Will Radiation Zap Astronaut’s Brains During Deep Space Travel? A Galaxy Insight

6_19859ff34fd03d00777232e2520ce83f“The exceptional sensitivity of these neural stem cells suggests that we are going to have to rethink our understanding of stem cell susceptibility to radiation, including cosmic radiation encountered during space travel, as well as radiation doses that accompany different medical procedures.”

~ Dennis A. Steindler, Ph.D., executive director of UF’s McKnight Brain Institute

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Profiling ExoPlanets: Zeroing In On An Alien Planet Earth

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A hint: it has varying shades of a color known as "blue." A NASA-sponsored team of scientists looking back at Earth with the Deep Impact/EPOXI mission have developed a totally intuitive method to pinpoint whether Earth-like alien worlds beyond our solar system have oceans.  The Daily Show could have fun with this.

Seen from dozens of light years away, an Earth-like exoplanet will appear in telescopes as little more than a "pale blue dot," the term coined by the late astronomer Carl Sagan to describe how Earth appeared in a 1990 photograph taken by the Voyager spacecraft from near the edge of the solar system.

But, using instruments aboard the Deep Impact spacecraft, a team of astronomers and astrobiologists has devised a technique to tell whether such a planet harbors liquid water, which in turn could tell whether it might be able to support life.

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Ghost Beacon Signals Site of Massive Black Hole -One Billion Supernovas Massive!

Hdf_420 Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd don't need to suit up for this one. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has found a cosmic "ghost," and scientists think it is evidence of a huge eruption produced by a supermassive black hole equal in power to a billion supernovas. The source, HDF 130, is over 10 billion light years away and existed at a time 3 billion years after the Big Bang, when galaxies and black holes were forming at a high rate.

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Mega-Telescope Net To Stare Down Massive Black Hole At Center of Milky Way

6a00d8341bf7f753ef00e54f418f828834-800wi Scientists are setting up a super-telescope-network to study Sagittarius A*, the suspected black hole at the center of our galaxy.  It's eight terra-yotta-kilograms , aka "so vast we don't even have prefixes that high", four million solar masses.  So why is it so hard to see?  Well, it's buried behind half a galaxy's worth of light-emitting stars, interstellar dust over thirty thousand light years kind of reduces the signal, and - minor issue - black holes eat light.  Which makes things trickier.

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The Planet's Biggest Camera: Scanning the Skies with 1.4 Gigapixels

2400548669_336e54db73 Cameras are one of the hottest subjects for geek gadget envy, with increasingly evolved camera-phones boasting up to five megapixels, while dedicated camera-carriers brag about the ridiculously high resolution offered by eight megapixels. Which is why MIT took the time to remind us all who the alpha nerds are, building a billion-pixel camera. Which watches out for threats to Earth, as if the sheer ludicrous size of the camera wasn't cool enough.


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The Great Exo-Planet Search: Chile's World Space-Observatory Headquarters

Chile_atacama_2_2_3 The lunar landscapes of Chile's Atacama Desert, which stretches for about 650 miles along the Pacific Ocean to the Peruvian Border, is generally considered the driest place on earth, wedged between the rain shadows of the Andes to the east and the coast ranges to the west, while the cold Humboldt Current off the coast suppresses evaporation from the ocean. There are places in the Atacama where there has been no recorded or observed rainfall in the 400+ years since the Spaniards first arrived.

The Atacama Desert's dry climate and 5,600-meter (about 3.5 miles) altitude make it a unique and ideal mecca for both ground-based reflector and far-infrared astronomy. It's the next best location to outer space for high-accuracy astronomical observations. The southern hemisphere skies were opened with the construction of the Carnegie 100-inch DuPont telescope at Las Campanas in 1977.

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Is There a Milky-Way Galaxy/Earth Biodiversity Link? Experts Say "Yes"

Phot10b04normal_21n 1999, Astronomers focusing on a star at the center of the Milky Way, measured precisely how long it takes the sun to complete one orbit (a galactic year) of our home galaxy: 226 million years.

The last time the sun was at that exact spot of its galactic orbit, dinosaurs ruled the world. The Solar System is thought to have completed about 20–25 orbits during its lifetime or 0.0008 orbit since the origin of humans.

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Dwarf Galaxies Orbiting The Milky Way Nix Newton

CircinusGalaxyBlackHole It turns out that we don't know everything about the universe.  Shocking, we know, but you'd be surprised how often science writers, politicians, or intelligent design idiots confuse "non-omniscience" with "everything is WRONG!"   Now some are saying that Newton screwed up, but at least their evidence is awesome: dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way!

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Mystery Star Speeding Through Milky Way at 3 Million MPH -A Galaxy Classic

Neutron_star_rx_j08224300_2 One of the the fastest-moving stars ever discovered in the Milky Way has challenged theories about why it's moving so fast.

The object is a piece of the Puppis A supernova remnant created when a massive star ended its life in a supernova explosion about 3,700 years ago, forming an incredibly dense object called a neutron star.

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18 Billion Suns -Biggest Black Hole in Universe Discovered—and it’s BIG! A Galaxy Classic

Black_hole_big_2_3Whatever gave birth to this monster can be real proud. The biggest black hole in the universe weighs in with a respectable mass of 18 billion Suns, and is about the size of an entire galaxy. Just like in the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito flick “Twins”, the massive black hole has a puny twin hovering nearby. By observing the orbit of the smaller black hole, astronomers are able to test Einstein's theory of general relativity with stronger gravitational fields than ever before.

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