European Southern Observatory Shines Light On the Dark Universe

 

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Scientists have gained fresh insight into the nature of dark matter, the elusive material that accounts for much of the mass of the Universe. Calculations based on a study of distant galaxies, using powerful ESO telescopes, suggest that dark matter is less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought.

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Cosmic Dust From the Origins of Our Solar System --"Found on Roof Tops of Europe"

 

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Forty-thousand tons of cosmic dust falls to Earth each year. These particles that have been around since the formation of our solar system have been found for the first time on rooftops in three of the world's major cities. These particles are tiny, roughly around 0.01 millimetres in size, and have been falling to Earth since it was formed billions of years ago. Analyzing their chemical and mineral content can tell scientists about how the early solar system has evolved. Most dust is collected by scientists from the frozen wastes of places like Antarctica, as it was thought too difficult to unearth these little time capsules in urban debris.

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"Extraterrestrial Climate Change" --World's Scientists Ask: What is the Lifespan of Technological Civilizations

 

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"The mystery of why we haven't yet found signs of aliens may have less to do with the likelihood of the origin of life or intelligence and have more to do with the rarity of the rapid emergence of biological regulation of feedback cycles on planetary surfaces," says Aditya Chopra at Australia National University.

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NASA's Kepler Mission Discoveries Transform Drake's Equation --"Humans Not the First Technological Civilization in the Universe"

 

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"The question of whether advanced civilizations exist elsewhere in the universe has always been vexed with three large uncertainties in the Drake equation," said Adam Frank, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester. "We've known for a long time approximately how many stars exist. We didn't know how many of those stars had planets that could potentially harbor life, how often life might evolve and lead to intelligent beings, and how long any civilizations might last before becoming extinct."

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"Spooky Action Planet!" --Unique "BIG Bell" Worldwide Experiment Confirms Predictions of Quantum Physics

 

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On November 30th, for the first time, participants around the world took part in a unique worldwide experiment with the aim of testing the laws of quantum physics. Twelve laboratories from around the world collaborated in quantum experiments powered by human randomness with the aim of demonstrating experimentally that the nanoscale world is as strange as quantum physics predicts, consisting of particles in superstates that collapse only when observed; strange instantaneous interactions at a distance; predictions that were questioned by Einstein, who rejected them completely.

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Peering Into the Fabric of Spacetime --"We'll Soon See a Totally Different, Totally Unexpected Universe"

 

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The physicist Neils Bohr once said to a colleague, "your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true." For many scientists, the most exciting result of the LIGO discovery of gravitational waves is that astronomy can now enable them to probe the “dark” universe: objects and forces that don’t absorb, reflect, or emit light, yet make up 96 percent of the universe --a seismic shift in astronomy, which has been studying the light side of the universe for 5,000 years.

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StarTalk Radio With Neil deGrasse Tyson --What Will It Take to Survive on Mars? Guest: "The Martian" Author Andy Weir

 

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What will it take to survive on Mars? To find out, Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Andy Weir, best-selling novelist and author of The Martian, which was adapted into a feature film starring Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney and received 7 Academy Awards nominations.

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The Birthplace of Supergalaxies --"Cosmic Cities of the Universe"

 

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Galaxies are usually grouped into clusters, huge systems comprising up to thousands of millions of these objects, in whose interior are found the most massive galaxies in the universe. Until now scientists believed that these "supergalaxies" formed from smaller galaxies that grow closer and closer together until they merge, due to gravitational attraction.

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Alpha Centauri Earth's Closest Star System Renamed --"Rigial Kentaurus"

 

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Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system, is taking back its ancient moniker, Rigil Kentaurus, which means “foot of the centaur” in Arabic, according to Science, the online publication of the American Association for the Adancement of Science (AAAS). The newly named system is one of 227 stars and star systems that received name clarifications from the International Astronomical Union yesterday. That’s because many celestial bodies have multiple names, Space.com reports.

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