NASA's Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first close-up, visible-light views of a behemoth hurricane swirling around Saturn's north pole. High-resolution pictures and video, scientists show that the hurricane's eye is about 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide, 20 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. Thin, bright clouds at the outer edge of the hurricane are traveling 330 mph(150 meters per second). The hurricane swirls inside a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern known as the hexagon.
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Saturn's icy moon Enceladus is emerging as the most habitable spot beyond Earth in the Solar System for life as we know it. "It has liquid water, organic carbon, nitrogen [in the form of ammonia], and an energy source," says Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Besides Earth, he says, "there is no other environment in the Solar System where we can make all those claims."
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Staring at a small patch of sky for more than 50 hours with the ultra-sensitive Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), astronomers have for the first time identified discrete sources that account for nearly all the radio waves coming from distant galaxies. They found that about 63 percent of the background radio emission comes from galaxies with gorging black holes at their cores and the remaining 37 percent comes from galaxies that are rapidly forming stars.
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In 1938 one of the world's greatest scientists withdrew all his money and disappeared during a boat trip from Palermo to Naples. Whether he killed himself, was murdered or lived on under a different identity is still not known. But no trace of The Italian physicist Ettore Majorana has ever been found. On June 7, 2011 Italian media reported that the Carabinieri‘s RIS had analyzed a photograph of a man taken in Argentina in 1955, finding ten points of similarity with Majorana’s face.
Continue reading ""Majorana Fermions" --The Mystery Particle at the Border Between Matter & Antimatter " »
It seems that, so far, it is: In July of 2012, astronomers observed a spiral galaxy in the early universe, billions of years before many other spiral galaxies formed while using the Hubble Space Telescope. They were taking pictures of about 300 very distant galaxies in the early universe to study their properties. This distant spiral galaxy they discovered existed roughly three billion years after the Big Bang, and light from this part of the universe has been traveling to Earth for about 10.7 billion years.
Continue reading ""BX442" --The First Spiral Galaxy in the Universe?" »
For the first time, French scientists led by Jean-Marie Torre, research engineer at the Côte d'Azur Observatory using the Grasse (MéO) laser-ranging station in Calern, France, successfully bounced a laser off the Soviet Union's old Lunokhod 1 rover, which trekked across the moon's landscape more than four decades ago. In March, they received return signals from the Lunokhod 1 reflector for the first time since the start of their lunar laser ranging observation campaigns in the early 1980s.
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"In the overall universe, normal space-time exists only in local 'bubbles'; the context for these is not-too-large, not-too-small, not-too-hot, not-too-cold, not-too-fast, not-too-old, and definitely not-inside-an-event-horizon. We also know that paired particles respond to changes in each other, regardless of "distance apart" and that time stops at the speed of light.
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By studying how distant starburst galaxies are clustered together, astronomers in early 2012 found that they eventually become so-called giant elliptical galaxies -- the most massive galaxies in today's universe. The galaxies are so distant that their light has taken around ten billion years to reach us, so we see them as they were about ten billion years ago.
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The Hubble Space Telescope image below centers on the 100-million-solar-mass black hole at the hub of the neighboring spiral galaxy M31, or the Andromeda galaxy, the only galaxy outside the Milky Way visible to the naked eye and the only other giant galaxy in the local group. This is the sharpest visible-light image ever made of the nucleus of an external galaxy. The event horizon, the closest region around the black hole where light can still escape, is too small to be seen, but it lies near the middle of a compact cluster of blue stars at the center of the image.
Continue reading "The Weekend Image : Andromeda Galaxy's Supermassive Black Hole" »