds caused by solar storm

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School students have successfully identified sounds caused by a solar storm in the Earth's magnetic shield. The group of students identified a series of waves whose pitch decreased over the course of several days. They found that this event occurred after a Coronal Mass Ejection or 'solar storm' caused a great disturbance to Earth's space environment.
via Science Daily
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Thursday, 18 October 2018

Superflares from young red dwarf stars imperil planets

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Flares from the youngest red dwarfs surveyed are 100 to 1,000 times more energetic than when the stars are older. This younger age is when terrestrial planets are forming around their stars.
via Science Daily
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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Astronomers find a cosmic Titan in the early universe

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Astronomers have discovered a titanic structure in the early universe, just two billion years after the Big Bang. This galaxy proto-supercluster, nicknamed Hyperion, is the largest and most massive structure yet found at such a remote time and distance.
via Science Daily
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Plant hormone makes space farming a possibility

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With scarce nutrients and weak gravity, growing potatoes on the Moon or on other planets seems unimaginable. But the plant hormone strigolactone could make it possible, plant biologists have shown. The hormone supports the symbiosis between fungi and plant roots, thus encouraging plants' growth -- even under the challenging conditions found in space.
via Science Daily
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Supermassive black holes and supercomputers

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The universe's deep past is beyond the reach of even the mighty Hubble Space Telescope. But a new review explains how creation of the first stars and galaxies is nevertheless being mapped in detail, with the aid of computer simulations and theoretical models -- and how a new generation of supercomputers and software is being built that will fill in the gaps.
via Science Daily
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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

All in the family: Kin of gravitational wave source discovered

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According to new research, an object named GRB150101B -- first reported as a gamma-ray burst in 2015 -- shares remarkable similarities with GW170817, the neutron star merger discovered by LIGO and observed by multiple light-gathering telescopes in 2017. The new analysis suggests that these two separate objects may in fact be directly related.
via Science Daily
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Monday, 15 October 2018

Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

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Researchers have identified a young star with four Jupiter and Saturn-sized planets in orbit around it, the first time that so many massive planets have been detected in such a young system. The system has also set a new record for the most extreme range of orbits yet observed: the outermost planet is more than a thousand times further from the star than the innermost one, which raises interesting questions about how such a system might have formed.
via Science Daily
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Friday, 12 October 2018

Death of a massive star and birth of compact neutron star binary

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The unexpectedly gentle death of a massive star suggests that it was being robbed by a dense companion lurking out of sight.
via Science Daily
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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

New telescope almost doubles known number of mysterious 'fast radio bursts'

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Astronomers have nearly doubled the known number of 'fast radio bursts'-- powerful flashes of radio waves from deep space. The team's discoveries include the closest and brightest fast radio bursts ever detected and they have proved that fast radio bursts are coming from the other side of the Universe rather than from our own galactic neighborhood.
via Science Daily
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Mystery at the center of the Milky Way solved

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Astronomers have now found the explanation to a recent mystery at the center of the Milky Way galaxy: the high levels of scandium discovered last spring near the galaxy's giant black hole were in fact an optical illusion.
via Science Daily
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The threat of Centaurs for the Earth

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Astrophysicists have investigated the long-term path development of Centaurs -- small icy bodies that orbit the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune.
via Science Daily
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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Icy warning for space missions to Jupiter's moon

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A location often earmarked as a potential habitat for extra-terrestrial life could prove to be a tricky place for spacecraft to land, new research has revealed.
via Science Daily
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The stuff that planets are made of

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Researchers have analyzed the composition and structure of faraway exoplanets using statistical tools. Their analysis indicates whether a planet is earth-like, made up of pure rock or a water-world. The larger the planet, the more hydrogen and helium surround it.
via Science Daily
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Monday, 8 October 2018

Mystery of Saturn's moon Titan's atmospheric haze

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Experiments have helped scientists to zero in on a low-temperature chemical mechanism that may help to explain the complex molecular compounds that make up the nitrogen-rich haze layer surrounding Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
via Science Daily
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Friday, 5 October 2018

Lunar craters named in honor of Apollo 8

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The Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union has today officially approved the naming of two craters on the Moon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission. The names are Anders's Earthrise and 8 Homeward.
via Science Daily
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Scientists develop a new way to remotely measure Earth's magnetic field

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By zapping a layer of meteor residue in the atmosphere with ground-based lasers, scientists are getting a new view of Earth's magnetic field.
via Science Daily
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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Surprising chemical complexity of Saturn's rings changing planet's upper atmosphere

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A new study based on data from the final orbits last year of NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the rings of Saturn -- some of the most visually stupendous objects in the universe -- are far more chemically complicated than previously was understood.
via Science Daily
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Newly detected microquasar gamma-rays 'call for new ideas'

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The first-ever detection of highly energetic radiation from a microquasar has astrophysicists scrambling for new theories to explain the extreme particle acceleration. A microquasar is a black hole that gobbles up debris from a nearby companion star and blasts out powerful jets of material.
via Science Daily
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Observations challenge cosmological theories

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Since the big bang, fewer galaxy clusters have formed over time than was actually expected. Physicists from the have now confirmed this phenomenon. For the next years the researchers will analyze their data in even greater detail. This will put them in a position to confirm whether the theories considered valid today need to be reworked.
via Science Daily
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Sky survey reveals first 'orphan' gamma ray burst

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Object in distant galaxy most likely is a gamma ray burst whose beams of gamma rays were pointed away from Earth and thus not detected. Radio afterglow's behavior over time, however, is what's expected from a gamma ray burst.
via Science Daily
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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Astronomers find first compelling evidence for a moon outside our solar system

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On the hunt for distant worlds, researchers have identified an exomoon candidate around the transiting exoplanet Kepler-1625b that indicates the presence of a previously unknown gas-giant moon.
via Science Daily
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Mountaintop observatory sees gamma rays from exotic Milky Way object

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The High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Gamma-Ray Observatory (HAWC) collaboration has detected highly energetic light coming from a microquasar -- a black hole that gobbles up stuff from a companion star and blasts out powerful jets of material. Data analysis indicates that electron acceleration and collisions at the ends of the microquasar's jets produced powerful gamma rays. Multi-wavelength messengers from this unusual microquasar may offer scientists a glimpse into more extreme events happening in distant galaxies.
via Science Daily
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Animal study suggests deep space travel may significantly damage GI function in astronauts

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Deep space bombardment by galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) could significantly damage gastrointestinal (GI) tissue leading to long-term functional alterations, according to a new study, which also raises concern about high risk of tumor development in stomach and colon.
via Science Daily
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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Detailed look at white dwarf orbited by planetary fragments

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Astronomers have analyzed an exceptional white dwarf displaying periodic transits produced by fragments of a shredded planetesimal.
via Science Daily
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New simulation sheds light on spiraling supermassive black holes

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A new model is bringing scientists a step closer to understanding the kinds of light signals produced when two supermassive black holes, which are millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun, spiral toward a collision.
via Science Daily
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New extremely distant solar system object found during hunt for Planet X

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Astronomers have discovered a new extremely distant object far beyond Pluto with an orbit that supports the presence of an even-farther-out, Super-Earth or larger Planet X.
via Science Daily
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Nearly the entire sky in the early universe is glowing with Lyman-alpha emission

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Deep observations made with the MUSE spectrograph on ESO's Very Large Telescope have uncovered vast cosmic reservoirs of atomic hydrogen surrounding distant galaxies. The exquisite sensitivity of MUSE allowed for direct observations of dim clouds of hydrogen glowing with Lyman-alpha emission in the early Universe -- revealing that almost the whole night sky is invisibly aglow.
via Science Daily
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