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Hubble finds appearances can be deceptive: Looking at the stars in NGC 411

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NGC 411, an open cluster located in the Small Magellanic Cloud. (Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA)

Jan. 26, 2013 — Globular clusters are roughly spherical collections of extremely old stars, and around 150 of them are scattered around our galaxy. Hubble is one of the best telescopes for studying these, as its extremely high resolution lets astronomers see individual stars, even in the crowded core. The clusters all look very similar, and in Hubble's images it can be quite hard to tell them apart -- and they all look much like NGC 411, pictured in a new image.

And yet appearances can be deceptive: NGC 411 is in fact not a globular cluster, and its stars are not old. It isn't even in the Milky Way. NGC 411...

Origin and maintenance of a retrograde exoplanet

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Artist’s rendition of the HAT-P-7 system. Researchers used rhe Subaru Telescope to discover the retrograde planet (nearest the central star), another giant planet (in the foreground), and a companion star (upper right) in this system. (Credit: NAOJ)

Jan. 25, 2013 — Astronomers have used the Subaru Telescope to show that the HAT-P-7 planetary system, which is about 1040 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus, includes at least two giant planets and...

Thawing 'dry ice' drives groovy action on Mars

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The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped this series of pictures of sand dunes in the north polar region of Mars. The area covered in each of the five panels is about 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometers) wide. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

Jan. 25, 2013 — Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter see seasonal changes on far-northern Martian sand dunes caused by warming of a winter...

Chameleon star baffles astronomers

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A pulsar with glowing cones of radiation stemming from its magnetic poles. New observations reported in Science re-open an old debate about how these spinning stars work. (Credit: European Space Agency/ATG medialab)

Jan. 24, 2013 — Pulsars — tiny spinning stars, heavier than the sun and smaller than a city — have puzzled scientists since they were discovered in 1967.

Now, new observations by an international team, including University of Vermont...

Red explosions: Secret life of binary stars is revealed

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Hubble space telescope images show an expanding burst of light from a red supergiant star. (Credit: NASA/ESA)

Jan. 24, 2013 — A University of Alberta professor has revealed the workings of a celestial event involving binary stars that produce an explosion so powerful its luminosity ranks close to that of a supernova, an exploding star.

Theoretical astrophysicist Natalia Ivanova says researchers have long debated about what happens when binary stars, two...

Chameleon pulsar dramatically changes the way it shines

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This illustration shows a pulsar with glowing cones of radiation stemming from its magnetic poles – a state referred to as 'radio-bright' mode. Pulsars were discovered in 1967 as flickering sources of radio waves and soon after interpreted as rapidly rotating and strongly magnetised neutron stars. There is a general agreement about the origin of the radio emission from pulsars: it is caused by highly energetic electrons, positrons and ions moving along the field lines of the...

NASA officially joins ESA's 'dark universe' mission

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This artist's concept shows the Euclid spacecraft. The telescope will launch to an orbit around the sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. The Lagrange point is a location where the gravitational pull of two large masses, the sun and Earth in this case, precisely equals the force required for a small object, such as the Euclid spacecraft, to maintain a relatively stationary position behind Earth as seen from the sun. (Credit: ESA/C. Carreau)

Jan. 24, 2013 — NASA has joined the...

Mars rover Curiosity uses arm camera at night

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MAHLI's First Night Imaging of Martian Rock, White Lighting: This image of a Martian rock illuminated by white-light LEDs (light emitting diodes) is part of the first set of nighttime images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Jan. 24, 2013 — NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has for the first time used the camera on its arm to take photos at night, illuminated by...

3-D fireworks of a star: Astronomers reconstruct journey of emitted gas

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3-D view of the remnant of Nova Persei 1901 (the green arrow points to Earth). (Credit: Liimets at al./ApJ)

Jan. 24, 2013 — In 1901 the star GK Persei gave off a powerful explosion that has not stopped growing and astonishing ever since. Now a team of Spanish and Estonian astronomers has reconstructed the journey of the emitted gas in 3D which, contrary to predictions, has hardly slowed down its speed of up to 1,000 km/s after all this time.

Thanks to the...