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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: November 2010
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comet Hartley
NASA probe flew by 'snow globe' comet
(Nov 19, 2010)

Analysis of the data gathered by NASA's Deep Impact probe at Comet Hartley reveals the object is surrounded by a huge cloud of fluffy ice particles. The space mission's chief scientist Mike A'Hearn told reporters some of these "snowballs" were very large. "We think the biggest ones are at least the size of a golf-ball and possibly up to the size of a basketball," he said.

Read more. Source: BBC

HIP 13044b
Planet from another galaxy found circling dying star
(Nov 18, 2010)

Astronomers claim to have discovered the first planet originating from outside our galaxy. The Jupiter-like planet, they say, is part of a solar system which once belonged to a dwarf galaxy. This dwarf galaxy was in turn devoured by our own galaxy, the Milky Way, according to a team writing in the journal Science.

Read more. Source: BBC

ALPHA experiment at CERN
Antimatter atom trapped for first time, say scientists
(Nov 18, 2010)

Antimatter atoms have been trapped for the first time, scientists say. Researchers at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider, have held 38 antihydrogen atoms in place, each for a fraction of a second. Antihydrogen has been produced before but it was instantly destroyed when it encountered normal matter.

Read more. Source: BBC

SN 1979C
NASA's Chandra finds youngest nearby black hole
(Nov 16, 2010)

US astronomers are confident an object studied for 30 years in the M100 galaxy is a black hole. If so, it would be the youngest, relatively nearby such object to Earth. It is still a long way off in human terms – more than 470 million, million, million km. But given the size of the cosmos, that is effectively just like our back yard, says the NASA team.

Read more. Source: NASA/Chandra/Harvard

asteroid Itokawa
Shedding 'bent' light on dark matter
(Nov 16, 2010)

Japanese scientists have confirmed that particles found inside the Hayabusa probe after its seven-year space trip are from the asteroid Itokawa. A statement from the country's space agency said microscopic analysis of 1,500 grains retrieved from the craft's sample canister proved they were of extraterrestrial origin. The announcement represents a huge triumph for Japan.

Read more. Source: BBC

One of the most detailed maps of dark matter in our universe ever created. The location of the dark matter (tinted blue) was inferred through observations of magnified and distorted distant galaxies seen in this picture. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, University of Basque Country/JHU
Shedding 'bent' light on dark matter
(Nov 15, 2010)

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope took advantage of a giant cosmic magnifying glass to create one of the sharpest and most detailed maps of dark matter in the universe. They charted the invisible matter in the massive galaxy cluster Abell 1689, located 2.2 billion light-years away.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Earth's pull 'shaped Moon's surface'
(Nov 14, 2010)

The Earth may have played a major role in shaping the lunar surface, according to a new research study by US researchers. The team members say our planet's gravitational pull distorted the shape of the Moon in ancient times. This led to "bulging" at the equator and could explain why the far side is more elevated than the near side of the Moon even today.

Read more. Source: BBC

James Webb Space Telescope
Costs of NASA JWST to replace Hubble telescope balloon
(Nov 12, 2010)

The scale of the delay and cost overrun blighting NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has been laid bare by a panel called in to review the project. The group believes the final budget for Hubble's successor is likely to climb to at least $6.5bn, for a launch that is possible in September 2015. But even this assessment is optimistic, say the panel members.

Read more. Source: BBC

WISEPC J045853.90+643451.9
Cool star, hot find
(Nov 11, 2010)

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has eyed its first cool brown dwarf: a tiny, ultra-cold star floating all alone in space. The object, which appears in green in the center of the image, is estimated to be 18 to 30 light-years away and is one of the coolest brown dwarfs known, with a temperature of about 600 kelvin (620°F).

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

SDP 81
New method reveals gravitationally lensed galaxies in Herschel-ATLAS first survey
(Nov 9, 2010)

Astronomers using early data from one of the largest projects to be undertaken with the ESA Herschel Space Observatory have demonstrated that virtually all bright sub-millimeter galaxies in the distant Universe are subject to gravitational lensing, which amplifies their flux thus easing their detection and characterisation.

Read more. Source: ESA / Herschel Space Observatory

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