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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: July 2012
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The biggest glitch ever – for a pulsar Jul 31, 2012
The long landslides of Iapetus: a final solution? Jul 30, 2012
A different origin for the Moon? Jul 28, 2012
Stellar luminaries like to cohabit Jul 27, 2012
The planetary system most like our own Jul 26, 2012
Where did all the lithium go? Jul 25, 2012
First US space woman dies Jul 24, 2012
Pluto: it's complicated Jul 21, 2012
The galaxy that shouldn't be Jul 20, 2012
An extrasolar planet smaller than the Earth on our doorstep? Jul 19, 2012
The Pioneer Anaomaly: a long-standing mystery finally solved Jul 19, 2012
NASA may be blind while Curiosity lands Jul 17, 2012
Is asteroid mining on the cards? Jul 16, 2012
Dark galaxies spotted in the early universe Jul 13, 2012
Virgin Galactic to start launching satellites Jul 12, 2012
A new moon for Pluto Jul 11, 2012
New study disproves earlier claim about arsenic-based life Jul 11, 2012
New way of finding exoplanets creates 'black holes' around stars Jul 10, 2012
Mars: Upcoming attraction Jul 9, 2012
A Higgs by any other name? Jul 8, 2012
Blindspot to open in our search for potentially-hazardous asteroids Jul 6, 2012
The strange case of the vanishing dust Jul 6, 2012
A nearby exoplanet gives up secrets of its atmosphere Jul 5, 2012
Historic day for physics Jul 4, 2012
If there were a hole through the Earth... Jul 4, 2012
WISE opens a new vista on the Flame Jul 3, 2012
Hubble bubble Jul 2, 2012
NuSTAR snaps its first black hole Jul 2, 2012
Largest impact crater on Earth found in Greenland Jul 1, 2012


Diagram of a gamma-ray pulsar
The biggest glitch ever – for a pulsar
(Jul 31, 2012)


Glitches are usually a bad thing. But in those weird kind of stars known as pulsars they're a rare opportunity for astronomers to learn something about matter under the most extreme conditions. In 2009, records show, a pulsar called J1838-0537 underwent the biggest glitch ever seen. The discovery of this pulsar has just been announced.

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Iapetus and its giant ridge
The long landslides of Iapetus: a final solution?
(Jul 30, 2012)


Images from Cassini of Saturn's moon Iapetus have shed light on the possible origin of huge landslides seen on the moon's surface. These landslides, of a type known as sturzstroms or "long-runout landslides", travel amazing distances horizontally – up to 30 times further than the material falls vertically. According to an article just published in Nature Geoscience localized heating of ice rubble could be a crucial factor in explaining how this happens.

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Moon
A different origin for the Moon?
(Jul 28, 2012)


How was the Moon made? Maybe not from a full-on smash between the Earth and a smaller planet but more of a side-swipe by something much bigger ...

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Artist's impression of an evolved O star and its vampire companion
Stellar luminaries like to cohabit
(Jul 27, 2012)


The biggest, brightest stars in space, it turns out, are mostly not alone. A new study using the Very Large Telescope, has revealed some surprising facts about so-called 'O stars' which have implications for our understanding of both stellar and galactic evolution.

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Artist's impression of Kepler-30 and its planetary system
The planetary system most like our own
(Jul 26, 2012)


NASA's Kepler spacecraft has found three planets around a star 10,000 light-years away. Not only do they move in the same orbital plane but – as in the case of the solar system – in the rotational plane of the central star.

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lithium
Where did all the lithium go?
(Jul 25, 2012)


Big Bang theory says there should be 3 to 4 times more lithium in the universe than what we actually see. This is the so-called "lithium problem". And it just got a whole lot worse because, according to a new paper, some black holes should be churning out the stuff in copious amounts. (Thanks to Valentin Valcu for use of the image. His webpage is here.)

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Sally Ride
First US space woman dies
(Jul 24, 2012)


America's forst woman in space, Sally Ride, has died at the age of 61; she had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. Ride was chosen by NASA as an astronaut in 1978 and served as a mission specialist on Space Shuttle flight STS-7 (1983) and as a mission specialist on STS 41G (1984). Following the Challenger disaster she was elected as a member of the presidential commission to investigate the accident.

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Hubble image of Pluto
Pluto: it's complicated
(Jul 21, 2012)


It isn't an ordinary planet – officially. It's a dwarf planet. But that puts it in the sane category as Ceres (previosuly king of the asteroids) and Eris (way out in the Kuiper Belt). Now we know it's got at least five moons, which sounds like a lot for a dwarf. After all, Mercury and Venus don't have any, and the Earth only has one. What's more, Pluto's inner moon, Charon, is a pretty good fraction of Pluto's own size. So maybe Pluto is a double planet. Or maybe it falls into a category of its own.

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BX 442
The galaxy that shouldn't be
(Jul 20, 2012)


A galaxy called BX 442 has astronomers scratching their heads. Why? Because it lies billions of light-years away, at a time when the universe was only 3 billion years – and it's spiral. Conventional wisdom has it that spiral structure such as that of our own Milky Way takes many billions of years to develop. So how did such an arrangement appear so early on?

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Artist's impression of UCF-1.01
An extrasolar planet smaller than the Earth on our doorstep?
(Jul 19, 2012)


Astronomers have found evidence for what may be the nearest known exoplanet that's smaller than the Earth. Called UCF-1.01, it orbits a red dwarf 33 light-years away and has a year lasting less than 2 days. There may even be a second sub-Earth-sized world in the same system.

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