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<p>Artist’s impression depicting a compact object – either a black hole or a neutron star – feeding on gas from a companion star in a binary system.</p>

<p>Credit: ESA - C. Carreau</p>
Winds at 0.25c spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
Astronomers have observed two black holes in nearby galaxies devouring their companion stars at an extremely high rate, and spitting out matter at a quarter the speed of light.
<p>An image, taken by MESSENGER during its Mercury flyby on Jan. 14, 2008, of Mercury’s full crescent.</p>

<p>Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington</p>
Researchers Trace Mercury’s Origins To Rare Meteorite
Experiments show planet cooled dramatically in half a billion years.

<p>A backscattered electron image of the narrow opal rim surrounding a bright metallic mineral inclusion in meteorite found in Antarctica. The circular holes in this image are spots where laser analyses have been performed. Credit: H. Downes.</p>
Opal Discovered In Antarctic Meteorite
Planetary scientists have discovered pieces of opal in a meteorite found in Antarctica, a result that demonstrates that meteorites delivered water ice to asteroids early in the history of the solar system.
<p>Jupiter imaged using the VISIR instrument on the VLT<br />
In preparation for the imminent arrival of NASA’s Juno spacecraft in July 2016, astronomers used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to obtain spectacular new infrared images of Jupiter using the VISIR instrument. They are part of a campaign to create high-resolution maps of the giant planet to inform the work to be undertaken by Juno over the following months, helping astronomers to better understand the gas giant.<br />
<br />
This false-colour image was created by selecting and combining the best images obtained from many short VISIR exposures at a wavelength of 5 micrometres.<br />
<br />
Credit: ESO/L. Fletcher</p>
Glowing Jupiter Awaits Juno’s Arrival
Stunning new images of Jupiter at thermal infrared wavelengths give a glowing view of Juno’s target, a week ahead of the NASA mission’s arrival at the giant planet.


Pluto’s ‘heart’ renews itself
Like a cosmic lava lamp, a large section of Pluto’s icy surface is renewed by a process called convection that replace older ices with fresher material.
Supermassive Black Hole Feeding On Cold Gas Observed
For the first time, astronomers have detected billowy clouds of cold, clumpy gas streaming toward a black hole, at the center of a massive galaxy cluster.
Three New Element Names Proposed
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) opened a public comment period for the recommended names of elements 115, 117 and 118.

Science Facts

Starburst, No, Not The Candy

by Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center and ScienceIQ.com

M82, at a distance of 11 million light years, is a rare nearby starburst galaxy where stars are forming and expiring at a rate ten times higher than in our galaxy.: Image Courtesy (NASA/CXC/SAO/PSU/CMU) A starburst galaxy is a galaxy experiencing a period of intense star forming activity. Although this activity may last for ten million years or more, that is like a month in the life of a ten billion year old galaxy. During a starburst, stars can form at tens, even hundreds of times greater rates than the star formation rate in normal galaxies. Many of these newly formed stars are very massive and very bright, so starburst galaxies are among the most luminous galaxies.

The burst occurs over a region a few thousand light years in diameter. The most popular theory for the cause of a starburst is that it is triggered by a close encounter or collision with another galaxy. This collision sends shock waves rushing through the galaxy. These shock waves push on giant clouds of gas and dust, causing them to collapse and form a few hundred stars. The massive stars use up their fuel quickly and explode as supernovas, which produce more shock waves and more star formation. In this way, a chain reaction of star formation and supernovas can sweep through the central region of a galaxy, where most of the gas is located. When most of the gas is used up or blown away by the explosions, the starburst ends.

The infrared satellite IRAS discovered thousands of starburst galaxies. Many of the new stars remain surrounded by dust and gas for a million years. Their light is absorbed by the dust, which radiates away the heat as infrared radiation. The 'heat radiation' produced by hot sidewalks on a summer day is infrared radiation. Starburst galaxies are rare among nearby galaxies, but they were common many billions of years ago. The universe is expanding, so galaxies were much closer together in the past and collisions or close encounters were more frequent, causing more starbursts.



Right Ascension & Declination

Right Ascension (abbreviated R.A.) and Declination (abbreviated Dec) are a system of coordinates used by astronomers to keep track of where stars and galaxies are in the sky. They are similar to the s ...
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Reading The Colors of the Spectrum

Did you ever wonder how scientists can tell us so much about distant stars, for example, the surface temperature or chemical makeup of a star, light years away from Earth? Scientists can only use what ...
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A Chandra X-ray image of The Antennae revealing loops of hot gas spreading out into intergalactic space, huge multimillion degree clouds, and bright emissions from neutron stars and black holes. The image is color coded: low, medium and high energy X-rays are red, green and blue.
The Antennae

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has discovered rich deposits of neon, magnesium, and silicon in a pair of colliding galaxies known as The Antennae. The deposits are located in vast clouds of hot gas. ...
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Science Quote

'For the sake of persons of ... different types, scientific truth should be presented in different forms, and should be regarded as equally scientific, whether it appears in the robust form and the vivid coloring of a physical illustration, or in the tenuity and paleness of a symbolic expression.'

James Clerk Maxwell
(1831-1879)


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