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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: January 2009
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Is there a Planet X? Jan 31, 2009
Cassini finds hydrocarbon rains may fill Titan lakes Jan 30, 2009
Distant planet's roasting orbit Jan 29, 2009
Transit search finds super-Neptune Jan 28, 2009
Astronauts on International Space Station lose alarming amounts of hipbone strength Jan 27, 2009
Spinning black holes are ultimate cosmic batteries Jan 26, 2009
Frantic activity revealed in dusty stellar factories Jan 26, 2009
Atom takes a quantum leap Jan 24, 2009
Hubble snaps images of a nebula within a cluster Jan 23, 2009
Outer planets choice is narrowed Jan 22, 2009
Virgin unveils spaceship designs Jan 22, 2009
Do naked singularities break the rules of physics? Jan 22, 2009
Astronomers crack longstanding lunar mystery Jan 21, 2009
Were Mercury and Mars separated at birth? Jan 20, 2009
Smallest known planet may actually be Earth-mass Jan 19, 2009
NASA radar provides first look inside Moon's shadowed craters Jan 18, 2009
Did dark energy give us our cosmos? Jan 17, 2009
Dust around a primitive star sheds light on universe's origins Jan 16, 2009
New light on Mars methane mystery Jan 15, 2009
Glow of 'hot Jupiters' spotted from Earth for first time Jan 15, 2009
XMM-Newton measures speedy spin of rare celestial object Jan 15, 2009
Europe expects busy year in space Jan 15, 2009
Venus may have had continents and oceans Jan 14, 2009
How to spot moons far, far away Jan 13, 2009
Obama team to raise questions over Ares rocket Jan 13, 2009
Major solar storm could cause lasting damage Jan 12, 2009
SLIcing for aliens in the Arctic Jan 12, 2009
White dwarfs may hide a dark secret Jan 10, 2009
What has been moving rocks on Mars? Jan 9, 2009
UFO puzzle: it was the Guardian wot done it Jan 9, 2009
Mystery radio signal could be from universe's first stars Jan 9, 2009
Hubble finds clutch of new runaway stars Jan 8, 2009
Black holes 'preceded galaxies' Jan 7, 2009
Supernova's ghost caught expanding in new video Jan 7, 2009
Fermi Telescope unveils a dozen new pulsars Jan 7, 2009
Space 'firefly' resembles no known object Jan 7, 2009
Brown dwarfs don't hang out with stars Jan 7, 2009
Yellowstone quakes raise explosion fears Jan 7, 2009
Gamma-ray burst offers first peek at a young galaxy's star factory Jan 7, 2009
Galactic collision will happen sooner than scientists thought Jan 6, 2009
Dead stars tell story of planet birth Jan 6, 2009
Baby Jupiters must gain weight fast Jan 6, 2009
Hubble views galactic core in unprecedented new detail Jan 5, 2009
Getting into space by broomstick Jan 5, 2009
Desktop atom smashers could replace LHC Jan 5, 2009
Galaxies' collision history revealed Jan 5, 2009
Diamond clues to beasts' demise Jan 3, 2009
Mystery stone circles may point to water on Mars Jan 3, 2009

artist's impression of a Kuiper Belt object. Image: T. Pyle (SSC) / JPL-Caltech / NASA
Is there a Planet X?
(Jan 31, 2009)

If we know enough to say the solar system is a filigree construction, we might reasonably assume we know where all its bits are. But lurking in the solar system's dark recesses, rumour has it, is an unsighted world – Planet X, a frozen body perhaps as large as Mars, or even Earth.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

changing appearance of a lake on Titan. Image: NASA
Cassini finds hydrocarbon rains may fill Titan lakes
(Jan 30, 2009)
Recent images of Titan from NASA's Cassini spacecraft affirm the presence of lakes of liquid hydrocarbons by capturing changes in the lakes brought on by rainfall. An analysis published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters of recent pictures of Titan's south polar region reveals new lake features not seen in images of the same region taken a year earlier.

Read more. Source: CICLOPS

HD 80606b simulation of atmospheric behavior
Distant planet's roasting orbit
(Jan 29, 2009)

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has observed a far-off planet that experiences wild temperature swings. The gas giant has an elongated orbit that sweeps it to within a few million km of its star, before taking it back out to more than 115 million km. Spitzer saw the planet's atmosphere heat up from 530°C to 1,230°C in a matter of hours as it passed behind and close to its star.

Read more. Source: BBC

HAT-P-11b. Image: David A. Aguilar (CfA)
Transit search finds super-Neptune
(Jan 28, 2009)

Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered a planet somewhat larger and more massive than Neptune orbiting a star 120 light-years from Earth. While Neptune has a diameter 3.8 times that of Earth and a mass 17 times Earth's, the new world (named HAT-P-11b) is 4.7 times the size of Earth and has 25 Earth masses.

Read more. Source: Center for Astrophysics, Harvard

Exercising aboard the International Space Station. Image: NASA
Astronauts on International Space Station lose alarming amounts of hipbone strength
(Jan 27, 2009)

Astronauts spending months in space lose significant bone strength, making them increasingly at risk for fractures later in life. UC Irvine and UC San Francisco led a study evaluating 13 astronauts who spent four to six months on the International Space Station and found that, on average, astronauts’ hipbone strength decreased 14 percent. Three astronauts experienced losses of 20 percent to 30 percent, rates comparable to those seen in older women with osteoporosis.

Read more. Source: University of California at Irvine

The MS0735.6+7421 galaxy has given up some of the strongest evidence for jets powered by spinning black holes. Image: NASA/ESA/CXC/STSCI/NRAO)
Spinning black holes are ultimate cosmic batteries
(Jan 26, 2009)

You wouldn't want to be nearby when a spinning black hole lets rip. It now seems they can store and unleash the energy of billions of supernovae, with potentially devastating consequences for their host galaxies.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

NGC 253. Image: ESO
Frantic activity revealed in dusty stellar factories
(Jan 26, 2009)

Thanks to the Very Large Telescope's acute and powerful near-infrared eye, astronomers have uncovered a host of new young, massive and dusty stellar nurseries in nearby galaxy NGC 253. The center of this galaxy appears to harbor a twin of our own Milky Way's supermassive black hole. Astronomers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain) used NACO, a sharp-eyed adaptive optics instrument on ESO's VLT, to study the fine detail in NGC 253, one of the brightest and dustiest spiral galaxies in the sky.

Read more. Source: ESO

ytterbium atomic clock. Image: NIST
Atom takes a quantum leap
(Jan 24, 2009)

Researchers have teleported a single ion of the element ytterbium over a metre in distance, shattering previous records. Photons have gone further but teleportation of matter has only occurred between ions in the same trap over a few micrometers.

Read more. Source: Nature

NGC 2818 and NGC 2818A. Image: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Hubble snaps images of a nebula within a cluster
(Jan 23, 2009)

The unique planetary nebula NGC 2818 is nested inside the open star cluster NGC 2818A. Both the cluster and the nebula reside over 10,000 light-years away, in the southern constellation Pyxis (the Compass).

Read more. Source: STScI

Possible future mission to Titan involving a ballonn-borne probe. Image: NASA/ESA
Outer planets choice is narrowed
(Jan 22, 2009)

Ambitious plans to send probes to the outer planets are being considered by US and European space officials. One proposal envisages sending an orbiter to Saturn which would also drop a lander and a balloon on to the haze-shrouded moon Titan. The other sees two separate orbiters despatched to investigate Jupiter and its icy moons – Europa and Ganymede.

Read more. Source: BBC

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