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NASA

Space

Black hole weighing 17 billion suns found in "cosmic backwater"

Black holes are a bit like celebrities — the larger they are, the more activity they have swirling about them. It came as some surprise then, when two NASA telescopes spied a supermassive black hole in a relatively quiet neighborhood of the universe. The gravity gobbler has the weight of 18 billion of our suns and is found in a giant elliptical galaxy that should have a much more impressive bulge of stars near its center for a black hole of that size.Read More

Space

Satellites reveal El Niño's impact

Data from NASA satellites is being used to help scientists analyze how El Niño – a natural, regularly-occurring event that sees large volumes of warm water move through the Pacific Ocean – is affecting a population of tiny ocean plants. A decline in the number of these plants can cause big disruptions to coastal fishing industries.Read More

Space

Hubble zooms in on galactic core

A new Hubble image has presented a stunning glimpse of the nuclear star cluster known to shroud Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) – the supermassive black hole that lurks at the heart of our galaxy. The spectacular 50 light-year wide image was captured in the infrared spectrum by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.Read More

Space

To better understand Martian geology, scientists make a cake

When NASA's Viking spacecraft touched down on the surface of Mars in 1976, one of the geologic features it observed was massive mounds inside craters. More recently, the Curiosity Mars rover got up close with one of these mounds called Mount Sharp where it landed in 2012 inside the Gale Crater. It revealed that the base of the three-mile (4.8-km)-high mound was made from sediment carried by water, while the upper layers consisted of regolith deposited by wind. To find out just how such a mixed mound could be developed, researchers created a "crater layer cake" and they popped it in a wind tunnel.Read More

Space

Zeiss telephoto lens used on Apollo 15 up for auction

In October 2015, Boston-based RR Auction set a new record for astronaut memorabilia when the only privately-owned watch to be worn on Moon sold for US$1.6 million. This watch, which was flown on Apollo 15 in 1972, is now followed to the auction block by a Zeiss telephoto lens from the same mission. The Zeiss Tele-Tessar 500mm f/8 lens by Carl Zeiss AG was used by Mission Commander David R Scott with a Hasselblad camera body to set a new standard of photography on manned lunar missions and is expected to fetch around half a million dollars.Read More

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