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Universe expanding more slowly than previously thought?

13 April 2015 Astronomy Now

A University of Arizona-led team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognised before. The findings have implications for our understanding of how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.

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NASA invites ESA to build Europa piggyback probe

11 April 2015 Stephen Clark

After walking away from a previously planned joint mission to Jupiter, NASA has asked the European Space Agency if it can furnish a lander or ice-penetrating probe for a rejuvenated U.S.-led robotic spacecraft to visit Jupiter’s moon Europa.

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Young star system found to be host to organic molecules

10 April 2015 Kerry Hebden

Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have found a complex carbon-based molecule in a protoplanetary disc around a young star – in quantities enough to fill all of Earth’s oceans – hinting that prebiotic chemistry is indeed universal and not limited to our Solar System.

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A new view of the Moon’s formation

8 April 2015 Astronomy Now

A crucial difference in the isotopic chemical “fingerprints” of Earth and the Moon confirms an explosive, interconnected past when, within the first 150 million years after our Solar System formed, a giant body roughly the size of Mars struck the Earth.

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Mars has belts of glaciers composed of water ice

8 April 2015 Astronomy Now

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have used data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter combined with computer modelling to determine that Mars has thousands of dust-covered glacier-like formations on the planet’s northern and southern hemispheres.

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The seasons of the Sun

8 April 2015 Astronomy Now

A team of researchers has determined that the Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years. This behaviour affects the approximately 11-year solar cycle, sometimes amplifying solar storms that can buffet Earth’s atmosphere.

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Rosetta probe disoriented by comet dust

6 April 2015 Stephen Clark

Ground controllers are analyzing a fault aboard Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft after an encounter with comet dust confused the probe’s navigation system, leaving the robot explorer in a temporary safe mode and halting regular science operations.