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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2010
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Artists rendering of a symbiotic recurrent nova. Image credit: David A. Hardy & PPARC
Unprecedented eruption catches astronomers by surprise
(Mar 22, 2010)


An alert was raised March 11 when Japanese amateur astronomers announced what might have been the discovery of a new 8th magnitude nova in the constellation of Cygnus. It was soon realized that this eruption was not what it appeared to be. It was actually the unexpected nova-like eruption of a known variable star, V407 Cygni.

Read more. Source: Universe Today

Jupiter's new 'ring' appears as a diagonal streak in this composite of six images; the moon Himalia lies within the white circle. Image: LORRI
Moon marriage may have given Jupiter a ring
(Mar 21, 2010)


Jupiter may have a new ring that was created by a smash between moons. The possible ring appears as a faint streak near Jupiter's moon Himalia in an image taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. The telescopic camera aboard the Pluto-bound probe snapped the ring in September 2006 as the craft was closing in on Jupiter in the lead-up to a close encounter with the planet the following February.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider smashes energy record again
(Mar 20, 2010)


The Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest physics experiment, has broken its own particle beam energy record. On Friday morning, the machine created two beams of protons, each with an energy of 3.5 trillion electron volts. The effort breaks the prior record, set by the LHC in December, of just over a trillion electron volts in each beam.

Read more. Source: BBC

Invisibility cloak nanostructure
Invisibility cloak created in 3-D
(Mar 19, 2010)


Scientists have created the first device to render an object invisible in three dimensions. The "cloak", described in the journal Science, hid an object from detection using light of wavelengths close to those that are visible to humans. Previous devices have been able to hide objects from light travelling in only one direction; viewed from any other angle, the object would remain visible. See cloaking device.

Read more. Source: BBC

X-37b
Secret mini-shuttle could launch April 19
(Mar 19, 2010)


The X-37B orbital test vehicle is at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the word is that it will be launched by an Atlas V on April 19, 2010. Other than that, the Air Force isn't saying much about this mini-space shuttle look-alike. The reusable unmanned vehicle is capable of staying in orbit for 270 days and has a payload bay for experiments and deployable satellites.

Read more. Source: Universe Today

Artist's impression of a primitive supermassive black hole
NASA's Spitzer unearths primitive black holes
(Mar 18, 2010)


Astronomers have come across what appear to be two of the earliest and most primitive supermassive black holes known. The discovery, based largely on observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will provide a better understanding of the roots of our universe, and how the very first black holes, galaxies and stars came to be.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Artist's impression of CoRoT-9b
New exoplanet like 'one of ours'
(Mar 17, 2010)


It is 1,500 light-years from Earth but CoRoT-9b is the first temperate planet found known to be similar to those within our own Solar System. The presence of CoRoT-9b was detected by a space mission designed to find planets we cannot see from the ground. "It is the size of Jupiter and has an orbit similar to Mercury," said lead researcher Dr Hans Deeg.

Read more. Source: BBC

Map of cold dust in the Milky Way
Planck spies massive dust clouds
(Mar 17, 2010)


Europe's Planck observatory has given another brief glimpse of its work. The space telescope's main goal is to map the "oldest light" in the Universe, but this data is being kept under wraps until the surveying is complete. Instead, Planck scientists have released a snapshot of the colossal swathes of cold dust that spread through the Milky Way galaxy.

Read more. Source: BBC

Young stellar objects (circled) in the Milky Way
Spitzer detects the 'heartbeat' of star formation in the Milky Way
(Mar 17, 2010)


Astronomers have used the Spitzer Space Telescope to count young stellar objects (YSOs, circled) in the Milky Way and thereby calculate the rate of star formation in our galaxy. This turns out to be about solar mass per year – rather less than what had been previously thought.

Read more. Source: NASA/Caltech/Spitzer

Planets and asteroids around an orange dwarf star
Rogue star to hit the solar system
(Mar 16, 2010)


There is a high probability our solar system will feel the effect of a close encounter from a nearby star, according to a new study. The star, known as Gliese 710, could disrupt planetary orbits and send a shower of comets and asteroids towards the inner planets when it passes in 1.5 million years time.

Read more. Source: ABC Science Online

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