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Earth was grown from millimetre-sized stones

18 April 2015 Astronomy Now

Researchers can now explain how asteroids are formed. According to a new study led by Lund University in Sweden, our own planet also has its origins in the same process — a cosmic ocean of millimetre-sized particles that once orbited the young Sun.

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Massive galaxies died from the inside out

16 April 2015 Keith Cooper

Some of the biggest galaxies in the Universe started to shut down their star-formation from the inside-out ten billion years ago, according to new observations made using the Very Large Telescope in Chile and the Hubble Space Telescope.

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First signs of self-interacting dark matter found?

16 April 2015 Astronomy Now

Observations of colliding galaxies made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope may, for the first time, have detected dark matter interacting with other dark matter in a way other than through the force of gravity.

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Rosetta keeps its distance from awakening comet

13 April 2015 Stephen Clark

Mission controllers are rethinking a series of close-up comet flybys planned for Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft after a haze of dust around the comet’s central nucleus led to navigation errors during a close encounter in late March.

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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.