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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: September 2007
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moray eel pharyngeal jaws
Eels imitate Alien
(Sep 6, 2007)


Researchers studying one species of moray eels have uncovered a deadly secret that helps the snake-like fish to swallow their prey. Like the fearsome extraterrestrial from the sci-fi horror classic Alien, these real-life beasts have a second, extendable pair of jaws – encrusted with sharp teeth – that thrusts forward to ensnare hapless fish and shrimp.

Read more. Source: Nature

A 10-kilometer asteroid, produced when a 170-kilometer 'mother rock' broke apart during a collision, is thought to have hit Earth, killing off the dinosaurs. Credit: SWRI
Discovered: The asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs
(Sep 5, 2007)


The impactor believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago has been traced back to a breakup event in the main asteroid belt. A joint U.S.-Czech team from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Charles University in Prague suggests that the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina disrupted when it was hit by another large asteroid, creating numerous fragments that would later create the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the prominent Tycho crater found on the Moon.

Read more. Source: Southwestern Research Institute

Proposed Virgin Galactic terminal
New Mexico spaceport design is 'out of this world'
(Sep 5, 2007)


The world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport will be a "green" building rising out of the desert of New Mexico, according to plans made public on Tuesday. The designers of Spaceport America opted for a "low-lying, organic shape" that they say will blend into the surrounding landscape while conveying "the thrill of space travel".

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Voyager
Voyager probes celebrate 30 years
(Sep 5, 2007)


NASA's venerable Voyager mission is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Its two probes were launched within weeks of each other in 1977 to make a detailed study of the outer planets. The probes were then sent on trajectories that will eventually take them out of the Solar System and into interstellar space. Three decades on, they continue to return data from distances more than three times farther away than Pluto.

Read more. Source: BBC

A gas-rich galaxy collides with a giant galaxy, producing a quasar. Credit: Computer simulation by Joshua Barnes, University of Hawaii
Black holes in feeding frenzy
(Sep 5, 2007)


Two University of Hawaii astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope believe they have identified what makes at least some quasars shine: the black hole at the center of a massive galaxy with little gas of its own is gobbling up material from a colliding gas-rich galaxy.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now / Univ. of Hawaii

Pan STARRS four-telescope array
World's biggest digital camera to join asteroid search
(Sep 4, 2007)


The world's largest digital camera has been installed on a new telescope designed to hunt for potentially dangerous asteroids. The camera was installed on the PS1 telescope in Maui, Hawaii, the first of four telescopes being built as part of a project called the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS).

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Cat's Eye Nebula
'Clearest' images taken of space
(Sep 3, 2007)


A team of astronomers from the US and the UK has obtained some of the clearest pictures of space ever taken. They were acquired using a new adaptive optics system which sharpens pictures taken from the Mount Palomar Observatory in California. The images are twice as sharp as those from Hubble Space Telescope.

Read more. Source: BBC

theoretically modeled distribution of matter in the universe
'Swiss cheese' universe challenges dark energy
(Sep 1, 2007)


Dark energy may not be needed to explain why the expansion of space appears to be speeding up. If our universe is like Swiss cheese on large scales – with dense regions of matter and holes with little or no matter – it could at least partly mimic the effects of dark energy, suggests a controversial new model of the universe.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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