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August 07, 2014

EcoAlert: "The Virus Planet" -- Is Africa's New Ebola Threat a 'Spillover Event'?

 

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Until this year, reports NPR, the world had recorded 1,640 deaths from Ebola since the virus was discovered in 1976. But so far this year, 887 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Monday. And the outbreak is still spreading at a frightening rate. Last week, there were more than 200 new cases reported across four countries.

Continue reading "EcoAlert: "The Virus Planet" -- Is Africa's New Ebola Threat a 'Spillover Event'?" »


August 06, 2014

World's 1st Robotic Laser Probes Kepler Mission Star-System Planets

 

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“We’re using Robo-AO’s extreme efficiency to survey in exquisite detail all of the candidate exoplanet host stars that have been discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission,” said Dr. Christoph Baranec of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy. “While Kepler has an unrivaled ability to discover exoplanets that pass between us and their host star, it comes at the price of reduced image quality, and that’s where Robo-AO excels.”

Continue reading "World's 1st Robotic Laser Probes Kepler Mission Star-System Planets" »


"We're at the Comet!" --Rosetta Robotic Probe Poised to Enter Orbit

 


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After a decade in space and 4 billion miles, Europe's Rosetta spacecraft has made history: For the first time ever, a robotic probe from Earth is flying with a comet and will soon enter orbit. The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft arrived at its target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, today (Aug. 6) to end a 10-year journey across the solar system. The spacecraft performed an engine burn that brought it about 62 miles (100 kilometers) from the comet's surface.

Continue reading ""We're at the Comet!" --Rosetta Robotic Probe Poised to Enter Orbit" »


August 05, 2014

New Volcano Eruption on Jupiter's Io --10,000 Xs Iceland's 2010 Event

 

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During the middle of 2013, Jupiter’s moon Io came alive with volcanism. Now, an image from the Gemini Observatory captures what is one of the brightest volcanoes ever seen in our solar system. The image below, obtained on August 29, 2013, reveals the magnitude of the eruption that was the “grand finale” in a series of eruptions on the distant moon. Io’s volcanism is caused by the tidal push-and-pull of massive Jupiter, which heats the satellite’s interior – making it our Solar System’s most volcanically active known body.

Continue reading "New Volcano Eruption on Jupiter's Io --10,000 Xs Iceland's 2010 Event" »


August 04, 2014

Mars' Curiosity Reaches Mount Sharp Goal --Rising Three Miles Above Gale Crater Floor

 

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"We're coming to our first taste of a geological unit that's part of the base of the mountain rather than the floor of the crater," said Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "We will cross a major terrain boundary."

Continue reading " Mars' Curiosity Reaches Mount Sharp Goal --Rising Three Miles Above Gale Crater Floor" »


100-Million Years Ago --"Did Our Milky Way Collide With a Dark Matter Structure?" (Today's Most Popular)

 

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"Our part of the Milky Way is ringing like a bell," said Brian Yanny, of the Department of Energy’s Fermilab. "But we have not been able to identify the celestial object that passed through the Milky Way. It could have been one of the small satellite galaxies that move around the center of our galaxy, or an invisible structure such as a dark matter halo."

Continue reading "100-Million Years Ago --"Did Our Milky Way Collide With a Dark Matter Structure?" (Today's Most Popular)" »


Milky Way's Motion Syncs New Planck Space Telescope Discovery with Big Bang Theory

 

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Last year, the Planck Telescope revealed the most detailed picture of the cosmic microwave background, the relic radiation from the Big Bang. But this map contains features that challenge the standard model of cosmology, the theory that describes our entire Universe from early on. Who is right, the map or the theory?

Continue reading " Milky Way's Motion Syncs New Planck Space Telescope Discovery with Big Bang Theory" »


August 03, 2014

Origin of Colossal Bubbles Above and Below the Milky Way Remains a Mystery (Weekend Feature)

 

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In 2011, an analysis of data from a NASA Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope turned up massive, previously unseen galactic structures. A group of astrophysicists located two towering  bubbles of plasma, now know as "Fermi Bubbles," each extending tens of thousands of light-years, emitting high-energy radiation above and below the plane of the galaxy. The structure spans more than half of the visible sky, from the constellation Virgo to the constellation Grus, and it may be millions of years old.

Continue reading "Origin of Colossal Bubbles Above and Below the Milky Way Remains a Mystery (Weekend Feature)" »


Russia Zeroing In on the Moon and Mars' Phobos

 

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Russian scientists will focus on Moon and Mars exploration and repeat the Phobos-Grunt mission in the next decade, Space Research Institute Director Lev Zeleny said on Saturday. “The Moon and Mars are our priority for 2016-2025,” he said at the 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly underway in Moscow on August 2-10.

Continue reading "Russia Zeroing In on the Moon and Mars' Phobos" »


August 02, 2014

Mystery Molecules of the Interstellar Medium --"Many of the Things Quite Abundant There are Unknown on Earth" (Weekend Feature)

 

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Astronomers have long known that interstellar molecules containing carbon atoms exist and that by their nature they will absorb light shining on them from stars and other luminous bodies. Because of this, a number of scientists have previously proposed that some type of interstellar molecules are the source of diffuse interstellar bands -- the hundreds of dark absorption lines seen in color spectrograms taken from Earth.

Continue reading "Mystery Molecules of the Interstellar Medium --"Many of the Things Quite Abundant There are Unknown on Earth" (Weekend Feature)" »




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