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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: September 2007
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Scientist reworks star distances Sep 30, 2007
Next-generation ion engine sets new thrust record Sep 30, 2007
Successful launch for NASA probe Sep 28, 2007
Seeking objects 'weirder than black holes' Sep 27, 2007
Odd object blurs line between comets and asteroids Sep 26, 2007
Orphan stars found in long galaxy tail Sep 26, 2007
'Sci-fi' model worlds aid planet classification Sep 25, 2007
Space creates mutant 'superbugs' Sep 24, 2007
NASA resurrects cancelled black hole mission Sep 23, 2007
'Starquake' reveals star's powerful magnetic field Sep 22, 2007
Lava may have buried signs of Mars water Sep 21, 2007
A warm south pole? Yes, on Neptune! Sep 20, 2007
Did the big bang spawn trillions of black holes? Sep 19, 2007
Scores ill in Peru 'meteor crash' Sep 18, 2007
Milky Way keeps a light grip on speedy neighbours Sep 17, 2007
Must-see pictures of Saturn's moon Iapetus from Cassini Sep 16, 2007
Dark matter and inflation – one and the same? Sep 15, 2007
Warm dark matter solves mystery of giant black holes Sep 14, 2007
Japan launches first lunar probe Sep 14, 2007
Google backs private Moon landing Sep 14, 2007
Bizarre Saturn moon mottled like a Dalmatian Sep 13, 2007
Mirror particles form new matter Sep 13, 2007
Planet survives close call with searing red giant Sep 13, 2007
Cassini flies by walnut-shaped moon Iapetus Sep 12, 2007
Mars rover dips over crater edge Sep 12, 2007
Can string theory accommodate inflation? Sep 12, 2007
Did our galaxy's black hole eat its baby brother? Sep 11, 2007
Cassini's closest visit of Iapetus Sep 10, 2007
"Lego-block" galaxies in early universe Sep 9, 2007
Saturn's dizzying spin hints at quick birth Sep 7, 2007
Eels imitate Alien Sep 6, 2007
Discovered: The asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs Sep 5, 2007
New Mexico spaceport design is 'out of this world' Sep 5, 2007
Voyager probes celebrate 30 years Sep 5, 2007
Black holes in feeding frenzy Sep 5, 2007
World's biggest digital camera to join asteroid search Sep 4, 2007
'Clearest' images taken of space Sep 3, 2007
'Swiss cheese' universe challenges dark energy Sep 1, 2007


Hipparcos
Scientist reworks star distances
(Sep 30, 2007)


The most accurate catalogue of the distances to more than 100,000 stars has just been released. Cambridge astronomer Dr Floor van Leeuwen has spent the past 10 years checking and recalculating data gathered by the Hipparcos satellite.

Read more. Source: BBC

NEXT ion engine
Next-generation ion engine sets new thrust record
(Sep 30, 2007)


An ion engine has smashed the record for total thrust in a NASA test. The successful test means the engine could be used in future NASA missions. Ion engines work by accelerating electrically charged atoms, or ions, through an electric field, thereby pushing the spacecraft in the opposite direction.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Dawn
Successful launch for NASA probe
(Sep 28, 2007)


NASA's Dawn space probe has begun an eight-year journey to the Solar System's asteroid belt. The US spacecraft, which will visit the small worlds of Ceres and Vesta, blasted-off at 1134 GMT (1234 BST) from the Cape Canaveral Airforce Station.

Read more. Source: BBC

black hole
Seeking objects 'weirder than black holes'
(Sep 27, 2007)


Researchers from Duke University and the University of Cambridge think there is a way to determine whether some black holes are not actually black. Finding such an unmasked form of what physicists term a singularity "would shock the foundation of general relativity," said Arlie Petters, a Duke professor of mathematics and physics who worked with Marcus Werner, Cambridge graduate student in astrophysics, on a report posted online Monday, Sept. 24, for the research journal Physical Review D.

Read more. Source: Duke University

P/2007 R5
Odd object blurs line between comets and asteroids
(Sep 26, 2007)


An odd object seen repeatedly plunging close to the Sun is likely a comet masquerading as an asteroid, scientists say. The object, called P/2007 R5, was first spotted passing near the Sun in 1999 and was seen again in 2003 by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

ESO 137-001
Orphan stars found in long galaxy tail
(Sep 26, 2007)


Astronomers have found evidence that stars have been forming in a long tail of gas that extends well outside its parent galaxy. This discovery suggests that such "orphan" stars may be much more prevalent than previously thought. The comet-like tail was observed in X-ray light with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and in optical light with the Southern Astrophysical Research telescope in Chile. The feature extends for more than 200,000 light years and was created as gas was stripped from a galaxy called ESO 137-001 that is plunging toward the center of Abell 3627, a giant cluster of galaxies.

Read more. Source: NASA/Harvard

proposed planetary classification scheme
'Sci-fi' model worlds aid planet classification
(Sep 25, 2007)


Scientists have worked out the properties of a variety of weird planet types that they say could circle alien suns, including worlds of graphite and globes of carbon monoxide. The models should help astronomers identify the properties of exoplanets discovered in the future.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Salmonella typhimurium
Space creates mutant 'superbugs'
(Sep 24, 2007)


Bacteria flown on the space shuttle mutated in ways that made them nearly three times more deadly to mice, reports a new study. While the bugs are also likely to affect astronauts' health, the research team found clues that may help render them harmless. Astrobiologists have long been worried that the low-gravity conditions of space could make disease-causing microbes that hitch-hike on shuttle missions mutate in unpredictable ways.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

NuSTAR
NASA resurrects cancelled black hole mission
(Sep 23, 2007)


NASA has revived a mission to study black holes after cancelling it in 2006 due to budget constraints. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), now scheduled for launch in 2011, will observe the cosmos in the poorly studied high-energy X-ray band. It is part of NASA's Small Explorer class of missions, which have a cost cap of $105 million, not including launch costs.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Magnetic field of a neutron star. Image: NASA
'Starquake' reveals star's powerful magnetic field
(Sep 22, 2007)


Some neutron stars have such powerful magnetic fields that they rip themselves open due to magnetic forces, a new study confirms. A neutron star is the dense core left behind when a massive star explodes as a supernova. Made of subatomic particles called neutrons, the stars are so dense that a teaspoonful of their material would weigh 500 million tonnes.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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