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July 01, 2015

The Cygnus Black Hole --"Fires Up In An Outburst of High-Energy Light"

 

 

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NASA's Swift satellite detected a rising tide of high-energy X-rays from the constellation Cygnus on June 15, just before 2:32 p.m. EDT. About 10 minutes later, the Japanese experiment on the International Space Station called the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) also picked up the flare.

Continue reading "The Cygnus Black Hole --"Fires Up In An Outburst of High-Energy Light"" »


June 30, 2015

NASA: "What's Hidden Beneath Europa's Icy Surface?" (Today's Most Popular)

 

 

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Four hundred years ago, the astronomer Galileo's discovery of Jupiter's four large moons forever changed humanity's view of the universe, helping to bring about the understanding that Earth was not the center of all motion. Today one of these Galilean moons could again revolutionize science and our sense of place, for hidden beneath Europa's icy surface is perhaps the most promising place to look for present-day environments that are suitable for life.

Continue reading "NASA: "What's Hidden Beneath Europa's Icy Surface?" (Today's Most Popular)" »


The Anthropocene Epoch --The Impact of Earth's Growing 'Technosphere'

 

 

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There is growing interaction of the biosphere with the 'technosphere' - a concept pioneered by Peter Haff of Duke University - the sum total of all human-made manufactured machines and objects, and the systems that control them. In total, an international team of scientists team suggests that these changes represent a planetary transformation as fundamental as the one that saw the evolution of the photosynthetic microbes which oxygenated the planet 2.4 billion years ago, or that saw the transition from a microbial Earth to one dominated by multicellular organisms half a billion years ago.

Continue reading "The Anthropocene Epoch --The Impact of Earth's Growing 'Technosphere'" »


June 29, 2015

Kepler Mission --"Discovers 33 Stars Over 11 Billion Years Old With Earth-Like Planets"

 

 

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One of the biggest questions in astrophysics is: does life exists beyond earth? To even begin answering this, we need to know how many planets like ours exist out there, and when they formed. However determining ages of stars (and thus of their orbiting planets) is extremely difficult; precise ages are only available for a handful of host stars thanks to asteroseismic observations made with the Kepler satellite.

Continue reading "Kepler Mission --"Discovers 33 Stars Over 11 Billion Years Old With Earth-Like Planets"" »


Big-Bang Theory: "The Universe has Slowed Down and Speeded Up Seven Times"

 

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The universe has slowed down and speeded up, not just once, but 7 times in the last 13.8 billion years, on average emulating dark matter in the process. “The ringing has been decaying and is now very small – much like striking a crystal glass and hearing it ring down," say physicists Lawrence Mead and Harry Ringermacher at The University of Southern Mississippi, who have discovered that the universe might not only be expanding, but also oscillating or “ringing” at the same time. 

Continue reading "Big-Bang Theory: "The Universe has Slowed Down and Speeded Up Seven Times"" »


June 28, 2015

Quantum Origins of the Universe --"Seeded the Early Galaxies and Clusters " (Weekend Feature)

 

 

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"The Planck data confirm the basic predictions that quantum fluctuations are at the origin of all structures in the Universe," said Jean-Loup Puget, Principal Investigator for the HFI-instrument on the Planck satellite. Viatcheslav Mukhanov, a cosmologist at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich, an expert in the field of Theoretical Cosmology., who first published his model in 1981 and joined the Physics Faculty at LMU in 1997, said: "I couldn't hope for a better verification of my theory."

Continue reading "Quantum Origins of the Universe --"Seeded the Early Galaxies and Clusters " (Weekend Feature)" »


June 26, 2015

NASA: "Rejuvenated Planets Can Survive a Stars' Red-Giant Death Cycle"

 

 

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For a planet, this would be like a day at the spa. After years of growing old, a massive planet could, in theory, brighten up with a radiant, youthful glow. Rejuvenated planets, as they are nicknamed, are only hypothetical. But new research from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has identified one such candidate, seemingly looking billions of years younger than its actual age.

