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How young star and planets grow simultaneously

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Artist's conception of HD142527 system: Gas streamers cross gap in protoplanetary disk. (Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Jan. 2, 2013 — Astronomers have used the ALMA telescope to get their first glimpse of a fascinating stage of star formation in which planets forming around a young star are helping the star itself continue to grow, resolving a longstanding mystery. The young system, about 450 light-years from Earth, is revealing its complex gravitational dance to the ever-sharpening vision of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), scheduled for completion this year.

As young stars gather material from their surrounding clouds of gas and dust, the incoming material forms a flat...

Galactic geysers fueled by star stuff

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Galactic Geysers. A view of the 'galactic geysers' that have been mapped. Click for largest resolution. (Credit: ESA Planck Collaboration (Microwave) NASA DOE Fermi LAT, Dobler et al. Su et al. (Gamma Rays).)

Jan. 2, 2013 — Enormous outflows of charged particles from the centre of our Galaxy, stretching more than halfway across the sky and moving at supersonic speeds, have been detected and mapped with CSIRO's 64-m Parkes radio telescope.

Corresponding to...

Giant planets seen guzzling gas as they grow: Key stage of birth of giant planets seen for first time

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Artist’s impression of the disc and gas streams around HD 142527. (Credit: Image courtesy of ESO)

Jan. 2, 2012 — Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have seen a key stage in the birth of giant planets for the first time. Vast streams of gas are flowing across a gap in the disc of material around a young star. These are the first direct observations of such streams, which are expected to be created by giant planets...

Magnetic forces without magnets: Physicist calculates field strengths in the early universe

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A theoretical physicist describes a new mechanism for the magnetization of the universe even before the emergence of the first stars. (Credit: © Yuriy Mazur / Fotolia)

Jan. 2, 2013 — Magnets have practically become everyday objects. Earlier on, however, the universe consisted only of nonmagnetic elements and particles. Just how the magnetic forces came into existence has been researched by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schlickeiser at the Institute of Theoretical Physics...

Eulogy to Herschel

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Jan. 2, 2013 — With its 2160 litres of liquid helium about to run out, the Herschel Space Observatory will, by the end of March, become just another piece of space junk.

In January's Physics World, Steve Eales, a University of Cardiff astronomer who leads one of the telescope's largest surveys, explains how this space facility has advanced our understanding of star and galaxy formation.

Sub-millimetre wavelength astronomy -- the kind of astronomy that the European Space...

Space travel may be harmful to the brain, study suggests; Prolonged cosmic radiation exposure could hasten Alzheimer's

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Artist's concept of human mission to Mars. (Credit: NASA/Pat Rawlings, SAIC)

Dec. 31, 2012 — As if space travel was not already filled with enough dangers, a new study out today in the journal PLOS ONE shows that cosmic radiation -- which would bombard astronauts on deep space missions to places like Mars -- could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

"Galactic cosmic radiation poses a significant threat to future astronauts," said M. Kerry O'Banion...

An image gallery gift from NASA's Swift

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The Crab Nebula is the wreckage of an exploded star, or supernova, observed in the year 1054. The expanding cloud of gas is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. This composite of three Swift UVOT ultraviolet images highlights the luminous hot gas in the supernova remnant. The image is constructed from exposures using these filters: uvw1, centered at 2,600 angstroms (shown as red); uvm2, centered at 2,246 angstroms (green); and uvw2, centered at 1,928 angstroms...

Hubble eyes the needle galaxy: IC 2233, one of the flattest galaxies known

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Spiral galaxy IC 2233. (Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA)

Dec. 28, 2012 — Like finding a silver needle in the haystack of space, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a beautiful image of the spiral galaxy IC 2233, one of the flattest galaxies known.

Typical spiral galaxies like the Milky Way are usually made up of three principal visible components: the disk where the spiral arms and most of the gas and dust is concentrated; the halo, a rough and...

Measurements hint why the universe is dominated by matter, not anti-matter

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A pool holding four anti-neutrino detectors begins filling with ultra-pure water in September, 2012 at the Daya Bay Neutrino experiment. The experiment, just recognized by Science magazine as a breakthrough of the year, is helping to explain why the universe contains virtually no anti-matter. University of Wisconsin-Madison physicist Karsten Heeger and Physical Sciences Laboratory engineer Jeff Cherwinka both played major roles at the experiment. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt, Lawrence...