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  • Science Ticker

    RIP LADEE: 9/6/2013 – 4/18/2014

    Guest post by Christopher CrockettNASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, mission just ended with a literal bang. Having run out of fuel to safely maintain its orbit, LADEE was purposely steered into a slow, steady nosedive toward the...
    04/18/2014 - 14:43 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    White dwarf boosts light of stellar companion

    View the videoAstronomers have discovered a unique pair of stars consisting of a white dwarf, the compact core of a dead star, and the sunlike star it orbits. When the white dwarf passes in front of its companion, as seen from Earth, the white dwarf’s gravity magnifies the other star’s light. The pair represents the first clear sign of a gravitational lens in a binary star....
    04/18/2014 - 12:06 Astronomy
  • News

    Earth-sized planet found in star’s habitable zone

    Earth, meet your distant cousin. The Kepler space telescope has turned up a potentially water-bearing world nearly as small as our planet. The planet is the smallest one found in any star’s habitable zone, a temperate region surrounding a star that is suitable for liquid water.Elisa Quintana, an astronomer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and colleagues discovered the...
    04/17/2014 - 14:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Saturn may be getting a new moon

    An icy object within Saturn's rings may be a new moon in the making.Images taken April 15, 2013, with NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured an arc at the edge of the planet's rings that appeared 20 percent brighter than everything around it. The arc, along with protusions in the rings' usually smooth edge, suggest that...
    04/15/2014 - 14:36 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • News

    Early Mars couldn't hold liquid water long

    Ancient Mars may have resembled Antarctica (but without penguins). The frozen Red Planet probably had liquid water on its surface for only relatively short times, according to a new analysis of craters on the surface. The finding that the Martian atmosphere was not dense enough to keep flowing water for more than a few hundred thousand years at a time adds to a growing pile of evidence that Mars...
    04/13/2014 - 13:05 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Exotic particle packs a foursome of quarks

    The rediscovery of an exotic particle provides the best evidence yet that quartets of quarks exist in a universe dominated by two- and three-quark matter.By validating the particle’s existence, says lead author Tomasz Skwarnicki, a physicist at Syracuse University in New York, “we are automatically proving that four-quark states exist.”Quarks, one of the fundamental constituents of matter, never...
    04/11/2014 - 15:37 Particle Physics
  • News in Brief

    Galaxy’s gamma-ray glow may expose dark matter

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — An unexpectedly bright glow of gamma rays at the center of the Milky Way may be the signature of suicidal dark matter, according to a new analysis of observations by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope that were reported April 6 at a meeting of the American Physical Society.Dark matter dominates the mass of galaxies, including our own, but its composition...
    04/11/2014 - 07:26 Cosmology, Astronomy, Particle Physics
  • News

    Neutrinos from space rain down from all directions

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — High-energy neutrinos from as far as the edge of the observable universe are pelting Earth from all directions, researchers announced April 7 at a meeting of the American Physical Society. The conclusion is based on a new analysis of data from IceCube, the...
    04/10/2014 - 10:56 Astronomy, Cosmology, Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Speed of early universe’s expansion determined

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Ask an astronomer how fast the universe is currently expanding and you’ll get a fuzzy answer (SN: 4/5/14, p. 18). But thanks to a measurement with unprecedented precision, astronomers can now confidently cite the speed of cosmic expansion that was occurring nearly 11 billion years ago....
    04/09/2014 - 10:01 Cosmology, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Diamond ring shape formed by dead and living stars

    A chance alignment of stars has created a diamond ring–like image.Abell 33 is the ghostly remnant of a dead star, a planetary nebula about 3 light-years across and 2,500 light-years from Earth in the Hydra constellation. Like other old stars, Abell 33 inflated to many times its original size. As powerful stellar winds overtook gravity’s inward pull, the bulk of the star blew gently into space and...
    04/09/2014 - 06:00 Astronomy