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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Astronomy’

Most “Centaurs” Are Comets, Say Astronomers

For years, the small objects orbiting the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune have remained a mystery to astronomers. Dubbed “centaurs,” researchers were unsure what exactly the objects were. Now, new observations using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have determined that many, if not most, of the objects are comets. The new observations were taken from an infrared survey made …

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‘Snow Line’ Spotted in Young Solar System

Astronomers this week revealed that the first-ever “snow line” of a solar system has been spotted. Scientists believe that the snow line – similar to ones seen on the tops of mountains on Earth – could provide information about how planets with differing chemical compositions evolve around young stars. In the far reaches of accretion discs around young stars, molecules …

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New Neptune Moon Found by Hubble Space Telescope

NASA this week revealed that a new moon has been spotted orbiting the furthest planet from the sun, Neptune. The moon, the 14th known to be orbiting Neptune, has been labeled S/2004 N 1. The small rock is the smallest of Neptune’s known moons at approximately 12 miles across. It is located around 65,400 miles from Neptune, between the orbits …

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Astronomers Spot Massive Star In-Utero

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory‘s Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) this week revealed that they have spotted a massive star in the process of being born. Researchers hope the new information can help uncover just how massive (stars with more than 10 times the mass of the sun) stars form. “The remarkable observations from ALMA allowed us to get …

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Hubble Telescope Spots a Blue Planet

Astronomers have been finding and cataloging exoplanets for years now, but NASA this week announced that the Hubble Space Telescope has helped determined the color of a planet orbiting a star 63 light-years from our solar system. The planet, HD 189733b, has been found to be blue in color. Astronomers determined this using Hubble’s imaging spectrograph, which was able to …

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Astronomers Find Extra-Galactic Radio Bursts

Astronomers this week announced that the first confirmed radio bursts from outside our Milky Way galaxy have been detected. A team of astronomers using the Parkes Observatory in Australia have detected four bursts, each originating from billions of light-years from our galaxy. The bursts are quick flashes of radio originating from a single point in the sky, lasting only milliseconds. …

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Distant Galaxy Caught ‘Feeding’ on Gas Clouds

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory‘s Very Large Telescope have found a distant galaxy that is “feeding” on nearby gas clouds. The flow of gas into the galaxy, astronomers say, is generating star formation and driving the rotation of the galaxy. The new observations lend credence to the hypothesis that galaxies grow and form stars by drawing in nearby material. …

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NASA Shuts Down Galaxy Explorer Telescope

Just over ten years after its launch, NASA this afternoon decommissioned its Galaxy Evolution Explorer spacecraft. The satellite will no longer be used for science missions, but will remain in orbit for 65 years before burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. The GALEX telescope was launched in April 2003. Its primary, 29-month mission was to observe early-universe star formation in ultraviolet …

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NASA Launches IRIS to Study Sun’s Atmosphere

After being delayed for one day over a power outage at Vandenberg Air Force Base, NASA‘s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft was successfully launched on Thursday evening. The satellite will help researchers on Earth study the sun‘s lower atmosphere. “Congratulations to the entire team on the successful development and deployment of the IRIS mission,” said Gary Kushner, IRIS project …

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Three Planets Found in the Habitable Zone of Nearby Star

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) this week announced it has found six planets in the Gliese 667C system, and that three of those planets are located within the system’s habitable zone. The habitable zone of a system is the area around a star where liquid water can exist. With the presence of water also comes the possibility for life as …

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Herschel Telescope Given its Final Command

Over one month ago, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that the Herschel space observatory had run out of liquid helium coolant. The coolant was necessary to cool the telescope’s instruments to near absolute zero. As planned, the powerful infrared observatory quickly became useless as an astronomy tool. Today, the ESA announced that mission controllers have sent their the very …

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Herschel Telescope Runs Out of Coolant, Ends Mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) today announced that the Herschel space observatory has run out of liquid helium coolant. The coolant is necessary to cool the telescope’s instruments to near absolute zero. Herschel’s ground station in Western Australia this afternoon found that the temperature in all of the telescope’s instruments is rising, confirming that the helium has run out. The …

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