Scientists on two continents have independently discovered a set of celestial objects that seem to belong to the rare category of dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting our home galaxy, the Milky Way. “The large dark matter content of Milky Way satellite galaxies makes this a significant result for both astronomy and physics,” said Alex Drlica-Wagner of Fermilab, one of the leaders of the Dark Energy Survey analysis. Dwarf galaxies are the smallest known galaxies, and they could hold the key to understanding dark matter, and the process by which larger galaxies form.
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“Solar flares represent the most violent eruptions in the Solar System,” said Vladimir Airapetian, senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and a research professor at George Mason and Capella Universities. “They release energy comparable to a couple billion megatons of TNT in a few minutes.”
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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has become the first mission to achieve orbit around a dwarf planet. The spacecraft was approximately 38,000 miles (61,000) kilometers from Ceres when it was captured by the dwarf planet’s gravity at about 4:39 a.m. PST (7:39 a.m. EST) Friday, March 6.
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“Nature is being coy,” said Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, an associate professor of physics at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research who works on one of the three new experiments. “There's something we just don't understand about the internal structure of how the universe works. When theorists write down all the ways dark matter might interact with our particles, they find, for the simplest models, that we should have seen it already. So even though we haven't found it yet, there's a message there, one that we're trying to decode now.”
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Our current cosmological standard model assumes that general relativity and the standard model of particle physics have been a good description of the basic physics of the universe throughout its history. It assumes that the large-scale geometry of the universe is flat: The total energy of the universe is zero. This implies that Euclidean geometry, the mathematics taught to most of us in middle school, is valid on the scale of the universe. Although the geometry of the universe is simple, its composition is strange: The universe is composed not just of atoms (mostly hydrogen and helium), but also dark matter and dark energy.
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A primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean, according to NASA scientists who, using ground-based observatories, measured water signatures in the Red Planet’s atmosphere. Scientists have been searching for answers to why this vast water supply left the surface.
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A caravan moves across the Lee Adoyta region in the Ledi-Geraru project area near the early Homo site. The hills behind the camels expose sediments that are younger than 2.67 million year old, providing a minimum age for the LD 350-1 mandible.
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Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, spotted four images of a distant exploding star. The images are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern by the powerful gravity of a foreground galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies.
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"The existence, or not, of GJ 581d is significant because it was the first Earth-like planet discovered in the 'Goldilocks'-zone around another star and it is a benchmark case for the Doppler technique," said Guillem Anglada-Escudé, of Physics and Astronomy Queen Mary, University of London.
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"Nobody really understands how life got started on Earth," says Scott Sandford, a space science researcher at NASA Ames. "Our experiments suggest that once the Earth formed, many of the building blocks of life were likely present from the beginning. Since we are simulating universal astrophysical conditions, the same is likely wherever planets are formed."
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