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Latest Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Stories

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2007-01-08 13:15:00

Astronomers have proposed an improved method of searching for intelligent extraterrestrial life using instruments like the one now under construction in Australia. This instrument could detect Earth-like civilizations around any of the 1,000 nearest stars.

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2006-11-20 15:35:00

Scientists have measured a stellar-mass black hole spinning so rapidly - turning more than 950 times per second - that it pushes the predicted speed limit for rotation.

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2006-10-18 12:55:00

The Andromeda galaxy, the closest large spiral to the Milky Way, appears calm and tranquil as it wheels through space. But appearances can be deceiving.

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2006-10-05 17:57:14

A gigantic sonic boom generated by a supermassive black hole has been found with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, along with evidence for a cacophony of deep sound.

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2006-09-15 15:40:00

Using a network of small automated telescopes known as HAT, Smithsonian astronomers have discovered a planet unlike any other known world. This new planet, designated HAT-P-1, orbits one member of a pair of distant stars 450 light-years away in the constellation Lacerta.

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2006-08-10 16:30:00

Long predicted by theory, the Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array has found the first conclusive evidence of an hourglass-shaped magnetic field in a star formation region. Measurements indicate that material in the interstellar cloud is dense enough to allow it to gravitationally collapse, warping the magnetic field in the process.

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2006-07-25 12:40:57

As astronomers increasingly link two telescopes as interferometers to reveal greater detail of distant stars, a Keck Observatory astronomer is showing the power of linking three or even more telescopes together.

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2006-07-25 12:25:00

In the distant, young universe, quasars shine with a brilliance unmatched by anything in the local cosmos. Although they appear starlike in optical telescopes, quasars are actually the bright centers of galaxies located billions of light-years from Earth.

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2006-03-14 00:05:00

Astronomers have discovered a new "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star located about 9,000 light-years away. This newfound world weighs about 13 times the mass of the Earth and is probably a mixture of rock and ice, with a diameter several times that of Earth.

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2006-01-31 14:58:07

Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the universe, emitting huge amounts of high-energy radiation. For decades their origin was a mystery. Scientists now believe they understand the processes that produce gamma-ray bursts.


Word of the Day
gazingstock
  • A person or thing gazed at with wonder or curiosity, especially of a scornful kind.
The 'stock' of 'gazingstock' comes from an Old English word meaning 'tree trunk' or 'wood'.
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