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LGVN - Astronomy Archives

cosmos

Monthly and Breaking News from around the Galaxy ... and Beyond ...

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"DAWN OF TIME" STAR DISCOVERED

A multi-national team of astronomers say that they have discovered star that could date back to the beginning of the Universe.

Scientists have told the magazine Nature that they believe the star was created during the Big Bang, HE 0107-5240 is virtualy free of metals and could contain "pristine" gas.

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ATMOSPHERE DETECTED FOR THE FIRST TIME ON A PLANET OUTSIDE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

In what has been called a landmark in scientific achievement, a chemical and atmospheric analysis of a planet outside our own solar system has been accomplished for the first time.

The unnamed exoplanet, (a term now used for planet outside our own solar system) which is 220 bigger than our Earth, orbits a Sun-like star called HD 209458. It is 150 light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus. The observations were conducted using the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the first of many exoplanets likely to be analysed in the years to come using this new technique, whereby the gases of planet can be probed when it passes in front of its parent star. Astronomers can then observe the light from a star filtered through an exoplanet's gases. The type of light filtered through the gases indicates the kind of atmosphere of the planet. It is considered likely that planets with atmospheres similar to our Earth may well be discovered using this method.

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EARTH DANCING

The two lights - the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis - have been captured simultaneously for the first time on camera.

The amazing dancing light phenomena was taken by Nasa's Polar probe and shows the two - north and south Borealis - to be a mirror image of each other. The idea that the auroras are related in some way has long been suspected. Auroras happen when electrons and protons within the magnetic field around the Earth collide with the gases of the upper atmosphere. During magnetic storms the particles are grounded around both polar regions to create the spectacle. October to December are good times to catch the beautiful wispy curtains of coloured lights 4,023 km (2,500 mile) around each pole.

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PARALLEL SOLAR SYSTEM DISCOVERED IN URSA MAJOR.

Astronomers at the University of Berkeley recently detected two Jupiter size planets orbiting a star remarkably similar to our own sun.
The system orbiting star 47 Ursae Majoris in the constellation Ursa Major (also known as the Plough or Big Dipper) raises further proof that there could be thousands of solar systems within our own galaxy containing earth like planets.

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NEW MASSIVE ASTEROID FOUND IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

The largest asteroid yet to be discovered in our own Solar System has been confirmed by European Astronomers.

Circling our sun at an orbit close to Pluto, it is estimated to be more than 1200 kilometres across, which is around half the size of Pluto.
This find means that Ceres now drops to second place in the asteroid records book. The new found object, takes over the no1 spot as the Solar System's largest asteroid.

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SETI EXTEND METHODS IN THE SEARCH FOR E.T.

Seti (The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) are extending their methods in the search for life in the universe.

For many years Seti have used multi-million channel radio receivers to scan space. Now they are experimenting with latest optical methods to look for unusual light signals. This has only recently been made possible since the introduction of highly sensitive light detectors capable of picking out laser emissions from single astral bodies, with an error rate of about only one per year. This method works by detecting a signal deliberately targeted at Earth. So far they have examined about 300 individual star systems, as well as a few star clusters.

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WATER ON MARS LOOKS MORE LIKELY THAN EVER

In 2001 the Mars Global Surveyor returned image data that provided "observation evidence for near-surface water ice.

This finding, along with other evidence of recently flowing water on Mars could potentially make life on Mars more likely, providing a life sustaining resource for future colonists. It is estimated that there could be as much as 40,000 cubic km (almost 10,000 cubic miles) of frozen water at mid-latitudes in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Theoretically enough to cover the entire planet to a depth of about 25 centimetres (10 inches).

Vote for the GGL on planetary claims at veggieglobal.com

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WHEN UNIVERSES COLLIDE

In the sci-fi series Star Trek, transporter technology on Deep Space Nine now allows travel between an alternate universe.
Recently a new, "real-world" theory suggests the existence of a parallel universe called the Epkyotic Universe. Paul Steinhardt of Princeton suggests that membranes in 11th dimensional space flutter, and when two membranes collide they create galaxies. So far the theory has been recieved with enthusiasm and seems like a more stable explanation than the inflation theory (a quick fix idea as to what causes the even property behavior of our galaxies)

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WAS LIFE ON EARTH SEEDED BY COMETS?

A theory that the raw materials of life came from space has been given creedence by a group of scientists testing the effects of a comet's impact on Earth. They have shown that organic molecules (the ancestors of proteins and DNA) hitchhiking aboard a comet could have survived such an impact and seeded life. The results give rise to speculation that we may share a biological ancestry with life on other planets within our galaxy.

More Comet News

In 2001 the comet probe Deep Space One sent back the most detailed pictures yet of the nucleus of the 10-kilometre wide Comet Borrelly. The pictures show that comet nuclei are far more complex than ever imagined. They have rugged terrain, smooth rolling plains, deep fractures and dark material.

