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Observations using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed stars forming within powerful outflows of material blasted out from supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies. These are the first confirmed observations of stars forming in this kind of extreme environment. The discovery has many consequences for understanding galaxy properties …

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Dwarf planet Ceres may be hundreds of millions of miles from Jupiter, and even farther from Saturn, but the tremendous influence of gravity from these gas giants has an appreciable effect on Ceres' orientation. In a new study, researchers from NASA's Dawn mission calculate that the axial tilt of Ceres …

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No one keeps time quite like NASA. Last month, the space agency's next-generation atomic clock was joined to the spacecraft that will take it into orbit in late 2017.That instrument, the Deep Space Atomic Clock was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. On Feb. 17, JPL engineers …

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Rosetta scientists have made the first compelling link between an outburst of dust and gas and the collapse of a prominent cliff, which also exposed the pristine, icy interior of the comet.   Sudden and short-lived outbursts were observed frequently during Rosetta’s two-year mission at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Although their exact trigger …

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Some 290 million years ago, a star much like the sun wandered too close to the central black hole of its galaxy. Intense tides tore the star apart, which produced an eruption of optical, ultraviolet and X-ray light that first reached Earth in 2014. Now, a team of scientists using …

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New definition raises number of planets in solar system to about 110 Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: Regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and …

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A recent NASA-funded study has shown how the hydrocarbon lakes and seas of Saturn's moon Titan might occasionally erupt with dramatic patches of bubbles. For the study, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, simulated the frigid surface conditions on Titan, finding that significant amounts of nitrogen can be …

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Mars scientists are wrestling with a problem. Ample evidence says ancient Mars was sometimes wet, with water flowing and pooling on the planet's surface. Yet, the ancient sun was about one-third less warm and climate modelers struggle to produce scenarios that get the surface of Mars warm enough for keeping …

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The Hubble constant — the rate at which the Universe is expanding — is one of the fundamental quantities describing our Universe. A group of astronomers from the H0LiCOW collaboration, led by Sherry Suyu, Max Planck professor at the Technical University Munich (TUM) and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics …

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NASA'S Chandra X-ray Observatory has taken deep exposures of two nearby energetic pulsars flying through the Milky Way galaxy. The shape of their X-ray emission suggests there is a geometrical explanation for puzzling differences in behavior shown by some pulsars.Pulsars − rapidly rotating, highly magnetized, neutron stars born in supernova …

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The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy …

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Monster black holes sometimes lurk behind gas and dust, hiding from the gaze of most telescopes. But they give themselves away when material they feed on emits high-energy X-rays that NASA's NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission can detect. That's how NuSTAR recently identified two gas-enshrouded supermassive black holes, located …

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Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They’re so small and faint that it’s hard to spot them. But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a unique way: by a shadow that is sweeping across the face of a …

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Interstellar forecast for a nearby star: Raining comets! NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered comets plunging onto the star HD 172555, which is a youthful 23 million years old and resides 95 light-years from Earth.The exocomets — comets outside our solar system — were not directly seen around the star, …

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A team of researchers has compiled a special catalog to help astronomers figure out the true distances to tens of thousands of galaxies beyond our own Milky Way.The catalog, called NED-D, is a critical resource, not only for studying these galaxies, but also for determining the distances to billions of …

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NASA has selected two missions that have the potential to open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system - a time less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun. The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from …

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Using a model similar to what meteorologists use to forecast weather and a computer simulation of the physics of evaporating ices, scientists have found evidence of snow and ice features on Pluto that, until now, had only been seen on Earth.Formed by erosion, the features, known as “penitentes,” are bowl-shaped …

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This spectacular new image is one of the largest near-infrared high-resolution mosaics of the Orion A molecular cloud, the nearest known massive star factory, lying about 1350 light-years from Earth. It was taken using the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile and reveals many young …

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This galaxy has a far more exciting and futuristic classification than most -- it hosts a megamaser. Megamasers are intensely bright, around 100 million times brighter than the masers found in galaxies like the Milky Way. The entire galaxy essentially acts as an astronomical laser that beams out microwave emission …

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China vowed Tuesday to speed up the development of its space industry as it set out its plans to become the first country to soft land a probe on the far side of the moon, by around 2018, and launch its first Mars probe by 2020. "To explore the vast cosmos, …

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Scientists from MIPT, the Institute for Nuclear Research (INR) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Novosibirsk State University (NSU) have discovered that the proportion of unstable particles in the composition of dark matter in the days immediately after the Big Bang was no more than 2%-5%. Their study has …

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This comparison of two views from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, taken fairly close together in time, illustrates a peculiar mystery:  Why would Titan's clouds be visible in some images, but not in others?In the top view, a near-infrared image from Cassini's imaging cameras, the skies above Saturn's moon Titan look relatively …

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Scientists have used a laser to tickle atoms of antimatter and make them shine, a key step toward answering one of the great riddles of the universe. Theory predicts that the Big Bang produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Since they cancel each other out, scientists have been trying to …

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After the smooth arrival of ESA’s latest Mars orbiter, mission controllers are now preparing it for the ultimate challenge: dipping into the Red Planet’s atmosphere to reach its final orbit.The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is on a multiyear mission to understand the tiny amounts of methane and other gases in …

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Are planets like those in 'Star Wars: Rogue One' really out there?In the "Star Wars" universe, ice, ocean and desert planets burst from the darkness as your ship drops out of light speed. But these worlds might be more than just science fiction.Some of the planets discovered around stars in …

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