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July 10, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Probing a distant cloud 11,000 light-years away, astronomers have discovered what may be the largest stellar womb yet found in our galaxy. With a mass of 500 suns, this massive body is feeding an embryonic star that may become a rare behemoth in the Milky Way. This star birth, to be described in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, sheds light on how such giants are formed. Such massive stars are extremely rare; roughly one in 10,000 stars in the Milky Way gathers this much bulk.
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SCIENCE
September 7, 2013 | By Amina Khan, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Is it time for a stellar identity crisis? Astronomers studying cold brown dwarfs have found that the boundary between star and planet might be much blurrier than once thought. These strange 'failed' stars, described online in the journal Science, could help shed light on the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. Scientists have managed to find out a lot about stars and their atmospheres by studying their light, including their temperatures and their distances. But that's easier said than done for exoplanets: The operating ground rules are very different between a massive, hot, bright star and a very small, cool, dark planet.
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SCIENCE
September 7, 2013 | By Amina Khan, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Is it time for a stellar identity crisis? Astronomers studying cold brown dwarfs have found that the boundary between star and planet might be much blurrier than once thought. These strange 'failed' stars, described online in the journal Science, could help shed light on the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. Scientists have managed to find out a lot about stars and their atmospheres by studying their light, including their temperatures and their distances. But that's easier said than done for exoplanets: The operating ground rules are very different between a massive, hot, bright star and a very small, cool, dark planet.
SCIENCE
August 16, 2013 | By Amina Khan and Eryn Brown
NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft may be down a couple wheels, but it's by no means out for the count, mission scientists said Thursday. As part of a time-honored tradition, the space agency is calling on scientists and engineers to submit ideas for new ways to prop up the telescope and pull more scientific discoveries out of its still-working instrument. Every mission NASA sends out into space has a limited lifetime - even the Voyager spacecraft, launched in the 1970s and still making news today . Some spacecraft end up malfunctioning.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 11, 2009 | Blair Tindall
Chemistry textbooks, calculators and instrument cases littered the stage at Caltech's Ramo Auditorium early one warm autumn evening. Squawks and blats from the assembled musicians filled the air, and as Bill Bing raised his baton to start the music, a stray trumpeter rushed onstage. "Sorry I'm late," said Les Deutsch. "If you name an asteroid after me, you can be late," said Bing. It might seem an odd dialogue between musicians, but the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band is filled with uncommon musicians.
SCIENCE
August 16, 2013 | By Amina Khan and Eryn Brown
NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft may be down a couple wheels, but it's by no means out for the count, mission scientists said Thursday. As part of a time-honored tradition, the space agency is calling on scientists and engineers to submit ideas for new ways to prop up the telescope and pull more scientific discoveries out of its still-working instrument. Every mission NASA sends out into space has a limited lifetime - even the Voyager spacecraft, launched in the 1970s and still making news today . Some spacecraft end up malfunctioning.
SCIENCE
February 11, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Astronomers have spotted evidence of two mega solar systems -- giant stars enveloped by what appear to be huge disks of planet-forming dust. Cloudy disks around stars are believed to represent current or future planetary systems. Our sun is surrounded by the Kuiper Belt, a disk containing dust, comets and other bodies.
SCIENCE
April 23, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected the first asteroid belt encircling a star similar to the sun. Astronomers using the infrared telescope found a ring of dust circling the star HD69830 that may indicate asteroid collisions within an orbiting belt as much as 25 times bigger than the one circling the sun. The star is about 41 light years away in the constellation Puppis.
SCIENCE
October 13, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Astronomers have taken a baby step in trying to answer the cosmic question of where we come from. Planets and much on them, including humans, come from dust -- mostly from dying stars. But where did the dust that helped form those early stars come from? NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope may have spotted one of the answers. It's in the wind bursting out of super-massive black holes. It identified large quantities of freshly made space dust in a quasar about 8 billion light-years from here.
SCIENCE
December 13, 2008 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found evidence for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star 63 light-years from Earth, the first demonstration that it is possible to monitor atmospheric chemistry on such distant exoplanets. Carbon dioxide could be associated with processes involving life, but in this case it probably is not because the Jupiter-sized planet, called HD 189733b, is too hot. Previous observations by Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescope have also found water vapor and methane in the planet's atmosphere.
SCIENCE
July 10, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Probing a distant cloud 11,000 light-years away, astronomers have discovered what may be the largest stellar womb yet found in our galaxy. With a mass of 500 suns, this massive body is feeding an embryonic star that may become a rare behemoth in the Milky Way. This star birth, to be described in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, sheds light on how such giants are formed. Such massive stars are extremely rare; roughly one in 10,000 stars in the Milky Way gathers this much bulk.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 11, 2009 | Blair Tindall
Chemistry textbooks, calculators and instrument cases littered the stage at Caltech's Ramo Auditorium early one warm autumn evening. Squawks and blats from the assembled musicians filled the air, and as Bill Bing raised his baton to start the music, a stray trumpeter rushed onstage. "Sorry I'm late," said Les Deutsch. "If you name an asteroid after me, you can be late," said Bing. It might seem an odd dialogue between musicians, but the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band is filled with uncommon musicians.
SCIENCE
October 10, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered the biggest but never-before-seen ring around the planet Saturn, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced late Tuesday. JPL spokeswoman Whitney Clavin said the ring, a thin array of ice and dust particles, is very diffuse and doesn't reflect much visible light but the infrared Spitzer telescope was able to detect it. Although the ring dust is very cold -- minus 316 degrees Fahrenheit -- it shines with thermal radiation. The ring is so huge that it would take 1 billion Earths to fill it, JPL said.
NATIONAL
May 28, 2004 | From Associated Press
One of NASA's space telescopes has discovered what scientists believe may be the youngest planet ever spied -- a celestial body that at 1 million years old or less is a cosmic toddler. In its first major findings, announced Thursday, the Spitzer Space Telescope also has shown that protostars, or developing stars, "are as common as the cicadas in the trees here on the East Coast" and that the planetary construction zones around infant stars have considerable ice that could produce future oceans.
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