Continue reading "NASA: "Rejuvenated Planets Can Survive a Stars' Red-Giant Death Cycle"" »


Spiral Galaxy Arms --"Incubate Rocky Terrestrial Planets"

 

 

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New work from Carnegie's Alan Boss offers a potential solution to a longstanding problem in the prevailing theory of how rocky planets formed in our own Solar System, as well as in others. The snag he's untangling: how dust grains in the matter orbiting a young protostar avoid getting dragged into the star before they accumulate into bodies large enough that their own gravity allows them to rapidly attract enough material to grow into planets.

Continue reading "Spiral Galaxy Arms --"Incubate Rocky Terrestrial Planets"" »


June 25, 2015

Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Stars Will Come to Us"

 

 

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"Even if we never reach the stars by our own efforts, in the millions of years that lie ahead it is almost certain that the stars will come to us. Isolationism is neither a practical policy on the national or cosmic scale. And when the first contact with the outer universe is made, one would like to think that Mankind played an active and not merely a passive role—that we were the discoverers, not the discovered."

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Stars Will Come to Us"" »


Stars Scattered in Colossal Elliptical Galaxy Halo --"Evidence of an Ancient Collision"

 

 

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Astronomers expect that galaxies grow by swallowing smaller galaxies. But the evidence is usually not easy to see -- just as the remains of the water thrown from a glass into a pond will quickly merge with the pond water, the stars in the infalling galaxy merge in with the very similar stars of the bigger galaxy leaving no trace. Such is the case with Messier 87 lies at the center of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It is a vast ball of stars with a total mass more than a million million times that of the Sun, lying about 50 million light-years away.

Continue reading "Stars Scattered in Colossal Elliptical Galaxy Halo --"Evidence of an Ancient Collision"" »


"The Behemoth" --Immense Cloud of Hydrogen Observed Bleeding From an Alien Planet

 

 

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"This cloud is very spectacular, though the evaporation rate does not threaten the planet right now," explains David Ehrenreich of the Observatory of the University of Geneva in Switzerland. "But we know that in the past, the star, which is a faint red dwarf, was more active. This means that the planet evaporated faster during its first billion years of existence because of the strong radiation from the young star. Overall, we estimate that it may have lost up to 10 percent of its atmosphere over the past several billion years."

Continue reading ""The Behemoth" --Immense Cloud of Hydrogen Observed Bleeding From an Alien Planet" »


Carbon Glow of Galaxies At 'Cosmic Dawn' Observed

 

 

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When galaxies first assembled, during a period often referred to as 'Cosmic Dawn,' most of the space between the stars was filled with a mixture of hydrogen and helium produced in the Big Bang. As subsequent generations of massive stars ended their brief but brilliant lives as supernovas, they seeded the interstellar medium with a fine dust of heavy elements, mostly carbon, silicon, and oxygen, which are forged in their nuclear furnaces.

Continue reading "Carbon Glow of Galaxies At 'Cosmic Dawn' Observed" »


With Thanks to Our Twitter Community!

 

 

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Our thanks to our vibrant Twitter community. We've just reached 349,000 followers, growing at 1,000 per week, including many of the planet's leading astronomers and scientists, astronauts, space observatories, news organizations, universities and governmental space organizations such as NASA, JPL, ESO, SETI, International Space Station, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and Royal Astronomy Society members, as well celebrities from Mia Farrow to Kevin Spacey, William Shatner, musician David Crosby, and Gary Busey.


June 24, 2015

"Freak of the Milky Way" --Neutron Star at the Heart of a Bizarre Supernova

 

 

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In late 2013, when the neutron star at the heart of one of our galaxy's oddest supernovae gave off a massive burst of X-rays, the resulting echoes -- created when the X-rays bounced off clouds of dust in interstellar space -- yielded a surprising new measuring stick for astronomers. Circinus X-1 is a freak of the Milky Way. Located in the plane of the galaxy, it is the glowing husk of a binary star system that exploded a mere 2,500 years ago. The system consists of a nebula and a neutron star, the incredibly dense collapsed core of the exploded star, still in the orbital embrace of its companion star.

