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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.

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Black holes may reveal what lies within

6 April 2015 Astronomy Now

The “information loss paradox” in black holes — a problem that has plagued physics for nearly 40 years, since Stephen Hawking first proposed that black holes could radiate energy and evaporate over time — may not exist, according to University at Buffalo scientists.

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Hubble finds phantom objects near dead quasars

4 April 2015 Astronomy Now

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a set of enigmatic quasar ghosts — ethereal, looped structures glowing green that orbit their host galaxies marking the graves of quasars that flickered to life and then faded. They offer new insights into the turbulent pasts of these galaxies.

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BBC Stargazing Live helped amateur astronomers find supernovae

3 April 2015 Astronomy Now

More than 40,000 amateur astronomers working on a supernova hunt run by the Zooniverse team based at the University of Oxford, in collaboration with BBC Stargazing Live, found five supernovae and catalogued two million unidentified heavenly bodies found by the SkyMapper telescope in Australia.

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Curiosity rover eyes prominent mineral veins on Mars

2 April 2015 Astronomy Now

Two-tone mineral veins at a site NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached by climbing a layered Martian mountain offer clues about multiple episodes of fluid movement. These episodes occurred later than the wet environmental conditions that formed lake-bed deposits the rover examined at the mountain’s base.