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EVEN CLOSER EARTH LIKE PLANETS FOUND... UPDATE

We previously reported on an international team of astronomers who announced the discovery of 11 planets orbiting other stars, including two solar systems.

All the planets found then were gas giants, up to ten times the mass of Jupiter. One these has a very Earth-like orbit and any large moons that orbit the planet could have the right amount of solar radiation to support Earth-like conditions.

Eight more planets orbiting distant stars were discovered over the last months of 2001, three of which were described as "cousin" like to planets in our own solar system.
In 2005, with over a hundred or so other planets now discovered in our galaxy, some have shown eccentric orbital behaviour which would be unlikely to support life, but some new planets show a remarkable similarity to Earth's concentric orbit around their own suns. These discoveries raise the highest speculation yet of distant celestial bodies elsewhere in space that might support life.

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SUPER MASSIVE BLACK HOLE IN CENTER OF OUR GALAXY

In 2000 a huge black hole was discovered in the center of our own galaxy, The Milky Way.

It is the first time that astronomers have been able to witness stars accelerating around a black hole of this magnitude. They are so far reporting three stars which have accelerated in excess of 250 thousand miles per hour per year as they orbit this huge phenomena the size of our own solar system. It was originally thought that only a few of the 125 billion known galaxy's contained super massive black holes.
It now appears that all galaxy's contain them and are in fact a fundamental part of a galaxy's creation and existence. It is suggested that black holes have feeding periods and dormant periods. During a feeding period they can absorb matter at a dramatically increased rate, swallowing up hundreds of stars and solar systems. The earth need not worry since this solar system lays near the edge of the Milky Way and 24,000 light years from the Black Hole in its center.

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STARS CHEMISTRY EVOLVES IN RELATION TO GALAXY TIMELINES

Ancient stars in our Galaxy show that elemental structures are different than in younger stars.

Through each generation various chemical differences effect the stars behavior and gives us major clues about the conditions and populations of stars that existed early in the Milky Way's history. Debra Burris of Oklahoma City Community College is the leading author of the paper says results tell us that the history of the galaxy is tied very closely to the ways that stars change from generation to generation. Co author of the paper Taft Armadroff of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson, AZ says that since it's extremely difficult to accurately age-date a star, the chemical signatures give an effective chronometer that we can use to probe the earliest epochs.

Co-author Catherine Pilachowski explains that Certain chemical elements don't form until the stars that make them have had time to evolve. Therefore, we can read the history of star formation in the compositions of the oldest stars." "We probably would not have found these trends if we did not have such a large sample" The research team have also developed an evocative timeline in relation to metal abudance and densities to explain their observations.

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CHANDRA X RAY OBSERVATORY STUDIES SIRIUS SYSTEM

Sirius is one of this solar systems closest neighbours at 8.6 light years away. In the northern hemisphere it is one the brightest stars observable with the naked eye. The Sirius system consists of two stars. Sirius B is the white dwarf and can be seen clearly from Earth. But the dimmer Sirius A is more than twice as massive as our own sun.

photo: NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory studies shows the bright Sirius B, a white dwarf star, and the dimmer Sirius A

 

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NEW SPIRAL GALAXY PICTURES

The first wide-field images taken by the University of Arizona/Smithsonian 6.5-meter MMTO telescope on Mount Hopkins, showed NGC 7479 in the constellation of Pegasus. It revealed spiraling arms of glowing gas containing newly forming stars

 

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TWO CONFLICTING STORIES ON "DARK MATTER"

1. The first look at 'dark matter' (R)*

First indirect looks at the ''dark matter'' that fills much of the universe has been observed by Astrophysicists. To peer at dark matter, researchers have measured distortions in light from about 145,000 distant galaxies. A new survey Large Synoptic Survey telescope (LSST) has been endorsed for construction which will scan the sky for dark matter.

2. Controvertial Theory Rejects the 'dark matter' hypothesis

A controversial theory has been published that rejects the cold dark matter hypothesis central to what most scientists believe about the composition of the Universe. University of Maryland astronomer Stacy McGaugh points to a universe that consists entirely of "ordinary" matter. His predictions lie in a little known alternative theory to dark matter called MOND, short for Modified Newtonian dynamics.

Looking-Glass comments: Such conflicting theories confirm that humankind should remain infinately open minded, and unbiased towards any far reaching scientific calculations. Our knowledge of the Universe will always be limited by our earthbound viewpoint and bound by the infinitesimally small time frame within which all humankind exists - and therefore our understanding of it. On a universal scale our cosmic projections are insignificant.... but pushing the bounderies of human percieved knowledge is what makes us, well ... human!

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