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Atom & Cosmos

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illustration of newly officially named stars

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Names of eight stars in the constellation Orion, plus one (Cursa) in Eridanus, are among the 227 now officially sanctioned by the International Astronomical Union.

supernovas

PUFF BALLS  Supernovas can stretch out compact galaxies and turn them into ghostly systems (two illustrated here) that are low on stars but as wide as the Milky Way.

Sputnik Planitia

FEELING DOWN  A basin on Pluto named Sputnik Planitia (at right in this image from New Horizons) might be a depression formed by the weight of a massive ice cap, a new study suggests.

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