First discovered in 2008, β Pic b is a gas giant planet ten to twelve times the mass of Jupiter, with an orbit roughly the diameter of Saturn's. It is part of the dynamic and complex system of the star β Pictoris which lies over 60 light-years from Earth. The system includes comets, orbiting gas clouds, and an enormous debris disk that in our Solar System would extend from Neptune's orbit to nearly two thousand times the Sun/Earth distance.
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Earth's gravity has influenced the orientation of thousands of faults that form in the lunar surface as the moon shrinks, according to new results from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.
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Mathematicians investigating one of science's great questions -- how to unite the physics of the very big with that of the very small -- have discovered that when the understanding of complex networks such as the brain or the Internet is applied to geometry the results match up with quantum behavior.
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"We are looking at a very intense phase of galaxy evolution," said Chao-Wei Tsai of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. "This dazzling light may be from the main growth spurt of the galaxy's black hole."
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As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law which states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. Geneticists, Alexei Sharov at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore and Richard Gordon at the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida, have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by the measure of Moore's Law, life is older than the Earth itself.
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Gamma ray bursts (GRBs)--flashes of high-energy light occur about once a day, randomly, from around the sky--are the brightest events in the known universe. While a burst is underway, it is many millions of times brighter than an entire galaxy. Astronomers are anxious to decipher their nature not only because of their dramatic energetics, but also because their tremendous brightness enables them to be seen across cosmological distances and times, providing windows into the young universe.
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The quest for potentially habitable planets is often interpreted as the search for an Earth twin. And yet, some rocky planets outside our Solar System may in fact be more promising candidates for further research. Scientists from KU Leuven, Belgium, have run 165 climate simulations for exoplanets that permanently face their 'sun' with the same side. They discovered that two of the three possible climates are potentially habitable.
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An international team of astronomers have discovered a unique object – two massive stars with magnetic fields in a binary system. Around 1/3 of stars in our Galaxy are thought to be in binary systems, where two or more stars orbit around a common center. They are invaluable for astronomers, as watching how they behave lets astronomers measure their mass and connect this with their brightness – a key way in which we understand how stars evolve.
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This week, NASA released the most crystal-clear photos of Pluto yet, snapped by the New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby in July unveiling what NASA is calling a “bewildering variety of surface features.”
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This is an approximately real-color image above from the Hubble Space Telescope, of galaxy cluster Abell 3827. The galaxy cluster is made of hundreds of yellowish galaxies. At its core, four giant galaxies are smashing into each other. As the topmost of the four galaxies fell in, it left its dark matter trailing behind. The dark matter is invisible in this image, but its position is revealed by tell-tale gravitational lensing of an unrelated spiral galaxy behind the cluster, whose distorted image is seen as a blue arc. Trailing dark matter is predicted by theories in which dark matter is not perfectly dark, but feels more of the fundamental forces than just gravity.
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