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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: October 2011
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Hunting season for Higgs ends Oct 31, 2011
NASA in final preparations for Nov. 8 asteroid flyby Oct 29, 2011
Stars concoct complex molecules Oct 28, 2011
Virgin Galactic space tourism could begin in 2013 Oct 27, 2011
Comet Elenin (4.55Ga–2011). RIP Oct 26, 2011
NASA telescopes help solve ancient supernova mystery Oct 24, 2011
German ROSAT spacecraft makes uncontrolled re-entry Oct 23, 2011
Herschel finds oceans of water in disk of nearby star Oct 21, 2011
Spitzer snaps a picture of the coolest of companions Oct 20, 2011
Seeing the world through Einstein's eyes Oct 19, 2011
Full-size mock-up of world's largest telescope mirror built Oct 18, 2011
Meteor strike: it's really not the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters Oct 16, 2011
Vesta rocked by mighty impacts Oct 14, 2011
Falling German satellite greater threat than UARS Oct 13, 2011
Pluto might be the largest dwarf planet, after all Oct 13, 2011
Very Large Telescope details cosmic timeline Oct 12, 2011
NASA-backed space taxi to fly in test next summer Oct 12, 2011
New view of giant mountain on Vesta Oct 11, 2011
Still no Higgs and scientists are starting to worry Oct 10, 2011
Venus springs ozone layer surprise Oct 8, 2011
Did two giant impacts knock Uranus on its side? Oct 8, 2011
Crab Pulsar's high-energy beam surprises astronomers Oct 7, 2011
Elusive planets found in decade-old Hubble data Oct 7, 2011
Where do alien civilizations hang out? Oct 6, 2011
Comet's water 'like that of Earth's oceans' Oct 6, 2011
Asteroid Vesta has planet-like features Oct 5, 2011
Superluminal neutrinos would wimp out en route Oct 5, 2011
Enceladus has never-ending winter – and maybe an ocean Oct 4, 2011
ALMA telescope begins study of cosmic dawn Oct 3, 2011
Fermilab faces life after the Tevatron Oct 3, 2011
Dawn begins new Vesta mapping orbit Oct 2, 2011
NASA space telescope finds fewer asteroids near Earth Oct 1, 2011

Large Hadron Collider
Hunting season for Higgs ends
(Oct 31, 2011)

This year's hunt for the Higgs boson has drawn to a close. Yesterday, the Large Hadron Collider ended its 2011 run of the proton–proton collisions that search for the elusive particle, thought to give other fundamental particles their mass. But physicists believe that the collider will have collected enough data by the end of 2012, after experiments resume in March, to say whether the Higgs exists.

Read more. Nature

2005 YU55
NASA in final preparations for Nov. 8 asteroid flyby
(Oct 29, 2011)

NASA scientists will be tracking asteroid 2005 YU55 with antennas of the agency's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, Calif., as the space rock safely flies past Earth slightly closer than the moon's orbit on Nov. 8. Scientists are treating the flyby of the 1,300-foot-wide (400-meter) asteroid as a science target of opportunity – allowing instruments on "spacecraft Earth" to scan it during the close pass.

Read more. NASA/JPL

young star and surroundings
Stars concoct complex molecules
(Oct 28, 2011)

The chemical factories around young stars may give rise to far more complex molecules than previously thought. Relatively complex, carbon-containing molecules have been found in comets and on planets before, thought to have been made elsewhere in our Solar System. But "unidentified infrared emissions" seen from the cosmos, says a new report in Nature, may come from even larger molecules forged near young stars.

Read more. BBC

Inside Virgin Galactic's spaceship
Virgin Galactic space tourism could begin in 2013
(Oct 27, 2011)

Virgin Galactic said its first passenger flights will not occur before 2013. Richard Branson's space tourism venture said it hopes to launch the service in two years time, but that date is not fixed. Test flights are currently underway, with rocket-powered tests scheduled to start next year. Almost 500 people have bought tickets.

Read more. BBC

Discovery photo
Comet Elenin (4.55Ga–2011). RIP
(Oct 26, 2011)

Comet Elenin is no more. Latest indications are this relatively small comet has broken into even smaller, even less significant, chunks of dust and ice. This trail of piffling particles will remain on the same path as the original comet, completing its unexceptional swing through the inner solar system this fall.

Read more. NASA/JPL

RCW 86
NASA telescopes help solve ancient supernova mystery
(Oct 24, 2011)

A mystery that began nearly 2,000 years ago, when Chinese astronomers witnessed what would turn out to be an exploding star in the sky, has been solved. New infrared observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, reveal how the first supernova ever recorded occurred and how its shattered remains ultimately spread out to great distances.

Read more. NASA/JPL

German ROSAT spacecraft makes uncontrolled re-entry
(Oct 23, 2011)

The Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) re-entered the Earth's atmosphere between 01:45 and 02:15 GMT. Just as for NASA's UARS satellite, which plunged into the atmosphere in September, no-one was able to say precisely when and this would happen. What makes the redundant German craft's return interesting is that much more debris this time is likely to survive all the way to the Earth's surface.

Read more. BBC

TW Hydrae
Herschel finds oceans of water in disk of nearby star
(Oct 21, 2011)

Using data from the Herschel Space Observatory, astronomers have detected for the first time cold water vapor enveloping a dusty disk around a young star, TW Hydrae. The findings suggest that this disk, which is poised to develop into a solar system, contains great quantities of water, suggesting that water-covered planets like Earth may be common in the universe.

Read more. NASA/JPL

WD 0806-661 B
Spitzer snaps a picture of the coolest of companions
(Oct 20, 2011)

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured a picture of a nearby star and its orbiting companion whose temperature is like a hot summer day in Arizona. Researchers ballpark WD 0806-661 B's mass between six and nine Jupiters, which means it could still qualify as a planet, albeit a particularly hefty one made mostly of gas. Instead, they suspect it's a type of failed star, called a brown dwarf.

Read more. NASA/JPL

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