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"The Cosmic Web" --New Views from Caltech of the Primordial Gas from the Big Bang

 

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Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, theoreticians have predicted that primordial gas from the Big Bang is not spread uniformly throughout space, but is instead distributed in channels that span galaxies and flow between them. This "cosmic web"—the IGM—is a network of smaller and larger filaments crisscrossing one another across the vastness of space and back through time to an era when galaxies were first forming and stars were being produced at a rapid rate.

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Galaxies Born Early in the Universe Puzzling Astronomers

 

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Astronomers have found an exceptionally distant galaxy, ranked among the top 10 most distant objects currently known in space. New Herschel Space Observatory findings have given scientists at Arizona State University a remarkable insight into the internal dynamics of two young galaxies. Surprisingly, they have shown that just a few billion years after the big bang, some galaxies were rotating in a mature way, seemingly having completed the accumulation of their gas reservoirs.

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"The Great Dying" --Was Earth's Colossal Extinction Event Caused by Microbes?

 

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The physical environment can produce sudden shocks to the life of our planet through impacting space rocks, erupting volcanoes and other events. But sometimes life itself turns the tables and strikes a swift blow back to the environment. MIT researchers have identified a different culprit — one coming from biology rather than geology. They argue that the carbon disruption and, consequently, the end-Permian extinction were set off by a particular microorganism that evolved a new way to digest organic material into methane.

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Colossal Galaxy or Supermassive Black Hole Warped Spacetime to Create a Rare Supernova

 

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An exceptionally bright supernova reported in 2013 is so luminous, a new study reports, because a lens in the sky amplified its light. The discovery of the lens settles an important controversy in the field of astronomy. In 2010, a team of scientists observed a supernova, PS1-10afx, shining brighter than any other in its class. Its exceptional glow puzzled many, leading to some to conclude it was a new type of extra-bright supernova, while others suggested it was a normal Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) magnified by a lens in the form of a massive object, such as supermassive black hole, nearby.

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Quasar with a Power Output Greater than the Milky Way --A Clue to Why Few Large Galaxies Exist? (Today's Most Popular)

 

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In 2012, researchers discovered a quasar known as SDSS J1106+1939 with the most energetic outflow ever, a finding that may answer questions about how the mass of a galaxy is linked to its central black hole mass and why there are so few large galaxies in the universe. The rate that energy is carried away by the huge mass of material ejected is equivalent to two trillion times the power output of the sun. The black hole at the heart of quasar SDSS J1106-1939 is massive, estimated to be a thousand times heavier than the black hole in the Milky Way.

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'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey' (Monday's Episode 8) --Preview & Background for "Sisters of the Sun"

 

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Want to see some massive nuclear explosions? Watch what will happen to this binary star system when Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky shown above, runs out of fuel. In this week's episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the violent cosmic phenomenon of supernovas. While there is, on average, only one supernova per galaxy per century, there is something on the order of 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe. Taking 10 billion years for the age of the Universe (it's actually 13.7 billion, but stars didn't form for the first few hundred million), Dr. Richard Mushotzky of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, derived a figure of 1 billion supernovae per year, or 30 supernovae per second in the observable Universe!

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"Farside of the World" --South Pole's Role in the Epic Discovery of Gravitational Waves

 

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"The South Pole is the closest you can get to space and still be on the ground," says John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, leader of the BICEP2 collaboration. "It's one of the driest and clearest locations on Earth, perfect for observing the faint microwaves from the Big Bang."

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NASA Curiosity Rover Spots Massive Asteroids in Mars Night Sky

 

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A new image from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is the first ever from the surface of Mars to show an asteroid, and it shows two: Ceres (above) and Vesta --the largest and third-largest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter --the destinations of NASA's Dawn mission. Dawn orbited Vesta in 2011 and 2012, and is on its way to begin orbiting Ceres next year. Ceres is a dwarf planet, as well as an asteroid.

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Fossil Signal from the Earliest Moments of the Universe Reveals New Unknowns

 

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"There have been hints for a while now that maybe something else is going on," says Stanford's Kavli Foundation Deputy Director John Carlstrom, who leads two other experiments that study the universe's first light. "Maybe we need to… allow some new physics in there. Maybe there are more neutrinos. Maybe they're more massive than we thought. Or maybe it's something none of us have thought of yet."

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