Continue reading ""Freak of the Milky Way" --Neutron Star at the Heart of a Bizarre Supernova" »


NASA: "Black Holes are Dark Matter Concentrators"



 

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A new NASA computer simulation shows that dark matter particles colliding in the extreme gravity of a black hole can produce strong, potentially observable gamma-ray light. Detecting this emission would provide astronomers with a new tool for understanding both black holes and the nature of dark matter, an elusive substance accounting for most of the mass of the universe that neither reflects, absorbs nor emits light.

Continue reading "NASA: "Black Holes are Dark Matter Concentrators"" »


Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Universe is a Green Dragon"

 

 

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"I call the universe a green dragon because I want to avoid lulling you into thinking we can have the universe in our grasp, like a stray dog shut up in its kennel. I want to remind us of this proper relationship as we approach the Whole of Things.

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Universe is a Green Dragon"" »


June 23, 2015

Milky-Way Size Dark Galaxies Found in Coma Cluster --"Enveloped by Something Massive"

 

 

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A group of researchers from the Stony Brook University (the State University of New York) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has discovered 854 "ultra dark galaxies" in the Coma Cluster by analyzing archival data from the Subaru Telescope. The discovery of 47 such mysterious dark galaxies was a surprising find in 2014, and the new discovery of more than 800 suggests galaxy clusters as the key environment for the evolution of these mysterious dark galaxies. "Not only these galaxies appear very diffuse," said Jin Koda, principal investigator of the study, "but they are very likely enveloped by something very massive."

Continue reading "Milky-Way Size Dark Galaxies Found in Coma Cluster --"Enveloped by Something Massive"" »


Today's 'Galaxy' Insight -- "The Cosmos Five-Billion Years in the Future"

 

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“In 5 billion years, the expansion of the universe will have progressed to the point where all other galaxies will have receded beyond detection. Indeed, they will be receding faster than the speed of light, so detection will be impossible. Future civilizations will discover science and all its laws, and never know about other galaxies or the cosmic background radiation. They will inevitably come to the wrong conclusion about the universe......We live in a special time, the only time, where we can observationally verify that we live in a special time.”

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight -- "The Cosmos Five-Billion Years in the Future"" »


Dwarf Planet Ceres Mysterious Bright Spots Baffle NASA

 

 

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The closer we get to Ceres, the more intriguing the distant dwarf planet becomes. New images of Ceres from NASA's Dawn spacecraft provide more clues about its mysterious bright spots, and also reveal a pyramid-shaped peak towering over a relatively flat landscape.

Continue reading "Dwarf Planet Ceres Mysterious Bright Spots Baffle NASA" »


June 22, 2015

Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"We're Living in the Age of Cosmology"



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"It is hard to know how our future descendants will regard the little sliver of history that we live in. It is hard to know what events will seem important to them, what the narrative of now will look like to the twenty-fifth century mind. We tend to think of our time as one uniquely shaped by the advance of technology, but more and more I suspect that this will be remembered as an age of cosmology---as the moment when the human mind first internalized the cosmos that gave rise to it.

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"We're Living in the Age of Cosmology"" »


"The Great Migration" --10,000 Black Holes and Neutron Stars Swarm at Milky Way's Center (Today's Most Popular)

 

 

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A swarm of 10,000 or more black holes may be orbiting the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, according to results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This would represent the highest concentration of black holes anywhere in the Galaxy. These relatively small, stellar-mass black holes, along with neutron stars, appear to have migrated into the Galactic Center over the course of several billion years.

Continue reading " "The Great Migration" --10,000 Black Holes and Neutron Stars Swarm at Milky Way's Center (Today's Most Popular)" »


June 21, 2015

Weekend 'Galaxy' Insight -- "The Warping of Space and Time"

 

 

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"A big misconception is that a black hole is made of matter that has just been compacted to a very small size. That's not true. A black hole is made from warped space and time. It may have been created by an imploding star [where the gravity becomes so concentrated that nothing, not even light, can escape]. But the star's matter is destroyed at the hole's center, where space-time is infinitely warped. There's nothing left anywhere but warped space-time.

