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Showing results 61-71 of 76 for 'Astrophysics'

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    A Possible Explanation for Why No Intermediate Sized Black Holes Have Been Found

    A pair of researchers, one with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel the other with Princeton University in the U.S. has come up with a possible explanation for the inability of space scientists to find any intermediate-sized black holes. In their paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, Tal Alexander and Ben Bar-Or offer an outline of current theories regarding how black holes in general are believed to develop, theories about the early universe, and finally, their ideas on how current theories may lead to an explanation for the dearth of intermediate sized black holes.

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    Lucky Break Leads to Controversial Supernova Discovery

    It was not a slow death — it lasted a few hours at most. The casualty was a star in a spiral galaxy some 160 million light-years away. Its core collapsed in on itself, triggering a supernova explosion as bright as 100 billion suns. On a cosmic scale, this star was rather ordinary, probably a red supergiant some 10 times more massive than our sun. But on October 6, 2013, when the light from the explosion finally reached Earth, its death made history. The glow from SN 2013fs, as it’s now called, hit the right robotic witness, and then astronomers caught a cosmically lucky break.

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    Are Mars’ Trojan Asteroids Pieces of the Red Planet?

    A mosaic of the Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars. This view is similar to what one would see from a spacecraft, according to NASA. The Trojan asteroids that follow Mars in its orbit might have come from the planet itself, blown off in an ancient impact rather than being late arrivals, a new study suggests. Several planets in Earth's solar system have Trojan asteroids — bodies that run ahead of or behind the planet. Jupiter, for example, has thousands. Earth has at least one, discovered in 2010. Uranus, Neptune and Venus also have them. Trojan asteroids are so called because the first ones to be discovered were named for figures from the Trojan War, including Achilles and Agamemnon. NASA plans to launch a mission in 2021, called Lucy, to study six of Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.

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    Colder and Colder

    When investigating atoms, scientists face a challenge: at room temperature, individual atoms in a gas have kinetic energy, and fly around at high velocities. Temperature is, in essence, the relative movement between atoms; thus, the goal of getting the atoms to have small relative velocities involves freezing them to extremely cold temperatures. Now, a group at the Weizmann Institute of Science has developed a new universal method for cooling ions.

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    Crashing Neutron Stars Observed for the First Time

    An international research team, including physicists from the Weizmann Institute of Science, has for the first time succeeded in observing a merger of two colliding neutron stars. The merger was simultaneously picked up by three detectors built for this purpose: the two belonging to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, in the United States, and the Virgo detector in Italy. The observation may help determine how such heavy elements as uranium, iodine, and gold were formed, as well as enhance our understanding of some of the most violent events in the history of the universe.

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    Jupiter’s Stormy Winds Churn Deep into the Planet

    <em>Nature</em> reports on the international mission to study Jupiter via NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Juno has now “plumbed the depths of Jupiter,” showing that the “planet’s famous bands of swirling winds” extend quite far down. According to Weizmann’s Dr. Yohai Kaspi, “Determining this is one of the main goals of the Juno mission.”

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    What the Neutron Star Collision Means for Dark Matter

    In October, LIGO and its European counterpart, VIRGO, witnessed gravitational waves rippling out from a breathtaking collision between two neutron stars. This unprecedented event looked like yet another triumph for a new kind of astronomy, one that could use gravitational waves to probe some of the universe’s deepest mysteries. But in all the excitement, most people didn’t notice that something had died: a whole group of theories that posit a universe with no dark matter.

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    Neptune’s Other Moons Were Normal Until Triton Crashed the Party

    <em>New Scientist</em> reports on the mess Triton, the largest of Neptune’s many moons, made when it joined that planet’s lunar group. A Weizmann scientist and her Colorado colleague “used a series of computer simulations to figure out what the Neptune system was like before Triton barrelled in.”

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    Unveiling the Depths of Jupiter’s Winds

    Three papers appearing in Nature on March 8 answer a question that scientists have been asking ever since Galileo first observed the famous stripes of Jupiter: Are the colorful bands just a pretty surface phenomenon, or are they a significant stratum of the planet? The Weizmann Institute of Science’s Prof. Yohai Kaspi led this research, in which measurements from NASA’s Juno spacecraft were analyzed to reveal that the stripes – belts of strong winds circling the planet – extend to a depth of about 3,000 km (about 1,900 miles). That is quite a bit deeper than previous estimates, and is revising scientists’ picture of Jupiter’s atmosphere as well as its inner layers.