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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: May 2008
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SN 2008D
NASA's Swift catches a star going 'kaboom!'
(May 22, 2008)


Over the past 100 years, astronomers have observed thousands of stellar explosions known as supernova. But in every case, they were seeing the star after the explosion took place. Now, thanks to NASA's Swift satellite, astronomers have seen a star actually blow up.

Read more. Source: NASA/Swift

Jupiter's Little Red Spot
Storm winds blow in Jupiter's Little Red Spot
(May 22, 2008)


Using data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft and two telescopes at Earth, an international team of scientists has found that one of the solar system's largest and newest storms – Jupiter's Little Red Spot – has some of the highest wind speeds ever detected on any planet.

Read more. Source: NASA/APL

Hubble missing matter observations
Hubble survey finds missing matter
(May 21, 2008)


In the May 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, Charles Danforth and Mike Shull (University of Colorado) report on Hubble Space Telescope and Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) observations taken along sight-lines to 28 quasars. Their analysis represents the most detailed observations to date of how the intergalactic medium looks within about four billion light-years of Earth. The astronomers say they have definitively found about half of the missing normal matter, called baryons, in the space between the galaxies.

Read more. Source: Hubble newscenter

artist's impression of EV Lacertae
Pipsqueak star unleashes monster flare
(May 20, 2008)


On April 25, NASA's Swift satellite picked up a record-setting flare from a star known as EV Lacertae. This flare was thousands of times more powerful than the greatest observed solar flare. But because EV Lacertae is much farther from Earth than the sun, the flare did not appear as bright as a solar flare. Still, it was the brightest flare ever seen from a star other than the sun.

Read more. Source: NASA

black hole
How information escapes from a black hole
(May 19, 2008)


If a black hole eats a book, what happens to the information? The latest work from a team of physicists says that in the distant future, the black hole eventually spits out the book's full contents. Even a black hole can't destroy information.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

interstellar cloud
Cosmic dust gives water a helping hand
(May 18, 2008)


There's water, water, everywhere in the cosmos, but how it comes about in the interstellar clouds that give birth to stars, planets and even life is a bit of a mystery. The answer, it seems, may lie on the surface of frosty dust grains.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

A view of the north polar ice cap on Mars taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
NASA satellite finds interior of Mars is colder
(May 16, 2008)


New observations from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that the crust and upper mantle of Mars are stiffer and colder than previously thought. The findings suggest any liquid water that might exist below the planet's surface, and any possible organisms living in that water, would be located deeper than scientists had suspected.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Carbon monoxide gas in distant galaxies imprints its signature on light from an even more distant quasar as it propagates towards Earth. Image credit: ESO
A molecular thermometer for the distant universe
(May 16, 2008)


Astronomers have made use of ESO's Very Large Telescope to detect for the first time in the ultraviolet the carbon monoxide molecule in a galaxy located almost 11 billion light-years away, a feat that had remained elusive for 25 years. This detection allows them to obtain the most precise measurement of the cosmic temperature at such a remote epoch.

Read more. Source: ESO

G1.9+3.0. Image credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.); radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/Cambridge/D.Green et al.)
Discovery of most recent supernova in our Galaxy
(May 15, 2008)


The expanding remains of a supernova explosion in the Milky Way are shown in this composite image of the supernova remnant G1.9+0.3. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory image obtained in early 2007 is shown in orange and the radio image from NRAO's Very Large Array from 1985 is in blue. The difference in size between the two images allows the time since the original supernova explosion (about 140 years) to be estimated. This makes the explosion the youngest known supernova remnant in the Galaxy (140 years old), easily beating the previous record of about 330 years for Cassiopeia A.

Read more. Source: Chandra/Harvard/NASA

Arc-shaped troughs (arrows) extend hundreds of kilometres over the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. The features probably result from a shift in Europa's spin axis. Image credit: P Schenk/NASA/LPI
Jupiter moon's poles 'wandered' far and wide
(May 15, 2008)


The icy outer shell of Jupiter's moon Europa may have slipped about 80° within the last 60 million years, carrying the moon's polar regions towards its equator, a new study reports. The research bolsters the idea that a global ocean – which just might harbour life – lies hidden beneath the moon's icy surface.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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