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News: December 2010

Light dawns on dark
gamma-ray bursts

The biggest study to date of so-called dark gamma-ray bursts, using the GROND instrument on the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile, has found that these gigantic explosions don’t require exotic explanations.

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Fourth gas giant poses problems for formation

A fourth giant planet uncovered in the HR 8799 system poses problems for models of planet formation – neither established theory can explain the in situ formation of all four planets.

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Saturn stripped icy moons
to create rings

A new study finds that the icy component of a Titan-sized moon disrupted by Saturn's gravitational pull likely formed the giant planet's rings.

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End of planet formation marked by giant impacts

New research suggests that massive impactors delivered metal-loving elements to the mantles of the Earth, Moon and Mars during the final phase of planet formation, over 4.5 billion years ago.

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First carbon-rich
planet discovered

Astronomers studying gas giant WASP-12b with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have found it loaded with an elevated amount of carbon, perhaps in the form of diamond or graphite in its interior.

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First e-MERLIN image impresses

The UK's powerful new array of radio telescopes has released its first impressive image of the Double Quasar that demonstrates the curvature of space.

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Most zirconium-rich
star discovered

New research led by astronomers at Armagh Observatory have found the most zirconium-rich star yet. The element is found in clouds around the star in a concentration 10,000 times greater than in our own Sun.

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Simulations predict source of gravitational waves

Merging compact binaries, consisting of two neutron stars, black holes or a combination of the two, are the most likely sources of gravitational waves, a new study finds.

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Moon used to investigate sub-atomic particles

Astronomers from the University of Iowa and the Naval Research Laboratory have used the Moon to eliminate a number of causes for ultra-high energy neutrinos.

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New discovery broadens definition of life

Researchers conducting experiments in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in California have discovered a microorganism that is able to reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The discovery opens up possibilities for life elsewhere in the Solar System.

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Venus Express carries warning for Earth engineers

ESA's Venus Express satellite has reported an unexpected, high altitude layer of sulphur dioxide in the planet's upper atmosphere that could act as a warning against plans to mitigate climate change on our own planet by injecting the Earth's atmosphere with sulphur droplets.

READ MORE

 

A super-earth with a
steamy atmosphere?

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) astronomers have, for the first time, analysed the atmosphere of a ‘super-earth’ exoplanet.

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Universe's star count tripled

A new study reveals that dim red dwarf stars residing in elliptical galaxies are so much more bountiful than previously thought that there may be three times as many stars in the Universe than realised.

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2010 Yearbook
Our latest 132-page Astronomy Now special edition is an extravaganza of astronomy for the year ahead, with a complete 30-page guide to observing the planets, moon, meteor showers, two solar eclipses, and the deep sky in 2010.
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Take the tour!
A 100-page special edition from the creators of Astronomy Now magazine, The Grand Tour of the Universe takes readers from one end of the Universe to the other and, in doing so, asks the question "just how big is the Universe?"
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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 U.S. & WORLDWIDE STORE

Guide to the Constellations
Astronomy Now presents this 100-page, full-colour guide to the 68 constellations visible from the British Isles by Neil Bone, the respected amateur astronomer and writer.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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