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COROT space telescope bags 10 more exoplanets
(Jun 15, 2011)

The total of known extrasolar planets has jumped to 561 with the announcement of a ten-planet haul by the French-led COROT space telescope. The new finds include one world orbiting an unusually young star, and two Neptune-sized planets accompanying the same star.

Read more. Source: BBC

Vesta imaged by Dawn in June 2011
Dawn captures early glimpse of Vesta
(Jun 13, 2011)

Asteroid Vesta is slowly coming into focus as the Dawn spacecraft approaches it prior to going into orbit around it in late July. The images being captured are already superior to the best obtained by the Hubble Spacecraft and by July 1 will have a resolution five times better. From orbit, Dawn will be able to see features as small as 20 meters across.

Read more. Source: BBC

Earth and Mars
What would happen if Earth and Mars swapped places?
(Jun 13, 2011)

A computer simulation suggests that the inner solar system would become a highly chaotic place if our world were to change places with the Red Planet. Mars and Earth would vary widely in their distance from the Sun, with Mars sometimes dipping inward to become the second planet, while Mercury would be bounced around like a ping pong ball. These calculations add to the emerging view that the present solar system exists on the edge of chaos.

Read more. Source: Scientific American

Hopes for Tevatron new particle evaporate
(Jun 10, 2011)

Last month it seemed that FermiLab's Tevatron accelerator might have made the physics breakthrough of the decade – a new subatomic particle that lay outside the Standard Model. But further analysis of the data has not been able to confirm the finding. The Tevatron – the closest rival to CERN's Large Hadron Collider – is scheduled close this fall.

Read more. Source: BBC

Voyager spacecraft
Voyagers ride turbulent magnetic sea
(Jun 10, 2011)

The twin Voyager spacecraft are passing through a region of magnetic turbulence at the frontier of interstellar space according to computer modeling of their data. Astronomers had expected the outer magnetic boundary of the Sun's domain to be more sedate, with field lines looping back to reconnect with the Sun. However, a picture is emerging of the solar wind breaking off into discrete bubbles many tens of millions of kilometers wide.

Read more. Source: BBC

Two supernovae discovered in 2009, known as PTF09atu (top right) and PTF09cnd (bottom right) are among a newfound class of very bright stellar explosions. The left frames show same regions of sky before the supernovae. Image: Caltech/Robert Quimby/Nature
New class of ultrabright supernovae
(Jun 9, 2011)

A new kind of extremely luminous supernova has been described by members of the Palomar Transient Factory. The first two such objects were discovered in 2009 (see accompanying images), and a further four have been found since. All are characterized by their unusual brightness, and an absence in their spectra of common supernova components such as hydrogen, iron and calcium.

Read more. Source: Scientific American

Solar flare imaged by Solar Dynamics Observer
Solar flare heading our way
(Jun 8, 2011)

A spectacular coronal mass ejection on June 7 sent a solar flare heading our way at a speed of 1,400 km/s. The flare, said to be of medium size, is likely to result in spectacular aurora and other space weather effects with the potential to cause some communications, navigation, and power-grid problems.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

Shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station
Unique image of shuttle docked with ISS
(Jun 8, 2011)

It's the image that all space buffs had been waiting to see: a space shuttle docked with the completed International Space Station. Safety procedures normally prevent a Soyuz capsule being in transit during a shuttle visit. But an exception on this occasion allowed Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli to take this incredible picture as his Soyuz transport ship was heading back to Earth on May 23.

Read more. Source: BBC

artist's concept of the Casimir effect
Photons coaxed out of the vacuum of empty space
(Jun 7, 2011)

In a dramatic demonstration of one of the strangest tenets of modern physics – that seemingly empty space is actually a writhing foam of "virtual" particles winking in and out of existence – Swedish researchers have managed to produce particles of light out of a pure vacuum. The experiment involves moving a mirror made from a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) at close to the speed of light.

Read more. Source: Nature

anti-hydrogen trap
Antimatter trapped for a record amount of time
(Jun 6, 2011)

Physicists at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland have succeeded in holding 300 atoms of anti-hydrogen in a special ultra-cold trap for about a quarter of hour – the longest that such a large amount of antimatter has been held in one place. This confinement ability will allow more detailed studies of the properties of antimatter and may help shed light on the puzzling asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the universe.

Read more. Source: BBC

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