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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: December 2012
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green bean galaxy
Zeroing in on a rare kind of galaxy
(Dec 5, 2012)

A new galaxy class has been identified using observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Gemini South telescope, and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Nicknamed "green bean galaxies" because of their unusual appearance, these galaxies glow in the intense light emitted from the surroundings of monster black holes and are amongst the rarest objects in the Universe.

Read more (ESO)

Artist's impression of SDSS J1106+1939
Quasar found with record-breaking outflow
(Dec 4, 2012)

Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have discovered a quasar with the most energetic outflow ever seen – at least five times more powerful than any other observed to date. Quasars hurl huge amounts of material into their host galaxies, but, until now, observed outflows weren’t as powerful as predicted by theorists. The rate at which energy is carried away from this new-found object, known as SDSS J1106+1939, however, is about 100 times higher than the total power output of the Milky Way Galaxy. This is the first time that a quasar outflow has been measured to have the sort of very high energies theory predicts.

Read more (ESO)

Artist's impression of a Mars base
Elon Musk of SpaceX talks about Mars bases and warp drive
(Dec 3, 2012)

In an interview with New Scientist magazine ,SpaceX founder Elon Musk says he'd like to "die on Mars" and is enthused about interstellar travel. Asked about crewed missions to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Dragon vessel he said: "We're hoping to do our first flight with people in three years. Actually, if somebody were to stowaway on the present version of Dragon they'd be able to go to the space station and be fine." Volunteers anyone?

Read more (New Scientist)

Artist's impression of a dust disk around a brown dwarf
Even brown dwarfs may grow rocky planets
(Dec 2, 2012)

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) have for the first time found that the outer region of a dusty disk encircling a brown dwarf contains millimeter-sized solid grains like those found in denser disks around newborn stars. This surprising discovery challenges theories of how rocky, Earth-sized planets form, and suggests that rocky planets may be even more common in the Universe than expected.

Read more (ESO)

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