Dramatic stellar fireworks of star birth

Stellar explosions are most often associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. But new observations provide insights into explosions at the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth. Astronomers captured these dramatic images as they explored the firework-like debris from the birth of a group of massive stars, demonstrating that star formation can be a violent and explosive process too. …

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Experiments test how easy life itself might be

Combining theory with experiment, scientists are trying to understand how life can arise from non-life. Researchers are conducting experiments to test the idea that lifelike chemical reactions might develop readily under the right conditions. The work addresses some of the deepest mysteries in biology, and has implications for understanding how common life might be in the universe. …

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Quantum-physical model system

Computer-assisted methods aid physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms.

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Atmosphere detected around an Earth-like planet

Astronomers have detected an atmosphere on another Earth-like planet. This marks the first detection of an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet other than Earth itself, and thus is a significant step on the path towards the detection of life outside our Solar System. …

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Artificial topological matter opens new research directions

An international team of researchers has created a new structure that allows the tuning of topological properties in such a way as to turn on or off these unique behaviors. The structure could open up possibilities for new explorations into the properties of topological states of matter.

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Coming to a lab bench near you: Femtosecond X-ray spectroscopy

For the first time, researchers have captured the ephemeral electron movements in a transient state of a chemical reaction using ultrafast, tabletop X-ray spectroscopy. The researchers used femtosecond pulses of X-ray light to catch the unraveling of a ring molecule that is important in biochemical and optoelectronic processes.

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Hubble takes close-up portrait of Jupiter

On April 3, 2017, as Jupiter made its nearest approach to Earth in a year, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope viewed the solar system’s largest planet in all of its up-close glory. …

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Scientists further understanding of a process that causes heat loss in fusion devices

In the past year, scientists have made important advances in understanding secondary electron emission.

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Is It Friday the 13th Again?

How our society defines years, months and weeks can seem frustratingly arbitrary. Can you bring order to our unruly calendar? …

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Scientists link California droughts, floods to distinctive atmospheric waves

The crippling wintertime droughts that struck California from 2013 to 2015, as well as this year’s unusually wet California winter, appear to be associated with the same phenomenon: a distinctive wave pattern that emerges in the upper atmosphere and circles the globe. …

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