"We have a sample of only one planet known to harbor life," says Nigel Goldenfeld who holds a Swanlund Endowed Chair and is a Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Director of a NASA Astrobiology Institute focused on Universal Biology. "Thus it is critical that we be creative in extracting the most information from Earthly life as possible, if we are to ever understand the existence, likelihood, and nature of life elsewhere in the Universe. Russell, Nischke, and Branscomb's work lays an intriguing foundation for that endeavor, by cleverly bringing together concepts from thermodynamics, geochemistry and biology to advance a major new hypothesis for life's origins."
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A new finding adds to evidence that a liquid water reservoir or ocean lurks under the icy surface of the
moon. This is the first clear observation the bright plume emanating from Enceladus' south pole
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For the first time since exoplanets were discovered almost 20 years ago, X-ray observations have detected an exoplanet passing in front of its parent star. An advantageous alignment of a planet and its parent star shown above in the system HD 189733, which is 63 light-years from Earth, enabled NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM Newton Observatory to observe a dip in X-ray intensity as the planet transited the star.
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Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have been used to discover 26 black hole candidates in the Milky Way's galactic neighbor, Andromeda, as described in our latest press release. This is the largest number of possible black holes found in a galaxy outside of the Milky Way.
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“The remarkable observations from ALMA allowed us to get the first really in-depth look at what was going on within this cloud,” says Nicolas Peretto, of Cardiff University and CEA/AIM Parsis-Saclay. “We wanted to see how monster stars form and grow, and we certainly achieved our aim! One of the sources we have found is an absolute giant — the largest protostellar core ever spotted in the Milky Way."
Continue reading ""The Dark Cloud" --Emergence of a Monster Star: Largest Ever Observed in the Milky Way" »
Measurements tell us that global average sea level is currently rising by about 1 inch per decade. But in an invisible shadow process, our long-term sea level rise commitment or "lock-in" — the sea level rise we don’t see now, but which carbon emissions and warming have locked in for later years — is growing 10 times faster, and this growth rate is accelerating.
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“Kepler has now discovered over 2,000 new worlds around other stars, most of them smaller than twice the size of Earth, and many probably having water,” said Geoff Marcy, professor of astronomy, University of California, Berkeley. “This flood of nearly Earth-size planets offers the first opportunity for us humans to hunt for other intelligent species that may have evolved on them.”
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"As a physicist, I want to know how the world works, and right now our best models of how the world works – the Standard Model of particle physics and Einstein's theory of general relativity – don't fit together at high energies," said Hohensee of the Department of Physics. "By finding points of breakage in the models, we can start to improve these theories."
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It has been speculated for a long time that enormous magnetic field strengths, possibly higher than what has been observed in any known astrophysical system, are a key ingredient in short gamma-ray burst, one of the brightest explosions observed in the universe.Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) have now succeeded in simulating a mechanism which could produce such strong magnetic fields prior to the collapse to a black hole.
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