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Using oxygen as a tracer of galactic evolution

7 October 2016 Astronomy Now

A new study comprised of 7,000 galaxies casts light on how young, hot stars ionise oxygen in the early universe and the effects on the evolution of galaxies through time. The study presents the first measurements of the changing strengths of oxygen emission lines from the present day and back to 12.5 billion years ago.

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Mystery solved: Martian moons formed by a giant impact

5 July 2016 Astronomy Now

Where did the two natural satellites of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, come from? For a long time, their shape suggested that they were captured asteroids. However, the shape and course of their orbits contradict this hypothesis. Two independent and complementary studies now provide an answer: these satellites formed from the debris of a gigantic collision between Mars and a protoplanet one-third its size.

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Active asteroid spun so fast that it exploded

23 March 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers used the 10-metre Keck II telescope in Hawaii to examine a so-called active asteroid, P/2012 F5, that mimics a comet with a tail, but ejects dust like a shot without an obvious reason. The researchers found that it had a very fast spin rate and probably fragmented.