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Atom & Cosmos

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SN 2011fe

In August of 2011, researchers discovered SN 2011fe, a type 1a supernova 21 million light-years away in galaxy M101 (images show the galaxy before and after the supernova, with the supernova circled at right). Studies using type 1a supernovas as “standard candles” to measure how fast the universe expands (the Hubble constant) produce a result in conflict with other data used to infer the cosmic growth rate.

illustration of SEXTANT

SPACE PLACE  NASA’s SEXTANT experiment demonstrated a stellar version of GPS, finding the experiment’s location with an apparatus consisting of 52 X-ray telescopes (illustrated) on the International Space Station.

dead stars illustration

TRIPLE THREAT  A threesome of dead stars has allowed a new test of a tenet of Einstein’s theory of gravity. The trio includes a pulsar (illustrated, with bands of electromagnetic radiation in blue) in orbit with a nearby white dwarf. A second white dwarf orbits farther afield (red, upper right).

Atom & Cosmos

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