Star birth with a chance of Winds?

The lesser-known constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs), is home to a variety of deep-sky objects — including this beautiful galaxy, known as NGC 4861. Astronomers are still debating on how to classify it. While its physical properties — such as mass, size and rotational velocity — indicate it to be a spiral galaxy, its appearance looks more like a comet with its dense, luminous ‘head’ and dimmer ‘tail’ trailing off. Features more fitting with a dwarf irregular galaxy. …

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High-tech maps of tropical forest diversity identify new conservation targets

New remote sensing maps of the forest canopy in Peru identify new regions for conservation effort. Scientists used airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy, to identify preservation targets by undertaking a new approach to study global ecology — one that links a forest’s variety of species to the strategies for survival and growth employed by canopy trees and other plants. …

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Cosmic lenses support finding on faster than expected expansion of the universe

By using galaxies as giant gravitational lenses, an international group of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made an independent measurement of how fast the universe is expanding. The newly measured expansion rate for the local Universe is consistent with earlier findings. These are, however, in intriguing disagreement with measurements of the early universe. This hints at a fundamental problem at the very heart of our understanding of the cosmos. …

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New space weather model helps simulate magnetic structure of solar storms

A new model is mapping out the path of coronal mass ejections as they travel from the sun to Earth, where these storms can interact with our planet’s magnetic fields and cause a variety of space weather effects. …

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A look at a rapidly spinning black hole! (Video)

How do stellar-mass black holes spin? This week we discuss this topic as new results from NASA’s NuSTAR spacecraft which looked at the black hole known as GS 1354−645. …

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Rapid gas flares discovered in white dwarf star for the first time

Incredibly rapid gas flares from a white dwarf binary star system have been detected for the first time by scientists. The first sighting of such activity, it suggests that our current understanding of star habits and their capabilities is incomplete. …

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Proxima’s orbit around Alpha Centauri (Kervella et al.)

Vol. 598
In section 1. Letters

Proxima’s orbit around Alpha Centauri

by P. Kervella, F. Thévenin, C. Lovis, A&A 598, L7

alt

Alpha Centauri A and B, and Proxima Centauri are our closest stars. In addition, Proxima Centauri has recently been shown to host a small-mass planet in its so-called habitable zone. It is thus important to become better aquainted with these very close neighbours.
From statistical arguments, there could be little doubt that Proxima Centauri is gravitationally bound to the binary system formed by Alpha Centauri A and B. Kervella and Thévenin analyze high-precision radial velocity and astrometric data to show, with a high level of confidence, that it is the case. They also derive the orbit of Proxima which has a period of approximately 550,000 years, an eccentricity of 0.5 and a periastron of 4300 au. Planet (and comet) formation in this triple system should be investigated on the basis of these measurements.

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How to Get A Job in Astronomy

“How do I get a job in astronomy?” is probably the most asked question I get. Here’s some advice for those considering a career in astronomy, and it’s not all about getting a PhD. …

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Signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet: One of the extrasolar systems closest to Earth

Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It’s also the driving force behind San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane’s research into exoplanets — planets that exist outside Earth’s solar system. As one of the world’s leading “planet hunters,” Kane focuses on finding “habitable zones,” areas where water could exist in…

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#JWST Is Less than 2 Years Away! (Video)

Future in Space Hangout Sponsored by .SPACE Domains. Get your domain name for $2.99 by clicking on this link: https://goo.gl/e2b5HB …

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Huygens Probe on Titan; Cassini’s Final Year; Milky Way Ripping off Neighbors | SFN #190 (Video)

A look back at the touchdown of the Huygens lander on Titan some twelve years ago and a look ahead at what’s in store for the Cassini later this year; and astronomers find distant stars in the Milky Way were probably ripped off of another galaxy. …

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