Astronomy

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awesome Astronomy sun science - 7941546240
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Colossal spiral-shaped flows of super-hot plasma have been discovered on the sun, completing a nearly 50-year quest to confirm their existence, scientists say. These giant solar plasma spirals — each of which is at least 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) wide — could help spark the formation of strongly magnetic regions on the sun that have been linked with solar flares and other sun eruptions, researchers added.
planets Astronomy stars science space - 8382979328
Via Space
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Via Space.com

The morning sky will play host to a spectacular gathering of solar system objects grouped closely together tomorrow (Nov. 22), but it won't be easy for observers on Earth to see it.

The sun, moon, three planets and the dwarf planet Ceres will all appear within a 20-degree span of sky. (For reference, your clenched fist held up to the sky measures about 10 degrees across.) Mercury and Saturn will be just west of the sun and new moon, while Venus and Ceres will be to the east. Unfortunately, the bright sun will wash out the beautiful "conjunction," but interested observers can still use a planetarium software program like Starry Night to check out the stunning event.

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Hubble is reprising one of its greatest hits. Twenty years after the release of its iconic image of the Eagle nebula's "Pillars of Creation", the space telescope – which turns 25 this year – has captured two new, even sharper views that peer through the pillars' shrouds of dust.

The original image, taken in 1995 with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, revealed three towering "elephant trunks" of gas and dust that are in the process of forming new stars. The columns are also being sculpted and eroded by winds from nearby young star.
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Astronomers believe the rough, icy surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa, is the most likely place in the solar system to harbour alien life.

Now Nasa has set aside £14.6 million ($25 million) to design probes that could reveal whether Europa is, in fact, habitable.

The agency yesterday asked scientists to come forward with potential experiments for a Europa probe that could be launched in the 2020s and arrive at the icy satellite within three years of take-off.
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One of the world's great radio telescopes isn't hearing voices – for the first time another giant dish has picked up one of the mysterious "fast radio bursts" (FRBs) that have been puzzling astronomers at the Parkes Radio Telescope. The find confirms these bursts indeed come from outer space, but beyond that their source is still wide open.

Last year the astronomers reported four bursts picked up by the celebrated Australian telescope. As each FRB lasted around a millisecond there was no time to have other telescopes check the same location, and the fact that no other telescope had picked up anything similar raised the possibility that something local was interfering with the Parkes telescope.

Now, however The Astrophysical Journal reports that the 305m Arecibo Telescope has picked up a similar burst while searching for pulsars. The burst occurred in 2012, but not noticed at the time. "FRB 121102's brightness, duration, and the inferred event rate are all consistent with the properties of the previously detected Parkes bursts," the authors report.
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Astronomy earth science planet - 8330164736
Via Discovery
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About 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus lives a star, which, though smaller and redder than the sun, has a planet that may look awfully familiar.

With a diameter just 10 percent bigger than Earth's, the newly found world is the first of its size found basking in the benign temperature region around a parent star where water, if it exists, could pool in liquid form.

Scientists on the hunt for Earth's twin are focused on worlds that could support liquid surface water, which may be necessary to brew the chemistry of life.
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Via CNN
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The presence of water on Mars is often talked about in the past tense -- as in, billions of years in the past. But researchers have found clues that water could be flowing in the present, at least during warm seasons.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are looking at dark features on Martian slopes that are finger-shaped. They appear and disappear seasonally.

These flows represent the best suggestion we know of that Mars has water right now, scientists say. The study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.