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Astronomers make the largest map of the Universe yet

22 May 2017 Astronomy Now

Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have created the first map of the large-scale structure of the Universe based entirely on the positions of quasars. Quasars are the incredibly bright and distant points of light powered by supermassive black holes.

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Juno spacecraft makes another pass by Jupiter

20 May 2017 Stephen Clark

Making its fifth science pass close to Jupiter’s turbulent cloud tops, NASA’s Juno spacecraft sailed by the Solar System’s king planet Friday to collect another treasure trove of data on the giant world’s atmosphere, internal structure, and magnetic field.

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Icy ring around Fomalhaut observed in new wavelength

19 May 2017 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array has made the first complete millimeter-wavelength image of the ring of dusty debris surrounding the young star Fomalhaut. This remarkably well-defined band of rubble and gas is likely the result of exocomets smashing together near the outer edges of a planetary system 25 light-years from Earth.

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Hubble spots moon around third largest dwarf planet

18 May 2017 Astronomy Now

The combined power of three space observatories, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, has helped astronomers uncover a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, catalogued as 2007 OR10. The pair resides in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt, a realm of icy debris left over from our solar system’s formation 4.6 billion years ago.

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Movie shows Ceres at opposition from Sun

17 May 2017 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft successfully observed Ceres at opposition on April 29, taking images from a position exactly between the Sun and Ceres’ surface. Mission specialists had carefully maneuvered Dawn into a special orbit so that the spacecraft could view Occator Crater, which contains the brightest area of Ceres, from this new perspective.

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Fermi satellite observes billionth gamma ray

16 May 2017 Astronomy Now

Imagine you had superhero vision and could see a whole new world of fascinating phenomena invisible to the human eye. NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope gives astrophysicists analogous powers. It captures images of the universe in gamma rays, the most energetic form of light.

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‘Warm Neptune’ has unexpectedly primitive atmosphere

15 May 2017 Astronomy Now

A study combining observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes reveals that the distant planet HAT-P-26b has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Located about 437 light-years away, HAT-P-26b orbits a star roughly twice as old as the Sun.

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Astronomers pursue renegade supermassive black hole

12 May 2017 Astronomy Now

Supermassive holes are generally stationary objects, sitting at the centers of most galaxies. However, using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, astronomers recently hunted down what could be a supermassive black hole that may be on the move.