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2009-12-14 08:15:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission launched successfully at 9:09am EST today. After a one-month checkout, the mission will spend the next nine months mapping the cosmos in infrared light. It will cover the whole sky one-and-a-half times, snapping millions of pictures of everything from near-Earth asteroids to faraway galaxies bursting with new stars. "The last time we mapped the whole sky at these particular infrared wavelengths was 26 years ago," said Edward (Ned)...

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2009-11-25 13:37:38

Astronomers on behalf of Galaxy Zoo have unveiled a new game aimed at letting players help them understand how galaxies have formed. The game involves images taken by a camera attached to a telescope in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Game participants are asked to match simulations of colliding galaxies, called galactic mergers. Astronomers say the human brain is much more reliable than even the fastest computer at classifying the shapes of colliding galaxies. The project is led by scientists...

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2009-11-11 06:10:00

The Catholic Church has come a long way since locking up Galileo for questioning whether the universe revolves around the Earth. The Vatican is now calling upon experts to investigate the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and what that would mean for the Church and its beliefs, reported the Associated Press. Astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes said, "The questions of life's origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very...

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2009-10-29 07:53:16

VLA sees most distant object in universe, gets key physics data Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope have gained tantalizing insights into the nature of the most distant object ever observed in the Universe -- a gigantic stellar explosion known as a Gamma Ray Burst (GRB). The explosion was detected on April 23 by NASA's Swift satellite, and scientists soon realized that it was more than 13 billion light-years from Earth. It represents an...

2009-09-09 04:30:00

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- ET meets Carl Sagan in Out of this World, a new book from Kids Can Press that asks whether there is life somewhere out there in the universe. Author Jacob Berkowitz takes the lofty subject of astrophysics and brings it down to earth for 8-12 year old readers. Out of This World explores the hunt for another planet that might support life, an Alien Earth. The voyage takes kids to the fantastic worlds around far-away stars. Along for the ride is a...

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2009-08-31 12:05:00

 As scientists attempt to learn more about how galaxies evolve, an open question has been whether collisions with our dwarf galactic neighbors will one day tear apart the disk of the Milky Way.That grisly fate is unlikely, a new study now suggests.While astronomers know that such collisions have probably occurred in the past, the new computer simulations show that instead of destroying a galaxy, these collisions "puff up" a galactic disk, particularly around the edges, and produce...

a9ede21b18833952f95c14b0412ccace1
2009-08-19 14:05:00

For decades, astronomers have gone about their business of studying the cosmos with the assumption that stars of certain sizes form in certain quantities. Like grocery stores selling melons alone, and blueberries in bags of dozens or more, the universe was thought to create stars in specific bundles. In other words, the proportion of small to big stars was thought to be fixed. For every star 20 or more times as massive as the sun, for example, there should be 500 stars with the sun's mass or...

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2009-08-19 08:55:00

New images released today by ESO delve into the heart of a cosmic cloud, called RCW 38, crowded with budding stars and planetary systems. There, young, titanic stars bombard fledgling suns and planets with powerful winds and blazing light, helped in their devastating task by short-lived, massive stars that explode as supernovae. In some cases, this energetic onslaught cooks away the matter that may eventually form new solar systems. Scientists think that our own Solar System emerged from such...

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2009-08-10 13:25:00

One of the hottest topics at this year's XXVIIth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil involves the study of the astrophysical conditions favourable for the development and survival of primordial life. New research shows that compared to middle-aged stars like the Sun, newly formed stars spin faster generating strong magnetic fields that result in emission of more intense levels of X-rays, ultraviolet rays and charged particles "• all...

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2009-08-10 10:25:00

The first black holes in the universe had dramatic effects on their surroundings despite the fact that they were small and grew very slowly, according to recent supercomputer simulations carried out by astrophysicists Marcelo Alvarez and Tom Abel of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, jointly located at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, and John Wise, formerly of KIPAC and now of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center....


Latest The Universe Reference Libraries

Stellar Astrophysics
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The prominent feature that allows for the existence of life on Earth is the Sun. Radiation from our closest star provides heat and energy to our planet, driving biological processes and providing the necessary conditions for liquid water to naturally exist. But our Sun is only but one star in this vast Universe. And as it turns out, most stars are quite different than the one that illuminates our day. For this reason, scientists have, for hundreds of years, attempted to study the other...

8_954eea8cfea1d821c7ed8a17abdb57922
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Xenobiology -- Xenobiology (or exobiology, or astrobiology) is the term for a speculative field within biology which considers the possibility of, and possible nature of, extraterrestrial life. It also necessarily includes the concept of artificial life, since any life form might naturally evolve elsewhere, could conceivably come out of a laboratory using a future technology. It might be difficult to tell whether a truly strange life form had in fact arisen in space, or was designed much...

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Word of the Day
drawcansir
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.
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