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Outer Space

Accelerating search for intelligent life in the universe

The National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

The National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) will join in the most powerful, comprehensive, and intensive scientific search ever for signs of intelligent life in the Universe. The international endeavor, known as the Breakthrough Listen, will scan the nearest million stars in our own Galaxy and stars in 100 ...

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The icy mountains of Pluto

Surface of Pluto. Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI

New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body. The mountains likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters relative to the ...

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Hubble views a bizarre cosmic quartet

galaxy group HCG 16

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a gathering of four cosmic companions. This quartet forms part of a group of galaxies known as the Hickson Compact Group 16, or HCG 16 — a galaxy group bursting with dramatic star formation, tidal tails, galactic mergers and black holes. This ...

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Crashing comets may explain mysterious lunar swirls

A closer look at the Reiner Gamma.

Brown University researchers have produced new evidence that lunar swirls — wispy bright regions scattered on the Moon’s surface — were created by several comet collisions over the last 100 million years. In a paper published in the journal Icarus, the researchers use state-of-the-art computer models to simulate the dynamics ...

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Circular orbits of small exoplanets: Which Earth-sized exoplanets are potentially habitable?

system Kepler-444

Viewed from above, our solar system’s planetary orbits around the sun resemble rings around a bulls-eye. Each planet, including Earth, keeps to a roughly circular path, always maintaining the same distance from the sun. For decades, astronomers have wondered whether the solar system’s circular orbits might be a rarity in ...

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