Continue reading "Weekend 'Galaxy' Insight -- "The Warping of Space and Time"" »


June 20, 2015

"Not a Coincidence" --The Largest Rocky Planet in Our Solar System is the Only One with Life

 

 

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"Plate tectonics are essential to life as we know it," said Diana Valencia of Harvard University. "Our calculations show that bigger is better when it comes to the habitability of rocky planets."

Continue reading " "Not a Coincidence" --The Largest Rocky Planet in Our Solar System is the Only One with Life" »


June 19, 2015

Supermassive Black-Hole Engines --"Play a Key Role in the Growth and Evolution of Galaxies"

 

 

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It is thought that a majority of the galaxies in the universe have a massive black hole in the galactic center. Since these black holes have masses of several millions to tens of billions of solar masses, they are called "supermassive black holes (SMBHs)". Recent observation results suggest the correlation between the SMBH mass and the central bulge mass/luminosity of the host galaxy. Such correlation indicates that SMBHs may have played a key role in the growth and evolution of galaxies.

Continue reading " Supermassive Black-Hole Engines --"Play a Key Role in the Growth and Evolution of Galaxies"" »


"Lighting Up the Universe" --Black-Hole Creation Triggered By Colliding Galaxies

 

 

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Using the Hubble Space Telescope's infrared vision, astronomers have unveiled some of the previously hidden origins of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. A new study finds that quasars are born when galaxies crash into each other and fuel supermassive, central black holes.

Continue reading ""Lighting Up the Universe" --Black-Hole Creation Triggered By Colliding Galaxies" »


June 18, 2015

Saturn's Titan --"New Discovery on the Most Earthlike Object in Our Solar System"

 

 

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Titan is a remarkable object in the Solar System. Like Earth and Venus, and unlike any other moon, it has a rocky surface and a thick atmosphere. It is the only object in the Solar System aside from the Earth to have rivers, rainfall and seas. It is bigger than the planet Mercury.

Continue reading "Saturn's Titan --"New Discovery on the Most Earthlike Object in Our Solar System"" »


ALMA Observatory Spies Monster Black Hole at Center of a Spectacular Spiral Galaxy

 

 

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Supermassive black holes lurk at the center of every large galaxy. These cosmic behemoths can be millions to billions of times more massive than the Sun. Determining just how massive, however, has been daunting, especially for spiral galaxies and their closely related cousins barred spirals.

Continue reading "ALMA Observatory Spies Monster Black Hole at Center of a Spectacular Spiral Galaxy" »


June 17, 2015

"Our World Could be Captured by a Black Hole --And We Wouldn’t Even Notice"

 

 

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According to the professor of physics at The Ohio State University, the recently proposed idea that black holes have “firewalls” that destroy all they touch has a loophole. In a paper posted online to the arXiv preprint server, Mathur takes issue with the firewall theory, and proves mathematically that black holes are not necessarily arbiters of doom.In fact, he says the world could be captured by a black hole, and we wouldn’t even notice.

Continue reading ""Our World Could be Captured by a Black Hole --And We Wouldn’t Even Notice"" »


Evidence of Enormous First Stars of the Cosmos Found in Primordial Galaxy

 

 

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A very distant galaxy, CR7, discovered using ESO's Very Large Telescope is by far the brightest galaxy yet found in the early Universe, and there is strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it. These massive, brilliant, and previously purely theoretical objects were the creators of the first heavy elements in history -- the elements necessary to forge the stars around us today, the planets that orbit them, and life as we know it. This newly found galaxy is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known up to now.

Continue reading "Evidence of Enormous First Stars of the Cosmos Found in Primordial Galaxy" »


Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Dominant Intelligence in the Universe May Be Non-Biological"

 

 

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“Once a society creates the technology that could put them in touch with the cosmos, they are only a few hundred years away from changing their paradigm from biology to artificial intelligence.” The idea is based on the so-called “time scale argument” or “short window observation.” Many researchers predict we’ll have developed a strong artificial intelligence by 2050 here on Earth — about a hundred years after the invention of computers, or a hundred and fifty years after the invention of radio communication. “The point is that, going from inventing radios to inventing thinking machines is very short — a few centuries at most. The dominant intelligence in the cosmos may well be non-biological.”

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Dominant Intelligence in the Universe May Be Non-Biological"" »




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