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Updated: 11 hours 14 min ago

Why sibling stars look alike: Early, fast mixing in star-birth clouds

Sun, 08/31/2014 - 15:03
Early, fast, turbulent mixing of gas within giant molecular clouds -- the birthplaces of stars -- means all stars formed from a single cloud bear the same unique chemical 'tag' or 'DNA fingerprint,' write astrophysicists. Could such chemical tags help astronomers identify our own Sun's long-lost sibling stars?

Astrophysicists report radioactive cobalt in supernova explosion

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:34
Astrophysicists have detected the formation of radioactive cobalt during a supernova explosion, lending credence to a corresponding theory of supernova explosions.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope witnesses asteroid smashup

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:01
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets.

Researchers use NASA and other data to look into the heart of a solar storm

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:00
Scientists found that the CME contained a rare piece of dense solar filament material. This filament coupled with an unusually fast speed led to the large amount of solar material observed.

Astronomy: Radio telescopes settle controversy over distance to Pleiades

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 14:27
A worldwide network of radio telescopes measured the distance to the famous star cluster the Pleiades to an accuracy within 1 percent. The result resolved a controversy raised by a satellite's measurement that now is shown to be wrong. The incorrect measurement had challenged standard models of star formation and evolution.

Red Planet's climate history uncovered in unique Martian meteorite

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:15
Was Mars -- now a cold, dry place -- once a warm, wet planet that sustained life? Research underway may one day answer those questions -- and perhaps even help pave the way for future colonization of the Red Planet. By analyzing the chemical clues locked inside an ancient Martian meteorite known as Black Beauty, scientists are revealing the story of Mars’ ancient, and sometimes startling, climate history.

Early growth of giant galaxy, just 3 billion years after the Big Bang, revealed

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:15
The birth of massive galaxies, according to galaxy formation theories, begins with the buildup of a dense, compact core that is ablaze with the glow of millions of newly formed stars. Evidence of this early construction phase, however, has eluded astronomers — until now. Astronomers identified a dense galactic core, dubbed "Sparky," using a combination of data from several space telescopes. Hubble photographed the emerging galaxy as it looked 11 billion years ago, just 3 billion years after the birth of our universe in the big bang.

Orion rocks! Pebble-size particles may jump-start planet formation

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:18
Astronomers have discovered that filaments of star-forming gas near the Orion Nebula may be brimming with pebble-size particles -- planetary building blocks 100 to 1,000 times larger than the dust grains typically found around protostars.

Best view yet of merging galaxies in distant universe

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 14:11
Astronomers have obtained the best view yet of a collision between two galaxies when the Universe was only half its current age. To make this observation, the team also enlisted the help of a gravitational lens, a galaxy-size magnifying glass, to reveal otherwise invisible detail.

Voyager map details Neptune's strange moon Triton

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 09:35
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up look at Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager's historic footage of Triton has been "restored" and used to construct the best-ever global color map of that strange moon. The map, produced by Paul Schenk, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, has also been used to make a movie recreating that historic Voyager encounter, which took place 25 years ago, on August 25, 1989.

Spectacular supernova's mysteries revealed

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 08:39
Astronomers are delving into the mystery of what caused a spectacular supernova in a galaxy 11 million light years away, seen earlier this year. The supernova, a giant explosion of a star and the closest one to the Earth in decades, was discovered earlier this year by chance. These phenomena are extremely important to study because they provide key information about our universe, including how it is expanding and how galaxies evolve.

Electric sparks may alter evolution of lunar soil

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:24
The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but new modeling suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon's coldest craters through the process of sparking -- a finding that could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.

Your toothpaste's fluorine formed in the stars

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:23
The fluorine that is found in products such as toothpaste was likely formed billions of years ago in now-dead stars of the same type as our sun, according to new research by astronomers.

Why NASA studies the ultraviolet sun

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 18:28
You cannot look at the sun without special filters, and the naked eye cannot perceive certain wavelengths of sunlight. Solar physicists must consequently rely on spacecraft that can observe this invisible light before the atmosphere absorbs it.

First LOFAR observations of 'Whirlpool Galaxy'

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 09:12
Using a radio telescope with frequencies just above those of commercial FM radio stations, a European team of astronomers has obtained the most sensitive image of a galaxy below 1 GHz.

A spectacular landscape of star formation

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 09:12
A new image shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first is of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located 20,000 light-years away, in the Carina–Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth.

What are stars made of? Determining stellar compositions made easier with new catalog

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:41
An astronomer has devised the largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions. The work is critical to understanding the properties of stars, how they form, and possible connections with orbiting planets. And what she found from her work is that the compositions of nearby stars aren't as uniform as once thought.

Immune system is dazed and confused during spaceflight, study reveals

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 13:51
Research indicates that crew members aboard the International Space Station have changes in blood cytokines that persist during flight.

Fascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black hole

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 22:00
Astronomers have accurately measured -- and thus confirmed the existence of -- a rare intermediate-mass black hole about 400 times the mass of our sun in a galaxy 12 million light years from the Milky Way. The finding uses a technique never applied in this way before, and opens the door to new studies of these mysterious objects.

Hubble stirs up galactic soup

Sat, 08/16/2014 - 15:48
A new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a whole host of colorful and differently shaped galaxies; some bright and nearby, some fuzzy, and some so far from us they appear as small specks in the background sky. Together they appear as kind of galactic soup.