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




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.

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






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.

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





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.

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




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. 

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





"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."

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





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.

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Spiral Galaxy Arms --"Incubate Rocky Terrestrial Planets"





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.

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





"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."

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





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.

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





"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."

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