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Updated: 15 hours 2 min ago

Ingredient of life found around infant Sun-like stars

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 7:29am
ALMA has observed stars like the Sun at a very early stage in their formation and found traces of methyl isocyanate -- a chemical building block of life. This is the first ever detection of this prebiotic molecule towards solar-type protostars, the sort from which our Solar System evolved. The discovery could help astronomers understand how life arose on Earth.

Celestial boondocks: Study supports the idea we live in a void

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 2:29pm
A new study not only firms up the idea that we exist in one of the holes of the Swiss cheese structure of the cosmos, but helps ease the apparent disagreement between different measurements of the Hubble Constant, the unit cosmologists use to describe the rate at which the universe is expanding today.

Century-old relativity experiment used to measure a white dwarf's mass

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 2:26pm
Astronomers have used the sharp vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to repeat a century-old test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The team measured the mass of white dwarf Stein 2051 B, the burned-out remnant of a normal star, by seeing how much it deflects the light from a background star. The gravitational microlensing method data provide a solid estimate of the white dwarf’s mass and yield insights into theories of the structure and composition of the burned-out star.

New confirmation of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 12:38pm
Albert Einstein predicted that whenever light from a distant star passes by a closer object, gravity acts as a kind of magnifying lens, brightening and bending distant starlight. Yet, Einstein added, 'There is no hope of observing this phenomenon directly.' Now, researchers have done just that, saying that the discovery opens a new window to understanding 'the history and evolution of galaxies such as our own.'

Jackpot! Cosmic magnifying-glass effect captures universe's brightest galaxies

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 3:57pm
Boosted by natural magnifying lenses in space, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured unique close-up views of the universe's brightest infrared galaxies, which are as much as 10,000 times more luminous than our Milky Way.

Mini-flares potentially jeopardize habitability of planets circling red dwarf stars

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 12:33pm
Solar flares and associated eruptions can trigger auroras on Earth or, more ominously, damage satellites and power grids. Could flares on cool, red dwarf stars cause even more havoc to orbiting planets, even rendering them uninhabitable? To help answer that question, astronomers sought to find out how many flares such stars typically unleash.

Hubble's tale of two exoplanets: Nature vs. nurture

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 3:45pm
Is it a case of nature versus nurture when it comes to two 'cousin' exoplanets? In a unique experiment, scientists used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to study two 'hot Jupiter' exoplanets. Because these planets are virtually the same size and temperature, and orbit around nearly identical stars at the same distance, the team hypothesized that their atmospheres should be alike. What they found surprised them.

Collateral damage from cosmic rays increases cancer risks for Mars astronauts

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 3:02pm
The cancer risk for a human mission to Mars has effectively doubled following a study predicting a dramatic increase in the disease for astronauts traveling to the red planet or on long-term missions outside the protection of Earth's magnetic field. The new predictive model shows radiation from cosmic rays extends from damaged to otherwise healthy 'bystander' cells.

Dying stars give newborn black holes a swift kick, study shows

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 12:41pm
Investigators reanalyzed the merging black holes detected by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) on Dec. 26, 2016, and drew new insights about what happens when massive stars die and transform into black holes.

A planet hotter than most stars

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 11:09am
A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot that it’s stretching the definition of the word “planet.”

ALMA returns to Boomerang Nebula

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 11:09am
A companion star crashing into a red giant star may explain the chilling power to the Boomerang Nebula.

Study estimates amount of water needed to carve Martian valleys

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 8:53am
A new study calculates the amount of water needed to carve the ancient network of valleys on Mars and concludes the planet's surface was once much more watery than previously thought. The study bolsters the idea that Mars had a warmer climate and active hydrologic cycle, with water evaporating from an ancient ocean, returning to the surface as rainfall and eroding the extensive network of valleys.