NASA’s Swift mission maps a star’s ‘death spiral’ into a black hole

Astronomers measured the light produced when a sun-like star wandered too close to a 3-million-solar-mass black hole similar to the one at the center of our own galaxy. …

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Hubble’s glittering frisbee galaxy

Hubble caught a cross-section of NGC 1448, a spiral galaxy located about 50 million light-years from Earth. …

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New feedback system could allow greater control over fusion plasma

A physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

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New Hubble mosaic of the Orion Nebula

In the search for rogue planets and failed stars astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have created a new mosaic image of the Orion Nebula. During their survey of the famous star formation region, they found what may be the missing piece of a cosmic puzzle; the third, long-lost member of a star system that had broken apart. …

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Eruptions on the sun trigger surprising phenomenon near Earth

Eruptions on the Sun’s surface not only send bursts of energetic particles into the Earth’s atmosphere causing disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field, they can also strangely decrease the number of free electrons over large areas in the polar region of the ionosphere, new research concludes. …

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Astronomers observe a dying red giant star’s final act

An international team of astronomers has observed a striking spiral pattern in the gas surrounding a red giant star called LL Pegasi and its companion star 3,400 light-years from Earth. …

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Scientists make the case to restore Pluto’s planet status

Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth’s moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of ‘planet.’ …

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Using gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires

In electronics, the race for smaller is huge. Physicists are working to harness the power of nanowires, microscopic wires that have the potential to improve solar cells or revolutionize fiber optics.

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Researchers beat the quantum limit of microwave measurements

Research groups have demonstrated a new microwave measurement method that goes to the quantum limit of measurement and beats it. The new method can potentially be used for example in quantum computing and measurement of gravitational waves.

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A Ticking Evolutionary Clock

How quickly will a gene’s rate of evolution slow to a crawl? …

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