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Last Build Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT


Hubble Rules Out One Alternative to Dark Energy

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have ruled out an alternate theory on the nature of dark energy after recalculating the expansion rate of the universe to unprecedented accuracy. The universe may be expanding at an increasing rate. Some think that is because the universe is filled with a dark energy that works in the opposite way of gravity. One alternative to that hypothesis is that an enormous bubble of relatively empty space eight billion light-years across surrounds our galactic neighborhood. If we lived near the center of this void, observations of galaxies being pushed away from each other at accelerating speeds would be an illusion........

"Coreshine" sheds light on the birth of stars

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) Stars are formed as the dense core regions of cosmic clouds of gas and dust ("molecular clouds") collapse under their own gravity. As a result, matter in these regions becomes ever denser and hotter until finally nuclear fusion is ignited: a star is born. This is how our own star, the Sun, came into being; the fusion processes are responsible for the Sun's light, on which life on Earth depends. The dust grains contained in the collapsing clouds are the raw material out of which an interesting by-product of star formation is made: solar systems and Earth-like planets........

Two Planets Transiting Same Star

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) NASA's Kepler Mission has discovered the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet transiting the same star. Today's announcement of the discovery of the two planets, Kepler 9b and 9c, is based on seven months of observations of more than 156,000 stars being monitored for subtle brightness changes as part of an ongoing search for Earth-like planets outside our solar system. Researchers designated the sun-like star Kepler-9........

Why are sunspots a source of radio emissions?

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) Why sunspots are a strong source of radio emissions and what information those emissions carry will be the focus of an invited talk by NJIT Research Professor Jeongwoo Lee tomorrow at the International Astronomical Union Symposium on the Physics of Sun and Star Spots in Ventura, CA. The event numbers among the top gatherings in the U.S. for people studying sunspots and related phenomena........

Software Helps Mars Rovers Find Winter Havens

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) New software is helping NASA find safe places for the Spirit rover to ride out future Martian winters -- and also plan where Spirit and its companion rover, Opportunity, will explore in the future. The steep Martian mesa dubbed "Von Braun" would be a safe haven, the software and data analysis determined -- but the path that Spirit would have to follow to get there is a little too risky to travel with winter on the way, explained Ron Li, professor of civil and environmental engineering and geodetic science at Ohio State University........

James Webb Space Telescope Testing

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) A model of the James Webb Space Telescope's Mid-InfraRed Instrument will be tested before Christmas at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, England to ensure the final instrument can see infrared light. Observing the universe in the infrared light portion of the spectrum is important because a number of objects researchers want to observe in space are far too cold to radiate at shorter wavelengths that can be seen as visible light, but they radiate strongly in infrared light........

NASA Views Southern California Fires and Winds

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) With a click of the mouse button, the public can see NASA views from space, including some at Google Earth, of Southern California's raging wildfires and the ferocious Santa Ana winds that are driving them. Images taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (Modis) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites are processed daily and made available by the JPL OnEarth Web Map Server, and at Google Earth. This effort is part of an ongoing collaboration with JPL, Google Earth, and NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., to make remote satellite imagery available to the public and decision makers. Latest Modis fire images at

Fifty Times sharper than Hubble

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) M87, the central galaxy of the Virgo cluster in a distance of only 50 million light years, was observed by Yuri Kovalev from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronony (MPIfR) in Bonn and colleagues with the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) at 2 cm wavelength. The resulting image provides details down to a resolution of one milli-arcsecond, corresponding to a linear resolution of only three light months. The new image of the inner radio jet of M87 shows a highly collimated jet which appears limb-brightened, and also a faint counter-jet. It is unprecedented in its combination of sensitivity and spatial resolution........

Satellite Data Can Warn Of Famine

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) A NASA researcher has developed a new method to anticipate food shortages brought on by drought. Molly Brown of NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and her colleagues created a model using data from satellite remote sensing of crop growth and food prices. Brown conceived the idea while working with organizations in Niger, West Africa, that provide information regarding failed crops and help address local farmers' worries about feeding their families. Brown's new approach could improve the ability for government and humanitarian aid officials to plan and respond to drought-induced food price increases in Niger and elsewhere........

First ALMA Transporter Ready to Go

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) The first of two spectacular vehicles for the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) Observatory rolled out of its hangar and passed successfully a series of tests. This vehicle, the ALMA antenna transporter, is a rather exceptional 'lorry' driving on 28 tyres. It is 10m wide, 20m long and 6m high, weighs 130 tons and has as much power as two Formula 1 engines. This colossus will be able to transport a 115-ton antenna and set it down on a concrete pad within millimetres of a prescribed position........

Stellar fireworks are ablaze in galaxy NGC 4449

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) Hundreds of thousands of vibrant blue and red stars are visible in this new image of galaxy NGC 4449 taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Hot bluish white clusters of massive stars are scattered throughout the galaxy, interspersed with numerous dustier reddish regions of current star formation. Massive dark clouds of gas and dust are silhouetted against the flaming starlight........

Case researchers may have solved

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) "Nothing there," is what Case Western Reserve University physicists concluded about black holes after spending a year working on complex formulas to calculate the formation of new black holes. In nearly 13 printed pages with a host of calculations, the research may solve the information loss paradox that haccording toplexed physicists for the past 40 years........

Cluster makes a shocking discovery

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) ESA's Cluster was in the right place and time to make a shocking discovery. The four spacecraft encountered a shock wave that kept breaking and reforming - predicted only in theory. On 24 January 2001, Cluster's spacecraft observed shock reformation in the Earth's magnetosphere, predicted only in theory, over 20 years ago. Cluster provided the first opportunity ever to observe such an event, the details of which have been published in a paper on 9 March this year........

Back to the Moon

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) Of the two luminaries that dominate our sky, it is the moon that is of particular interest to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project. The LRO will travel to the moon in late fall 2008, mapping the surface to help pave the way for humans to return. It will help prepare us for extended surface exploration on the moon and for subsequent missions to Mars and other distant destinations. Lunar surface exploration will help us to practice living, working, and gathering science data before we venture into riskier territory........

Nongreen Plants On Other Planets

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:35:43 GMT

(image) NASA scientists believe they have found a way to predict the color of plants on planets in other solar systems. Green, yellow or even red-dominant plants may live on extra-solar planets, according to scientists whose two scientific papers appear in the recent issue of the journal, Astrobiology. The scientists studied light absorbed and reflected by organisms on Earth, and determined that if astronomers were to look at the light given off by planets circling distant stars, they might predict that some planets have mostly non-green plants........