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Telescope

Space

Three newly discovered exoplanets prime candidates in search for life elsewhere in the Universe

Using a telescope especially designed to hunt exoplanets, a team of astronomers working at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered three planets orbiting a dwarf sun, just 40 light-years from Earth. According to the researchers, all three worlds are potentially habitable given their sizes and temperatures, and may be the best possibilities yet in the search for life beyond our solar system.
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Space

Breakthrough Listen Initiative starts sharing "search for ET" data

The first batch of data from a US$100 million effort to find signs of intelligent life beyond Earth has been released for public access. The Breakthrough Listen Initiative began making observations in January using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia and Lick Observatory's Automated Planet Finder in California, and has posted what it's gathered so far on its website.Read More

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

Solar activity sparks powerful X-ray aurorae on Jupiter

Solar activity can prompt a massive increase in the intensity of Jupiter's polar aurorae, according to a new study drawing on data collected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Charged particles from a powerful solar storm were observed creating an impressive light show as they struck the Jovian planet in October 2011.Read More

Space

Charge injection device boosts chances of detecting Earth-like planets near bright stars

The quest to find small, Earth-like exoplanets isn't just a matter of pointing an exceptionally powerful telescope towards a star, as one may do to observe moons orbiting a planet. Apart from resolving images adequately in relation to the enormous distances involved, the glare from a distant sun often washes out the image of anything but the largest of planetary bodies in its vicinity. To help combat this problem, researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) have developed a new type of astronomical camera that can detect the faint reflections of distant worlds near bright stars many millions of times better than that possible with an ordinary telescope. Read More

Space

Unknown galaxies discovered lurking behind the Milky Way

In recent radio telescope studies, many hundreds of previously undiscovered galaxies have been found to exist in an area in which an enormous magnetic abnormality known as the "Great Attractor" is located. The new research may help shed light on why our galaxy, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is being inextricably pulled in that direction.Read More

Science

Lockheed Martin shrinks the telescope

After 400 years, the original telescope design is getting a major upgrade. Part of a DARPA funded project, Lockheed Martin's Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-optical Reconnaissance (SPIDER) telescope replaces the large primary lenses used in refracting telescopes with an array of tiny ones that allow the instruments to shrink by a factor of 10 to 100.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

Astronomers trace the magnetic field of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy

A team of astronomers has successfully detected magnetic fields present around the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. It is thought that these magnetic fields are the driving factor behind a mechanism that sends intense pulses of galaxy sculpting radiation blasting thousands of light-years into space from the event horizon of a spinning black hole.Read More

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