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Ontario Lacus
Ontario Lacus, Titan: Your vacation guide
(Jul 16, 2010)

Ontario Lacus, the largest lake in the southern hemisphere of Saturn's moon Titan, turns out to be a perfect exotic vacation spot, provided you can handle the subzero temperatures, and enjoy soaking in liquid hydrocarbon. Several recent papers by scientists working with NASA's Cassini spacecraft describe evidence of beaches for sunbathing in Titan's low light, sheltered bays for mooring boats, and pretty deltas for wading out in the shallows.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

IRAS 13481-6124
Dust disk found around massive star
(Jul 16, 2010)

Astronomers have obtained the first image of a dusty disk closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars form in the same way as their smaller brethren. The discovery was made thanks to a combination of telescopes at the European Southern Observatory. The object concerned, called IRAS 13481-6124, has about 20 times the mass of the Sun and five times its radius, and is still surrounded by its pre-natal cocoon. It lies in the constellation Centaurus, about 10,000 light-years away.

Read more. Source: ESO

Heart of darkness could explain sun mysteries
(Jul 15, 2010)

Is dark matter lurking at the center of our bright sun? Yes, say two research groups who believe the elusive stuff is cooling the solar core. The insight doesn't significantly affect the sun's overall temperature. Rather, a core chilled by dark matter would help explain the way heat is distributed and transported within the sun, a process that is poorly understood.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

WASP-3. Image credit: Mugrauer, MAaciejewski, Ratz, (Uni Jena)
Does an exoplanet's orbital oddity reveal a neighboring world?
(Jul 14, 2010)

An international team of researchers has used a method called transit timing of a known massive exoplanet to identify a hypothetical, much smaller companion. If the new planet is confirmed, it would be the first to be located by variations in transit timing. The researchers timed the transits of WASP 3b, a massive planet discovered in 2007 that orbits a star larger than the sun some 700 light-years away.

Read more. Source: Scientific American

Juno armored up to go to Jupiter
(Jul 13, 2010)

NASA's Juno spacecraft will be forging ahead into a treacherous environment at Jupiter with more radiation than any other place NASA has ever sent a spacecraft, except the sun. In a specially filtered cleanroom in Denver, where Juno is being assembled, engineers recently added a unique protective shield around its sensitive electronics.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Earth younger than previously thought, say scientists
(Jul 12, 2010)

A new geological study has set a more accurate age for the Earth, according to scientists. Researchers say their investigation shows the Earth is 70 million years younger than the 4.537 billion-year-old planet "we had previously imagined". To confirm Earth's age, the team compared elements in its mantle to those in meteorites that are the same age as the Solar System.

Read more. Source: BBC

Close-up photo of Lutetia
Rosetta successfully flies by Lutetia
(Jul 10, 2010)

Europe's Rosetta space probe has flown past the Asteroid Lutetia, returning a stream of scientific data for analysis. The rock – some 120km (75 miles) in its longest dimension – is the biggest asteroid yet visited by a satellite. Pictures showed Lutetia to be quite irregular in shape, its surface marked by a number of wide impact craters and even some intriguing grooves.

Read more. Source: BBC

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