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Astronomy

Space

Is ET dead – and are we next?

With the number of potentially habitable exoplanets in our galaxy alone estimated to be in the billions, many wonder why we are yet to see signs or hear from intelligent alien life. A pair of astrobiologists from the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Earth Sciences hypothesize the reason may be that ET could be long dead. According to Aditya Chopra and Charley Lineweaver, conditions on young planets are so volatile that if life doesn't evolve fast enough to stabilize the environment, it will quickly become extinct.Read More

Space

World's largest connected radio telescope expands into Ireland

Ireland has been chosen as the site for latest expansion of the world's largest connected radio telescope. The Ireland-LOFAR consortium (I-LOFAR) has been awarded grants totaling €1.9 million (US$2 million) to extend the network for the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT), in hope of providing it with a resolution rivaling that of the Hubble Space Telescope.Read More

Space

Dawn delivers its closest-ever view of Ceres

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has sent home the first images from its best-ever viewpoint around the dwarf planet Ceres, orbiting at an altitude of around 240 miles (385 km). The views include a chain of craters across the body's scarred surface, and two 3D snaps, viewable through red-blue glasses.Read More

Space

This year’s best meteor shower peaks in the next few days

If you've never made a wish on a falling star, now's your chance to make up for lost time. The Geminid meteor shower, which is best viewed without a telescope and in clear, dark skies, should peak from 13 to 15 December with scores of meteors expected to shoot across the sky each hour.

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Space

First images ever taken of a planet being formed, 450 light-years from Earth

Of the many new exoplanets discovered over the past two decades, all have been identified as established, older planets. Some with incredible winds raging across their surfaceand others that may be able to support life because of their position in the habitable zone, but none have been acknowledged as newly-forming protoplanets. Now scientists working at the Keck observatory have spied just such a planet in the constellation of Taurus, some 450 light-years from Earth, that is only just beginning its life, collecting matter and spinning into a brand new world.Read More

Space

The international movement working to preserve the night's dark skies

An international movement working to preserve our dark night skies has released an interactive map of sites that everyone can visit. The International Dark-Sky Association's accredited "Dark Sky Places" provide visitors with the sparkling views of the night sky that our recent ancestors enjoyed as a matter of course. The parks are about more than just providing a place for astronomers and the public to look at the stars. They're also there to raise awareness of the problems that light pollution poses for the environment and even to human health.Read More

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