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Dawn snaps its best-yet image of dwarf planet Ceres

7 December 2014 Astronomy Now

Launched in 2007, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is preparing for its encounter with dwarf planet Ceres, imaging the body from a distance of 740,000 miles as a final calibration of the probe’s science camera. Dawn will be captured into Ceres’ orbit in March 2015.

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Pulsar with black hole could hold the ‘holy grail’ of gravity

6 December 2014 Astronomy Now

The intermittent light emitted by a pulsar allows scientists to verify Einstein’s theory of relativity, especially when paired up with another neutron star that interferes with its gravity. According to researchers from Spain and India, this theory could be analysed much more effectively if a pulsar with a black hole were found.

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Ground-based detection of super-Earth transit

1 December 2014 Astronomy Now

A team of astronomers has measured the passing of a super-Earth in front of a bright, nearby Sun-like star using a ground-based telescope for the first time. Exoplanet 55 Cancri e, some 40 light-years away, is about twice as big and eight times as massive as the Earth.