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Dead galaxies may be packed with dark matter

20 July 2015 Astronomy Now

Research using powerful computer simulations to study galaxies that have fallen into the Coma Cluster, one of the largest gravitationally-bound structures in the universe roughly 300 million light-years from Earth, suggests that it could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study.

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New Horizons discovers frozen plains in Pluto’s ‘heart’

17 July 2015 Astronomy Now

A new close-up image of Pluto from New Horizons reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the centre-left of the heart feature, informally named “Tombaugh Regio” (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930.

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Diminishing solar activity may bring new Ice Age by 2030

17 July 2015 Astronomy Now

A new ice age is coming — if the prediction of a Lomonosov Moscow State University researcher and her colleagues is correct. A model that accurately predicts variations in the Sun’s magnetic field suggests a sharp decline in solar output during the years 2030-2040, producing conditions similar to that existing during the 17th century Maunder minimum.

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Pluto: the ice plot thickens

16 July 2015 Astronomy Now

The latest spectra from New Horizons Ralph instrument reveal an abundance of methane ice, but with striking differences from place to place across the frozen surface of Pluto. Methane ice in the dwarf planet’s north polar cap is diluted in a thick, transparent slab of nitrogen ice.

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Pluto and Charon as never seen before

15 July 2015 Stephen Clark

A spectacular sampling of imagery from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveals mountains and water ice bedrock on Pluto, an active crust on its largest moon Charon and the first resolved views of the icy world’s tiny mini-moons.

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Ground team receives New Horizons signal

15 July 2015 Stephen Clark

A long-awaited radio signal from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft landed on planet Earth late Tuesday, confirming the faraway space probe performed as expected during a one-shot flyby of Pluto at the solar system’s outer frontier.