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The Moon not such a rarity afterall?
(Jun 5, 2011)

Earth's Moon is very large compared with the size of our planet – a situation that scientists have always considered an oddity. Such outsized natural satellites it was considered would probably be very unusual in the cosmos. However, new research, using computer simulations, suggests that the kind of massive impacts which resulted in the formation of the Moon might happen in about 1 in 10 cases of rocky planets goimg around Sun-like stars.

Read more. Source: BBC

NGC 6744
A galaxy like our own, 30 million light-years away
(Jun 4, 2011)

Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory have captured one of the best images yet of a galaxy very similar to the Milky Way. In fact, this picture of NGC 6744, one of the nearest large spirals, is very much what our own galaxy would look like seen from afar. The only major difference is size: NGC 6744 has a diameter roughly double that of the galaxy in which we live.

Read more. Source: European Southern Observatory

double-slit diffraction pattern
How to side-step quantum mechanics
(Jun 4, 2011)

A new experiment seems at first sight to defy one of the basic rules of quantum mechanics: that you can't measure accurately both the position and momentum of a particle at the same time. At the University of Toronto, Aephraim Steinberg and colleagues have shown that it's possible to pin down the positions of photons and simultaneouly measure their average momenta. Intriguingly, their results while not actually violating the famous Heisenberg uncertainty principle do lend support to an old interpretation of quantum mechanics called pilot-wave theory.

Read more. Source: Nature

Deep-living roundworm
Deepest-living land animal found
(Jun 3, 2011)

Worms have been found living almost a mile underground in water-filled cracks, at a depth previously thought inhabitable only by single-celled organisms. Two species of roundworm – one new to science – were recovery in hot-water filled cracks 1.3km down in gold mines in South Africa. The discovery lends credence to the idea that there might be similar complex life deep underground on Mars.

Read more. Source: BBC

VFTS 682
Amazingly bright solitary star found in neighboring galaxy
(Jun 2, 2011)

At the heart of the luminous region near the center of this photo is the brightest solitary star ever found. Called VFTS 682 it lies in the giant Tarantula Nebula of the Large Magellanic Cloud – a satellite galaxy of our own – and is 3 million times brighter than the Sun. Although other stars are known as bright as this, all of them lie within dense clusters of other massive, luminous stars whereas VFTS 682 shines in solitary splendor.

Read more. Source: European Southern Observatory

Endeavour and ISS
Endeavour comes home to stay
(Jun 1, 2011)

Space shuttle Endeavour has returned to Earth closing the final chapter in a remarkable 19-year career, in which it has completed 25 missions and flown a total of 197.6 million km (122.8 million miles). The last shuttle mission of all will be carried out by Atlantis which is set to blast off on July 8.

Read more. Source: BBC

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