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October 2017
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Gravitational Waves --"May Prove That Black Holes Existed Before Birth of Stars in the Early Universe"

 

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"We know very well that black holes can be formed by the collapse of large stars, or as we have seen recently, the merger of two neutron stars," said Savvas Koushiappas, an associate professor of physics at Brown University and coauthor of the study with Avi Loeb from Harvard University. "But it's been hypothesized that there could be black holes that formed in the very early universe before stars existed at all. That's what we're addressing with this work."

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"Supermassive Ghosts'--Astronomers Looking for a Star in Andromeda Galaxy Stumble Upon Orbiting Pair of Giant Black Holes 2.6 Billion Light Years Beyond

 

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A background object in images of the nearby Andromeda galaxy has revealed what could be the most tightly coupled pair of supermassive black holes ever seen. “We were looking for a special type of star in M31 and thought we had found one,” said Trevor Dorn-Wallenstein, a University of Washington doctoral student in astronomy and lead author on the paper describing this discovery. “We were surprised and excited to find something far stranger!”

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"Against All Odds!" --ALMA Observatory Update: Infant Stars Discovered in Violent Tidal Forces Near Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole

 

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“Despite all odds, we see the best evidence yet that low-mass stars are forming startlingly close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way,” said Farhad Yusef-Zadeh, an astronomer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and lead author on the paper. “This is a genuinely surprising result and one that demonstrates just how robust star formation can be, even in the most unlikely of places.”

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China's Dark-Matter Satellite Detects Strange, Unexpected Signal --"New Physical Phenomena Beyond Our Current Understanding"

 

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"DAMPE has opened a new window for observing the high-energy universe, unveiling new physical phenomena beyond our current understanding," Chang Jin, chief scientist of DAMPE, told Xinhua. "Our data may inspire some new ideas in particle physics and astrophysics. We never expected such signals.”

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"Death Planet Defines All Expectations" --WASP-18b Smothering Stratosphere Without Water

 
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A NASA-led team of scientists determined that WASP-18b, a "hot Jupiter" located 325 light-years from Earth, has a stratosphere that's loaded with carbon monoxide, but has no signs of water. A NASA-led team has found evidence that the oversized exoplanet WASP-18b is wrapped in a smothering stratosphere loaded with carbon monoxide and devoid of water. The findings come from a new analysis of observations made by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.

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"A New Lifeform on Earth?" --Scientists Change the Way Life Works Expanding DNA to Create Semi-Synthetic Organism

 

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This finding shows that perhaps the forces nature uses aren’t the only ones possible. “It’s very hard to ask questions about the origins of life," said Floyd Romesberg, Ph.D., who led the study for the Scripps Research Institute. "It’s hard to ask questions about why we are the way we are, why we are built the way we are, because we have nothing out there to compare ourselves to,” Romesberg said. “We’ve now given the field a comparison. This was the smallest possible change we could make to the way life works—but it is the first ever.”

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The Alien Observatory --"It’s Extremely Unlikely That We'll Find Life At the Same Stage as Earth's Humans" (WATCH Videos)

 

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"The period of time occupied by organic intelligence is just a thin sliver between early life and the long era of the machines," says Martin Rees is Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, at the University of Cambridge, the Astronomer Royal, a member of Britain’s House of Lords, and a former President of the Royal Society. "Because such civilizations would develop at different rates, it’s extremely unlikely that we will find intelligent life at the same stage of development as us. More likely, that life will still be either far simpler, or an already fully electronic intelligence."

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Super-Volcano Eruptions More Threatening Than Thought --"Capable of Returning Humanity to a Pre-Civilized State"

 

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"The previous estimate, made in 2004, was that super-eruptions occurred on average every 45 - 714 thousand years, comfortably longer than our civilization," said Jonathan Rougier, professor of Statistical Science at the University of Bristol. "But in our paper just published, we re-estimate this range as 5.2 - 48 thousand years, with a best guess value of 17 thousand years."

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