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This artist's impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of Proxima itself. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface.
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Can 1 cosmic enigma help solve another?

Astrophysicists from the Johns Hopkins University have proposed a clever new way of shedding light on the mystery of dark matter, believed to make up most of the universe.

Cosmic neighbors inhibit star formation, even in the early-universe

Color images of the central regions of z > 1.35 SpARCS clusters. Cluster members are marked with white squares.The international University of California, Riverside-led SpARCS collaboration has discovered four of the most distant clusters of galaxies ever found, as they appeared when the universe was only 4...

Astronomers identify a young heavyweight star in the Milky Way

Artist's impression of the disc and outflow around the massive young star.Astronomers have identified a young star, located almost 11,000 light years away, which could help us understand how the most massive stars in the Universe are formed. This young star,...

A new Goldilocks for habitable planets

The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second "Goldilocks," according to a Yale University researcher.

Astronomy shown to be set in standing stone

The great stone circle, Stenness on the Isle of Orkney, is situated in a 'reverse' landscape. The project examined the alignments running from the center of circle through the stones on the circle's perimeter and the stone holes where stones formally stood (as revealed by excavation). This told us that the stone furthest to the right is oriented upon the last glimmer of a southern Moon occurring only every 18.6 years; the second stone is aligned towards the winter solstice sunset and the stone furthest to our left is aligned to the Moon as it sets into its most northern position every 18.6 years. These are astronomical events that could be seen 5000 years ago.University of Adelaide research has for the first time statistically proven that the earliest standing stone monuments of Britain, the great circles, were constructed specifically in line with the movements...

Brown dwarfs reveal exoplanets' secrets

Brown dwarfs are smaller than stars, but more massive than giant planets. As such, they provide a natural link between astronomy and planetary science. However, they also show incredible variation...

Ten trillionths of your suntan comes from beyond our galaxy

This is an infographic explaining the fact that 10 trillionths of a suntan comes from beyond our galaxy.Lie on the beach this summer and your body will be bombarded by about sextillion photons of light per second.

Much ado about nothing: Astronomers use empty space to study the universe

This simulation of the large-scale structure of the universe reveals the cosmic web of galaxies and the vast, empty regions known as voids.Researchers who are looking for new ways to probe the nature of gravity and dark energy in the universe have adopted a new strategy: looking at what's not there.

NASA climate modeling suggests Venus may have been habitable

Observations suggest Venus may have had water oceans in its distant past. A land-ocean pattern like that above was used in a climate model to show how storm clouds could have shielded ancient Venus from strong sunlight and made the planet habitable.Venus may have had a shallow liquid-water ocean and habitable surface temperatures for up to 2 billion years of its early history, according to computer modeling of the planet's ancient...

Stellar lab in Sagittarius

The small smattering of bright blue stars upper left of center in this huge 615 megapixel ESO image is the perfect cosmic laboratory in which to study the life and death of stars. Known as Messier 18 this open star cluster contains stars that formed together from the same massive cloud of gas and dust. This image was captured by the OmegaCAM camera attached to the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) located at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile.Messier 18 was discovered and catalogued in 1764 by Charles Messier -- for whom the Messier Objects are named -- during his search for comet-like objects [1]. It lies within...

ALMA finds unexpected trove of gas around larger stars

Artist impression of a debris disk surrounding a star in the Scorpius-Centaurus Association. ALMA discovered that -- contrary to expectations -- the more massive stars in this region retain considerable stores of carbon monoxide gas. This finding could offer new insights into the timeline for giant planet formation around young stars.Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) surveyed dozens of young stars -- some Sun-like and others approximately double that size -- and discovered that the larger variety have...

NASA's WISE, Fermi missions reveal a surprising blazar connection

An analysis of blazar properties observed by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Fermi's Large Area Telescope (LAT) reveal a correlation in emissions from the mid-infrared to gamma rays, an energy range spanning a factor of 10 billion. When plotted by gamma-ray and mid-infrared colors, confirmed Fermi blazars (gold dots) form a unique band not shared by other sources beyond our galaxy. A blue line marks the best fit of these values. The relationship allows astronomers to identify potential new gamma-ray blazars by studying WISE infrared data.Astronomers studying distant galaxies powered by monster black holes have uncovered an unexpected link between two very different wavelengths of the light they emit, the mid-infrared and gamma rays. The...

Fossilized rivers suggest warm, wet ancient Mars

Extensive systems of fossilised riverbeds have been discovered on an ancient region of the Martian surface, supporting the idea that the now cold and dry Red Planet had a warm...

NASA's Terra Satellite sees Tropical Storm Dianmu over Vietnam

On Aug. 19 at 3 a.m. EDT (07:00 UTC), NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible light image of Tropical Storm Dianmu over Vietnam.NASA's Terra satellite saw Tropical Storm Dianmu after making landfall in northeastern Vietnam.

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Venus-like exoplanet might have oxygen atmosphere, but not life

This artist's conception shows the rocky exoplanet GJ 1132b, located 39 light-years from Earth. New research shows that it might possess a thin, oxygen atmosphere - but no life due to its extreme heat.The distant planet GJ 1132b intrigued astronomers when it was discovered last year. Located just 39 light-years from Earth, it might have an atmosphere despite being baked to a temperature...

Nuclear puzzle may be clue to fifth force

A schematic description of the experimental anomaly that Tanedo and his colleagues have investigated. Excited beryllium-8 nuclei can decay into their ground state while emitting electron-positron pairs. The results of the experiment suggest the presence of a new force particle, here labelled as X.RIVERSIDE, Calif. (http://www.ucr.edu) -- In a new paper, University of California, Riverside theoretical physicist Flip Tanedo and his collaborators have made new progress towards unravelling...

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NASA's Van Allen probes catch rare glimpse of supercharged radiation belt

This is an artist concept of the Van Allen Probes.Our planet is nestled in the center of two immense, concentric doughnuts of powerful radiation: the Van Allen radiation belts, which harbor swarms of charged particles that are trapped by...

NASA's Fermi mission expands its search for dark matter

Top: Gamma rays (magenta lines) coming from a bright source like NGC 1275 in the Perseus galaxy cluster should form a particular type of spectrum (right). Bottom: Gamma rays convert into hypothetical axion-like particles (green dashes) and back again when they encounter magnetic fields (gray curves). The resulting gamma-ray spectrum ((lower curve at right) would show unusual steps and gaps not seen in Fermi data, which means a range of these particles cannot make up a portion of dark matter.Dark matter, the mysterious substance that constitutes most of the material universe, remains as elusive as ever. Although experiments on the ground and in space have yet to find a...

Hubble uncovers a galaxy pair coming in from the wilderness

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured the glow of new stars in these small, ancient galaxies, called Pisces A and Pisces B. The dwarf galaxies have lived in isolation for billions of years and are just now beginning to make stars.NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered two tiny dwarf galaxies that have wandered from a vast cosmic wilderness into a nearby "big city" packed with galaxies. After being quiescent for...

Methane-filled canyons line Titan's surface, study finds

A view of Titan's northern pole reveals many hydrocarbon lakes and seas. Titan is the only other celestial body, in addition to Earth, where erosion actively etches its surface.Liquid methane-filled canyons hundreds of meters deep with walls as steep as ski slopes etch the surface of Titan, researchers report in a new study. The new findings provide the...

Perseid meteors could see 'surge in activity' on Aug. 11-12

A Perseid shooting star near the Pleiades over Woodingdean, Sussex, on the early morning of Aug. 13, 2013.Friday 12 August sees the annual maximum of the Perseid meteor shower. This year, as well as the normal peak on the night of 12/13 August, meteor scientists are predicting...

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